Part four, in which our heroes find a jar of rare yeast spread, and have a wonderful time chuckling at ‘Google Translate.’
Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ here.
On Tuesday I wrote Hanin: “Tt’s time to look for a singer. You said you knew a few.” There was no response that day, nor the following. I told myself to be patient.
On Friday I read a spectacular op-ed in Haaretz, authored by none other than Mira Awad, the same Galilee-born Palestinian singer whom Hanin rejected. Awad wrote about going out for drinks with a mixed group of Arab and Jewish friends (she is a rare person whose friends would naturally be mixed). They went to an Arab-owned pub in the north of Israel where the television was tuned to Arab Idol, the hottest competition this side of the Nile. A Palestinian named Haitham Khalailah reached the finals, and was competing against a Saudi and Syrian.
Awad’s op-ed was titled “Nightingale in a Cage,” and dealt with the risk Khalailah faced upon returning home. Like Awad and Hanin, Khalailah belongs to the minority of Palestinians who are citizens of Israel known to us – but seldom self-identified – as “Israeli Arabs.” Lebanon, where the finals were held, is designated as an “enemy country,” meaning that any Israeli citizen who ventures there faces arrest and interrogation upon return.
One of Awad’s Jewish-Israeli friends suggested they all text the network and vote for Khalailah. The number was in Lebanon, the same country that was only minutes away by car, but fenced off and inaccessible. Was it possible to text there?
“I looked at her, greatly moved,” Awad wrote, “awkward as it is to admit, I guess I no longer took it for granted that there would not be a drop of a judgmental expression on her face, a bit of hidden accusation, a bit of ‘Why does he call himself a Palestinian and not an Israeli?’ or ‘What is he doing in an enemy country’ or ‘Why is he wearing a kaffiyeh?’ or ‘What’s he doing, singing that Palestine is Arab?’ She simply asked, full of expectation, ‘Where do I send the text message?’ What should have been the most natural thing in the world seemed like a gift to me. My new friends were sitting in the place I had come from, with the...Read More