“Blood is thicker than water” – Yiddish Saying.
“Blood can never turn to water” – Arabic Saying.
Siham Abu Awwad looks nervous. Not because the man lying on the bed next to her is an Israeli by the name of Ben Kfir, but because she is giving blood. Ben takes her outstretched arm and holds it for comfort. He too is donating his blood in the hopes that it can do some good.
Siham lost her brother Yousef to IDF soldiers years ago. Ben lost his daughter Yael to a suicide bomber. Both have suffered immeasurably. The two stand as testaments to human capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation, proof that no matter on which side of the separation wall one stands, all are human.
“After 60 years of blood loss, its time to give blood,” reads the about page on the website of the campaign “Blood Relations”. The project, started by Jean-Christophe Royer, attempts an out-of-the-box solution to a complex conflict. Royer’s proposal came in response to “The Impossible Brief”, an open call by the Bauman Bir Revnay advertising agency for creative solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Out of the many solutions proposed, “Blood Relations” was the one chosen to be implemented with real donors.
At the Cannes Lions advertising festival this year, the videos for the Blood Relations campaign was awarded five Golden Lions, one of the most prestigious awards.
The project partners with Palestinian Israeli Bereaved Families for Peace, an NGO that brings together families from all sides of the conflict and works towards reconciliation. Few Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories ever interact with Israelis outside of checkpoints. Similarly, few Israelis interact with Palestinians outside of their IDF uniform. Projects like this aim to set the stage for when the bloodshed eventually ends. The fact that these families can find the good in each other gives both sides hope that once the fighting stops and the walls come down, coexistence will be possible.