Sunday, July 18, 2010

Galina Vromen on the Dilemmas of Israeli-Arab Friendship

My cousin has published her account of life as an Israeli in an Arab village in the current issue of the Wilson Quarterly:
Some Jews think I’m brave. Some think I’m stupid. I am an Israeli Jew who lives in an Arab Israeli town because I want to get to know the 20 percent of my compatriots who are Arabs and learn their language. No one thinks this is normal. There must be another motive. Maybe I am married to an Arab? Maybe I want to make a political statement? Maybe my work brings me here? The answer on all counts is “no.” Just curiosity? How crazy!
Once Israeli Jews get over the shock, they almost always ask: “How do people treat you? Are you accepted?” The assumption is that I am shunned at best, attacked at worst. Nothing could be further from the truth...