Omri Jadah

Palestinian father who drowned saving a Jewish child

Omri Jadah, a 24-year-old Palestinian construction worker, was picnicking at the Sea of Galilee with his cousin when they noticed 6-year-old George Leftov some distance out, splashing against the current and calling for help. According to the cousin, Omri knew full well the child was Israeli when he dived in to save him. He was able to swim out to the boy and pull him back to safety. But the exhausted young father was not able to fight the undertow, and he was pulled back under the water. By the time he was rescued, he was in a coma.

Two days later, he died, leaving a 2-year-old son, a 10-month-old daughter, and a pregnant 23-year-old wife. His widow received condolences from both Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak, and his funeral was a Muslim funeral of honor. Tanya Leftov, a recent Jewish immigrant from Russia, made her first visit to an Arab village to pay tribute to the savior of her son.

Omri Jadah stands as a symbol of what can be when people are willing to sacrifice themselves in love rather than in anger.

"Everything is possible among the ordinary people. Even if the high-ranking people, the politicians, can't make peace, we can." --Omri's uncle, Abdullah Ghana Radan

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    Omri Jadah photo is used courtesy Nicole Gaouette c2000 The Christian Science Monitor.
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