A 27 year-old man living in Israel walked into his apartment building recently to find an anonymous notice in the hallway.
"In light of the security situation," it read in Hebrew, "I think that we cannot afford to let ourselves be indifferent and do nothing about the fact that we have an Arab tenant in the building."
The notice included his name and apartment number.
"I don't preclude his presence right away, but I do think it's very important that we know him and vet him," the notice continued. "It is our right to look after ourselves and our families and to want to feel safe in the building in which we are living."
A meeting was mentioned, which would be held later in the week to discuss the issue.
I've been in a similar position here in the UK. When we first moved in to our tiny community, I hoped we would all get along. Unfortunately, some people don't make this easy. One morning we found a note on the wind-shield of our car accusing my husband of side-swiping another parked car late one night—entirely wrong. He'd been out walking the dog when he heard the bang of metal on metal. The assertion made us feel ostracised. I wanted to leave, and hid inside my flat for weeks, unwilling to bump into the nasty neighbour. In the end, when the situation was straightened out, I forgave our accuser, but remained wary. After all, I didn't want to be best friends.
But, back to the news item. After the man living in the Israeli block read the notice, he posed in front of it, snapped a selfie, and authored the picture on Facebook with the humorous message: "I’m coming and I’ll bring muffins!"
His photo went viral on social media and was covered by Israeli media outlets, including The Times of Israel newspaper.
"I've got hundreds of messages from all over the county, and also abroad, full of love and support," he told The WorldPost in a Facebook message.
Some neighbours brought him cakes and cookies. Another posted a new notice in the building.
"In light of the security situation, I think we cannot afford to let ourselves be indifferent to xenophobia and fear," it reads, in Hebrew. "I invite you to a revolution of joy -- because we are all family."
That sums up the solution to the problem. The Bible tells us, 'Love thy neighbour'. I heartily agree with this concept. I could forgive my false accuser without becoming too close.
I wish I had acted with humour instead. Seeing the funny side of life takes the tension out of an awkward situation.
Have you experienced anything similar?