Yuval Roth woke at the crack of dawn to drive his large, white van from his home on Israel’s Mediterranean coast to Checkpoint 300, the main passageway leading from Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem to Israeli-controlled Jerusalem.
On this gray winter morning, Mr. Roth’s mission is to drive 3-month-old Muhammad Dajani, a Palestinian baby with a congenital heart condition, and his father to Sheba Hospital, one of Israel’s leading medical facilities, just outside Tel Aviv.
Over the past decade, Roth has made it his daily business to transport Palestinians needing medical treatment from army checkpoints to Israeli hospitals. Roth, once a professional juggler, is now busy juggling the itineraries of dozens of Palestinians in need, and the Israeli volunteers wishing to help them, through the organization he founded, The Road to Recovery.
“These encounters break down barriers,” Roth says. “Everything the Palestinians knew about us, and everything we knew about them, simply disintegrates.”
Like many Israelis, Roth was awestruck in September 1993 when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn in Washington, considering it the dawn of a new era of peace.