In the aftermath of the Israeli ground invasion into Gaza in 2008, the BBC filmed Palestinian psychiatrist Eyad El-Sarraj standing amid the rubble. Placing his hand on his heart, he said, “I do believe the Israelis are more insecure than we are.”

Now, nearly two years after his death, I remember that speech as one of the many moments in which El-Sarraj demonstrated how the moral can be practical, how our ideas of good can direct our actions, and how even though we are scared and flawed, we can live by those ideas.

I started working with El-Sarraj back in 2005, when we began the Acknowledgment Project, a series of dialogues between Israeli and Palestinian mental health practitioners. The aim of our work was to enable Palestinians and Israelis to create a connection with each other that would allow them to grapple with their collective trauma. Specifically we sought...

You do not currently have access to this content.