Two teenagers from Israel. One is Jewish, Yael Tikotsky. The other, Ranin Yanaki, is Arab. They go to separate schools. In fact, most schools in Israel are segregated.
But Yael and Ranin are best friends.
It is not an easy friendship in the midst of the conflict, the bombings, the air strikes and the death that are so much a part of daily life in Israel today.
"We argue a lot," said Yael Tuesday night at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center. Miss Tikotsky and her friend were just two of the 18 teenagers from Israel who came to the Island this week for a few days.
They are part of a remarkable grass-roots project in Israel that's trying to end the cycle of violence and hatred. Called simply Open House and set in a city called Ramle just minutes from Tel Aviv, the place functions like a youth center for young people aged eight to 19.
The goal is to bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians and let them get to know each other. From the sound of it, that's no easy proposition in a climate rife with suspicion for someone from the other side.
What was so amazing about Tuesday's session in Vineyard Haven was hearing the candor of the teenagers who have withstood peer pressure simply by making friends with someone who doesn't share their religion.
Equally impressive was the fact that these teens even managed to be funny - in a foreign language, no less - while ranging over some difficult political and emotional territory.
Just listen to their voices:
"When I was eight, my mother told me she was sending me to Open House," said Miss Tikotsky. "I said, ‘No. There's Arabs there. Why do you want me there?' But the next year, I was a little more open-minded. I'd been through the third grade."
While Gil Kohen had much the same reaction, he went anyway. "My best friends say, ‘Hey I kill you because you talk to Arabic,' " he said. "I tell them, ‘Don't worry. Everything will be okay.' "
For Rami Yunes, an Arab, there was anger. In October 2000, he said, 13 Arab Israelis were wounded by the police. One was a relative.
"For a while I felt this deep rage in me," he said. "I couldn't stand the idea of talking peace with Jews. After a while, I came to my senses. I started thinking this is nuts. You can't just say, let's kill each other."
After more than a year in Open House, Mr. Yunes said, "It's a real shock to me that Arabs and Jews, despite their differences, could be such good friends."
Such upbeat comments would surely have surprised just about any American fed a steady diet of daily news coverage that seems to offer little hope for peace in Israel. Maybe that's what made these teenagers seem all the more interesting.
They weren't sugarcoating anything about the problems, and neither were any of the adult leaders from the group.
One Open House facilitator said, "My friends are full of pain and rage. They can't open their hearts. They have no hope. They say to me, ‘Palestinians want war? We give them war.' "
The challenge in Israel and the goal of Open House is clearly peaceful coexistence. Yehezkel Landau, one of the directors of the center, said he envisioned a day when halls in Israel would fly both an Israeli and a Palestinian flag.
"This cross-fertilization has to happen in each one of us," he said. "We're all in this together. After 9/11, that should be obvious."
The theme running through the entire evening returned to the simple fact that peace is an enormous goal.
"How do you keep an open mind in a place where innocent people are being blown up?" asked Mr. Landau.
There was no pat answer, but everyone there seemed to agree that peace won't be achieved by any top-down agreements signed by politicians. Social change will have to trickle upwards, they said.
One came away Tuesday night with the sense that these teenagers understand the importance of what they are doing. "What's going on in Israel now is not what's going in this group," said the formidable Miss Tikotsky.
Open House was truly born out of a new kind of awareness. The house itself had once belonged to the family of Mr. Landau's wife, Dalia. But before it was Dalia Landau's house, it had belonged to a Palestinian family, expelled from Ramle in 1948.
Mrs. Landau told the story of how one day in 1967 shortly after the Six-Day War, when she was a college student, there was a knock at the door. Three men in suits stood there. "I could immediately recognize this is the enemy," she said.
They asked to see the house. It had been theirs; their father had built it. "They walked the house in total silence as if in the presence of a temple," she said.
That moment marked the beginning of a friendship. Mrs. Landau would go visit the Al-Khayri family in the West Bank. "A window was opened for me, and I was able to step into the other's reality," she said.
Mrs. Landau said she started to see how pain turned into violence. Years later, she met with the Al-Khayri family, and they talked about their "common home."
They decided to turn it into a preschool for Arab children, most of whom had no access to a preschool in Israel. A camp and a gathering place for children - both Arabs and Jews - was quickly added to the plan.
"We wanted a place where both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel could create a more equitable society for Israel," said Mrs. Landau.
They hired an Arab, Michail Fanous, to run the center. Mr. Fanous, who had once dreamed of being a Palestinian professor in the United States, was sick of Israel. But his friends challenged him to stay and make things better.
"You know back home people are killing each other every day," he said. "But I'm here because I believe things can change."
The teenagers who came to the Island this week don't just believe it. In their friendships, they are also acting out the hope for peace.