For Reporter, Revenge Is Family Affair in Middle East

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Tom Foreman: And then a hearing comes up to see whether or not he (the gunman) should get out of prison. So you went to the court with his family…

Laura Blumenfeld: I managed to argue my way up to the podium and I said, "My name is Laura. I come from the United States. And I don't know all the facts of this case, but I have come to know the gunman, Omar Khatib, and I believe that he has made a promise to me that he would never hurt anybody again. I've also communicated with David Blumenfeld, the victim, and he says it's enough—it's time to set him free."

Well, the judges started screaming. "You don't have a right to speak!"

And I said, "I do have a right to speak, because I'm the victim's daughter." And Omar gasped. His sister burst into tears. A kind of wind, is the only way I can describe it, went through the courtroom. The judges fell back in their seats and said, "Why would you do such a crazy and dangerous thing—deceiving this family for a year?"

And I said, "Because I wanted them to understand that this is not a conflict between disembodied Arabs and Jews—we're people, we have families, and you can't just kill us."

I managed to use revenge as a tool for enlightenment, a way to reach out to my enemy and end a feud rather than perpetuate it. He wrote to my father, following this hearing. He said, "Laura was the mirror that made me see your face as a human being, deserved to be admired and respected."

Tom Foreman: Do you worry for everything you've done here that in the end you're some kind of Pollyanna? That you think it can all be made better but some part of you says, "But what if it's really as dark and terrible as I fear?"

Laura Blumenfeld: Yes, I do worry about that, and that's why I hold onto this story. It's a fairytale, but it's a true one—this really happened.

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