Pay a few bucks, sip some coffee, and cuddle a cat.
For a few minutes, forget you live on the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip is a section of land in the corner of Israel near Egypt. Most people living there are very poor. A terrorist group called Hamas controls the land. That group often goes to battle with Israel. In fact, Hamas started a war there in October. To live inside the Gaza Strip is to live inside a blockade. That’s a boundary that keeps people and goods from moving in or out. In other words: People in the Gaza Strip are jobless, stuck, oppressed, and in the middle of a war. And they’ve been stuck for 17 years.
Will cats help?
Naema Mabed founded the new cat café. She wanted to make a spot where people could escape the pressures of life in Gaza. She invites others to come in. Cover your shoes with plastic. Wash your hands. Head to the cat corner.
Cats roam around her. “I have spent my life raising cats, and they’re a source of joy and quiet,” she says.
Her customers seem to agree. They look happy as they play and lounge with the café’s 10 cats, including Tom, Dot, Simba, and Phoenix.
Visitors pay five Israeli shekels (about $1.30) to enter.
When Ms. Mabed opened the cat café, some people thought the idea was ridiculous. Stray cats roam Gaza City’s streets every day. But science shows that quality time with animals helps people facing hard lives.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction. — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Why? Even in the area we call the “Holy Land,” there is violent unrest. God can bring peace to deeply troubled parts of the world.