This letter comes in support of the request to make Nablus a sister city of Boulder.
I first visited Nablus in 2010 when I was on a tour of Israel and Palestine. I immediately fell in love with the city because of the friendliness of its residents, the charm of its city center, and its resemblance to Boulder because of surrounding mountains.
That brief visit caused me to return to Nablus twice, most recently in 2014 when I went for a month to volunteer with a non-profit called Project Hope. During that month I walked every morning for exercise and was warmly greeted by butchers, coffee purveyors and pita bakers. Although a gray haired senior walking alone, I never had any reason to be afraid.
Twice during my visits I left some personal items in a taxi; both times the drivers went to considerable effort to return them to me. On one occasion when I was shopping in the souk (marketplace), I dropped some coins. I was able to retrieve some of them but gave up finding others and continued on my way. About five minutes later a winded young man caught up with me to return the coins I had not found.
Because of my visits to Nablus I have developed some close friendships there. I’m grateful that my stereotypical image of Arabs has been replaced, and my knowledge of and respect for Islam has grown.
In addition to this positive growth, because of my Nablus visits I now have a number of Jewish and Muslim friends here in Boulder. I’m grateful for the experience and I would wish the same for many others in our community. For that reason I very much hope our City Council will vote in favor of making Nablus our sister city.