Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes remembers a meeting in Jerusalem with a youngster hoping for a better life

Some years ago, just before Christmas on a working trip to Israel, I found myself in the old Arab quarter of Jerusalem.

A Christmas tale from Jerusalem

It was a strange, mysterious maze of tiny shops and cafes. The placed reeked with the warm, sweet scent of coffee infused with cardamom, beneath a tangle of dodgy-looking electrical cables and hundreds of naked bulbs.

At every turn a rug maker or fruit seller would offer his wares to me and my companion, an American journalist. We politely declined. But one resident, a bright lad aged about 12, would not be put off.

“You speak English, right?” he asked.

“I am English,” I replied.