On the backdrop of rising discrimination and violence against Israel’s Arab citizens, a new children’s book invokes the spirit of friendship between Arabs and Jews, giving us at least one thing to look forward to in 2016.
By Yoni Mendel (Translated from Hebrew by Ami Asher)
A new children’s book, “Sweet Tea with Mint And Other Stories” is being released in a climate of increasing discrimination. With the Education Ministry excluding books from its curriculum out of fear of “miscegenation,” at a time of record low of Arabic proficiency among Jews, and with the images of Jews dancing and stabbing photos of Palestinian babies still fresh in mind — this book is perhaps the only good reason to look forward to 2016.
Until this very moment, I have been struggling to understand why reading the book brought a tear to my eye. Was it because of one of the passages in the book? Because of the simple human gesture it describes? Or perhaps because of the Israeli reality into which it has been released? Either way, the birth of this book is nothing short of a miracle.
The reality in Israel of 2016 is a sea of hatred between Jews and Arabs, with attempts by demagogic politicians, researchers and “interpreters on Arab affairs” to prove that we are in the midst of a so-called “clash of civilizations” with Islam. It is a country that, since its very beginnings, has consistently sought to ignore the Arab-Jewish culture. A country run by a man who, just last March, encouraged Jews to vote in the elections because “Arab voters are heading to the polls in droves.” This is the dark reality in which a collection of stories and legends written and translated by Jews and Palestinians proud and courageous, a collection of stories and legends written and translated by both Jews and Palestinians is being published. Every story is published in Hebrew and Arabic.
What will Bennett say?
Sweet Tea with Mint And Other Stories is a collection of stories that invokes the Jewish-Islamic bond, and more generally the legacy and friendships between Arabs and Jews. It also includes the values shared by followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism; the social responsibility we have for all inhabitants living in the same country; the value of equality regardless of ethnicity and religious affiliation; the moral requirement and the obligation to protect and fight...Read More