Bassel Eid, Graduate

Profile of BASSEL EID, class of 2011.

Life in This Controversial City.

As a member of Hand in Hand’s first graduating class, 18-year-old Bassel Eid is a true pioneer.

He joined the program in its early ears, enrolling at the Jerusalem school in 2000 as a second grader. His younger brother, now 14, also attends the school, and his cousin, Siwar Eid, will be a senior next year.

“Along with being very excited,” Bassel said about the June 29, 2011, graduation, “I also am sad. This is the end of a very unique experience I have been having for so long. Plus, I am not going to see my friends every day any more.”

The ceremony was “American-style,” he said, with caps and gowns. Part of the program was a musical show, in which Bassel played a Middle Eastern instrument called a qanoun.

His Hand in Hand education has prepared him, he said, “better than any other school can prepare a student. I am more open-minded, more aware of the difficult realty in which we live here in Israel.

“I’ve been living with the ‘other side’ since I was born,” he said, “and now, for me, this is real life, the way things should be done here in this controversial city. My school has shown me how to handle situations, the way to see others through their own eyes, the way to understand, even if I do not agree. I know to listen and share.”

His favorite experiences as a Hand in Hand student were the delegations he was part of. “I’ve been to Italy, Germany and the U.S.” he said, “and these were the most unforgettable moments during my time in school.” He met with government leaders and other dignitaries during these travels, including a U.S. senator. “I feel very proud that I had the chance to represent my school to the world, to help people understand what it is all about.”

Bassel’s favorite subjects in school were math, physics and physical education, and he took his studies very seriously. “I am very proud I got good grades on the Bagrut tests” he said, “because I believe that our grades will help our school grow up, become better-known, and continue its way to our united goal. We are the first class to graduate and to do these exams, and it is very critical that we get high grades that will show the world that we are a very strong school academically, not only socially.” Bagrut exams are the equivalent of the American SATs, only more comprehensive and stretching out over several years.

For the summer, Bassel will take a break in the northern village of Eilaboun, where his family is from. “My cousin is getting married there this summer," he said, "and for us Arabs, weddings are a big deal.”

After that he plans to study medicine. He hasn’t decided which university to attend, but is “sure he wants to learn here in Israel.”

Whatever his future holds, Bassel says he will continue to be a leader for Jewish-Arab peace and coexistence. “Just being part of this school was an amazing experience,” he said, “and the times I’ve shared with my friends and classmates will never be forgotten.” 


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