A mixed Jewish-Arab couple is discouraged from applying to live in what many look to as a model for coexistence in Israel-Palestine.
By Orna Akad (translated by Ofer Neiman)
No, this is not a new book which I have just published, nor is it a new play. This is my life with Fouad, which has given me a few minutes of fame.
The furor last summer over the marriage of Mahmoud and Morel led me to my virtual photo album, in order to publish a family photo. I wanted to show that it’s both possible and desirable to live differently.
Alongside numerous insults, there were congratulations by Arabs and Jews. My mailbox was showered with moving personal stories and the understanding that this is the way to live together.
And here I am in front of the computer, recalling a bitter disappointment, not caused by the activists of [the anti-miscegenation group] Lehava, but by enlightened, tolerance-preaching people.
Twenty-three years ago, while my spouse Fouad and I were planning our life together, we were invited to give a workshop for Jews and Arabs in the Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam community.
On one side, the pastoral landscape, a view of the Monastery of Silence (Latrun) and the hummus field, and on the other side the bilingual school, instilled in us the feeling that this was the place where we wished to build our life together.
One of the participants in the workshop was also a member of the community’s admission committee.
She herself is married to a non-Jewish European guy.
We came up to her, full of hope, and said proudly that we are a couple, a Jewish woman and an Arab man, and that we would like to register and appear before the community’s admission committee.
The woman’s face turned serious all of a sudden and changed color. She looked at us sternly and said:
“You may apply for membership, but personally, I must tell you that I am opposed to admitting a couple like you into our community.”
We raised an eyebrow.
“Look, we are a community which encourages life together in coexistence, Jews alongside Arabs, but we are opposed to mixed marriage.”
“But your husband is also not Jewish,” I said.
“It’s not the same thing,” she responded adamantly, and then said, “you need to understand where we live. What will happen with the kids, and when they...Read More