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.



NoortheNinjabi said...

I'm a racial and formerly religious Jew (turned Muslim, alhamdulillah.)

I got hate mail from people I went to the temple with when I converted. I got more hate mail when I married an Egyptian Arab.

SubhanaAllah, inshaAllah we can all get over this nonsense about who's this and who's that. I know historically speaking there has been a Chosen Person Syndrome among Jews (really and truly) and it's time for everyone to be equals and be accepted. I know historically Muslim families have refused partners for their children based on race. It's a two-sided issue, but subhanaAllah.

Quest said...

I want to say Jazak Allah khayran, and thank you, for sharing this with us, Noor.


Sparkling Motivation said...

LOL @ Romeo's reply!

Poor guy :(

Staying parallel with Shakespeare who said:
"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds... or bends with the remover to remove..."

Love is quite hard to contain, given the right atmosphere, one can go a looong way...

But as Muslims, we are given directions in leading our relationships with others... and that is the alteration we are bound to, and must obediently come to terms with.

Thus, in the case of l'amour.

Friendship-wise, I agree with you dear Quest, for it is quite an honor to have an honest friendship with whomever.

Back in ICS Zurich, I've mingled with peers of all kinds of religous background, some I've been aware of... others I didn't. Mainly, that didn't matter. We were all equal, and that's what we should all teach ourselves.

If the Jews choose (that rhymes heehee) to discriminate and separate Arabs...wait a sec... they've already chosen, eons ago, to create this great divide between Arabs and Jews...

*Sigh* Haven't they had enough already? Like, it's soo tedious!!


Thanks Quest for making us talk about important issues... I still didn't get there ^_^ lol

Sparkle xxx

Safiyyah said...

Like Noor, I am also formerly religious Jew converted to Islam Alhamdulillah.

Jews and Arabs from around Palestine are the same people ... just different tribes :)

If the young people are mixing, maybe there's hope yet for peace?

Yin said...

The world's gone mad. I feel like we're in a sci-fi/futuristic novel by George Orwell or something...

catgirl729 said...

Awww...that's so you still like Marc? ;)

Quest said...

oh you cat you :-)... it was hard saying no, without being cruel.... there is no way that such a process can be uncruel, by the way, simply because love likes to win.

What remains clear in my memory is that I was not in love with Marc, and I had no crush on him (what crack was I on eh?). What I liked about him was his love for me. That's always attractive with cherry on top ;-)

I guess I was blessed. It's easy for me to sit here and say I rejected an offer of true love and chose my beleifs instead. It's easy because I had no true feelings for Marc, and so letting go was no challenge.

Can you imagine though if I did have feelings for marc at the time? Boy oh boy boy boy. rough waters and i don't wish it on any girl i know....cuz it's a real hard thing to go through. But, i've always had a little secret feeling in my heart... that angels have always protected me ever since i was a little girl.... and I bet those same angels took care of marc, too ... i'm sure he's okay....