MEETING A PALESTINIAN LEGEND
I saw Dr John Tleel’s book, “I am Jerusalem” for sale in Jerusalem. You can’t miss it!
I sat down for a chat in the antique shop of my new friend Michel, an Arab Palestinian Christian. The shelves are lined with valuable icons, carvings and historic artefacts. A sprightly eighty-nine year old, walked through the door. “Let me introduce you to Dr Tleel.”
The man is a legend, or can I say reverently, antique. He fitted the history and the ambiance of Michel’s shop perfectly.
Dr Tleel talked to me about his life and his book. A personal story, retired dentist, his family and his city in a time of war, now a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem. He was twenty when the 1948 war broke out. As a member of the Greek/Arab Orthodox he was in Beirut at the time. His house was in the `new city' just across the walls from the Old City. During the course of fighting it was destroyed and he and five other families moved into the old city as `refugees' where he has remained since. He tells his story through the time of the British Mandate in the Holy Land.
A man who has survived the crucible, and chooses to love.
A humbling and memorable encounter.