I think that this should be a new periodic “series” on this blog, “My Adventures with Arabs.” As many of you know, I have much more contact with Arabs than most Israelis.
I work in Yafiz, Sha’ar Binyamin where Jews and Arabs work and shop together.
The gulf between Jews and Arabs is much smaller in may world than in the world of many other Israelis, including the Extreme Left. That’s especially because I meet ordinary Arabs, the relatively apolitical who shop in Yafiz and Rami Levy because of the quality goods and low prices. And this isn’t a paid advertisement.
It’s the nature of man to put a price on everything, whether it’s barter or actual money.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that economic development in the Arab world is the key to peace, but unfortunately when he’s in power, like now, he forgets that principle.
Recently I had another of my unforgettable meetings with an Arab customer at Yafiz. As is my norm, I first speak to the Arab customers in Hebrew and then try English if they look at me with blank uncomprehending stares. This Arab woman, with her hair and neck covered in the Muslim way was of my daughters’ generation and really perked up when she heard me speak English.
“Your English is so good. Where did you learn it?” “America, and yours?” “Me, too, in America.”
And then she gave me a quick summary of her life and why she is now living “nearby,” which is also how I described my home location.
A Jewish Israeli man watched mesmerized by the scene of the two of us, obviously Jewish and Muslim, chatting away in such a friendly way. He just had to comment on how surprising it seemed to him. To me he spoke Hebrew, and to her he spoke Arabic, and we had this very amusing three-way, trilingual conversation. The young Arab-Muslim woman kept referring to me as her “sister.”
I found this very interesting. It was obvious that this woman felt more in common with me and my Americanism than she felt with the other Arab women where she now lives. I did say that if the politicians would just leave all of us alone, we’d have peace, and she agreed with that.