Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Arab-Jewish Mixing a National Treason? But My Bestfriend Was ...
An Article from Alternet:
"A local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a special team of youth counselors and psychologists whose job it will be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and "rescue" them.
The move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a city close to Tel Aviv, is the latest in a series of separate -- and little discussed -- initiatives from official bodies, rabbis, private organisations and groups of Israeli residents to try to prevent interracial dating and marriage.
In a related development, the Israeli media reported this month that residents of Pisgat Zeev, a large Jewish settlement in the midst of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, had formed a vigilante-style patrol to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.
Hostility to intimate relationships developing across Israel's ethnic divide is shared by many Israeli Jews, who regard such behaviour as a threat to the state's Jewishness. One of the few polls on the subject, in 2007, found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage should be equated with "national treason."
The Source. Alternet
When someone sent me this little baby I was taken aback. Forget for a minute that dating is not in Islam, this article talks generally about dating, mixing and marriage in a pack.
Putting aside my analysis of all this, and after cooling off my waters (yeah come on, national treason?) ... I stopped and had a moment. I remembered highschool. Grade 9. My best friend was Janine. Her father was Palestinian and her mother was Jewish. She lived alone in Canada and considered herself very Jewish and not Palestinian, though she understood Arabic very well. We got along, two girls who just liked each others' company, no politics, not just yet. And now that I look back at those days, I remember more...
The first crush someone had on me: The first boy who I can say really truly had sincere feelings for me, a boy who would have pursued those feelings to the very end and probably admitted his love for me on national television with bells and whistles, had I given him one glimpse of hope, was Marc. He was Jewish. Captain of the football team, class president and valedictorian of the year. Beautiful green eyes, and dashing good looks. Smashing. Marc tried for three years until the very last day of grade 12 to look me in the eye and tell me he loved me. And each time, every time I saw that instinct coming in his eyes, I'd turn away, and he'd get it. Three years. That went on for three years. It took strength, on both sides.
Youth. We can be idealistic at times, I admit that much, and Marc was willing to keep away from his father's pro-Israeli local lobbying in Canada. Marc was willing to follow his heart. For all that it's worth and after reading this article above on inter-Jewish/Arab love as "national treason", I guess I'm lucky enough to have the memories of my teenage years to supplement my thinking here. Those Jewish psychologists in Palestine's Tel Aviv would have had a hard time "rescuing" Marc from me all the way in Canada. That's my point here. Leave people alone, they know what they want and don't want. Not to forget that Janine's parents were Arab-Israeli-Jewish in Canada. Regulate that.
If anything, the reason I stayed away from Marc is because I felt I was betraying my Islam and my "Arabness" had I allowed Marc to say the magic three words to me.
Not to overlook of course the humorous yet witty Romeo-Juliette backdrop in this picture: "Romeo, O Romeo, where arst thou Romeo?" " I'm over here across the apartheid wall, baby!"
In all, I don't know what all this means, but regardless, what I'm sure of is this: put all the national and religious lines aside, I can admit to myself that at one point in my life I was offered genuine feelings by a Jewish man, and an honest friendship by a Jewish-Palestinian best friend. And I'm honored by that.
.FYI: Marc is now a well-pronounced doctor and active member of the Jewish-Canadian community and the Jewish-Academic world in Canada.