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The Voice of People: Not always what you expect

The attack in Itamar on Friday night brought out some of the most vicious sentiments among Israelis and Palestinians, and between Israelis on all sides of the many political divides.  It’s appalling that some people have justified/won’t condemn the attack on children, or that others support collective reprisals against Palestinian communities and expanding the occupation as a response. The nasty attacks by the advocates of each position on people who do not agree with their perspectives is just as bad.

It is deeply upsetting to realize that we have trained ourselves to dismiss those with whom we disagree. This is a terrible practice that makes our interlocutors into nonentities. Those who do it turn shallow and self-indulgent; they make their lives easy by pretending the right winger, the left winger, the radical, centrist, settler, secular or whatever, is inferior. Not surprisingly, their conclusions turn destructive. Facebook shouting matches this week gave good examples:

I think the ideological settlers have lost all humanity and need to be made by any means necessary to leave the territories.

The speaker above went on to hint at approaches that I do not care to repeat. Others  suggested that we would be better off branding the entire Arab world terrorists:

What I find off putting is the attempt to wipe so much violent history under the rug to make nice to a culture that has been violent from the start.

As a pollster, I’ve long felt a burning frustration at the inability or unwillingness of people to put their personal agendas aside, even momentarily, in order to try and understand one another. I feel it is my enormous privilege to listen to real people for a living – messy, inconsistent people who are living life, facing contradictions and wishing things were better. Watching them in focus groups, or listening in on phone surveys, I often think, if only those on the (left, right – take your pick) could hear this old pensioner, or this young computer programmer, and hear how earnestly he or she came by these opinions, surely even a die-hard left or right-winger would relate on a human level, even if we continue to disagree.

So I’m starting what I intend to become a series of interviews here on +972 (hopefully my colleagues will join) – not the “head to head,” conversations like Haaretz, with experts or celebs – but with regular folks, the people we love to generalize about. My clients pay good money for this, but I want our readers to have it for free: I request only your open-mindedness, and the suspension of your cynicism.

MOSHE S.

Moshe is my second cousin. He’s 30 years old, from an ultra-orthodox family in Brooklyn, and now lives in West Jerusalem. Growing up, I saw his black-hatted Boro Park family, with their endless babies, only at infrequent extended-family gatherings.

In 2004 Moshe joined the IDF, serving through 2005, and was in Gaza for the disengagement, although he was not a “disengager” – his term for those who evacuated settlements – but served in a tank unit. Moshe then made aliyah in 2006, married and has a one and a half year old son. He considers himself orthodox, or ultra-orthodox but doesn’t like the connotations around the term “Haredi,” because “Israelis often say it with more disdain than they have for Arabs.” Still, his wedding was definitely the most Haredi event I’ve experienced in recent years. Moshe now manages his father-in-law’s currency exchange business.

Living in Jerusalem, Moshe observes that he has a slightly different perspective on the conflict from other Israelis, living alongside Arabs (or else “East Jerusalem Arabs,” as he calls them), meeting them as customers, workers and service providers. He is encouraged by the myriad interactions he gets to witness. Just recently, he said, he had marveled at the sight of Arab and Jewish social workers demonstrating together in downtown Jerusalem, marching by his shop. They held signs in Hebrew and Arabic, he observed, and Palestinian women wore either traditional clothing, or headscarves and jeans.

“I am sure that this diverse selection of people have just as diverse feelings about the matzav (situation), yet this common cause, this fight to improve the situation for every one of the workers is enough to put aside everything else and march together.”

He likes other perspectives in general, and often responds substantively to articles I post or write. “Inevitably you’re going to have discussions with people from other points of view. You shouldn’t just see your point of view…I love information, that’s because it broadens my outlook.”

What bothers you about the left?

“It’s not so much their ideas, or agenda, it’s the hijacking of those ideas and agendas, by perhaps more radical elements. They refuse to accept views other than their own. Anyone not like them is [seen as] anti-democratic and a supporter of McCarthyism, and people not like them or not on their agenda are often not even viewed as people, human beings.

One of my big qualms is that I think there’s a certain victim or ghetto mentality among the Jewish people and we feel apologetic for our success as a nation, while we’re surrounded by people or nations who are not as well off as we are…and we feel guilty because we’re so used to being the downtrodden…[therefore, the left’s] goals are to further human rights, the protection of those that are less fortunate… But they are so focused on championing the Arab/Palestinian cause that they almost neglect problems at home.…when there’s a stabbing attack in the middle of Tel Aviv, why aren’t [they] screaming and yelling? Maybe because it wasn’t the IDF. When a soldier does something, [they blame] the whole government. …It’s frustrating a little bit. You have to be consistent.”

And the right?

“We’re so busy trying to show that we’re right that we’re not being smart. Our religious right to the land is wonderful and I’m a big believer in it, I’m religious and I believe in the Chumash, the Torah, but to someone who’s an atheist, what [does he] care what your God promised you, your fantastical, drug-induced fantasies of God, promising things?”

What should be done about the conflict?

“If you ask me, there should be a two-state solution. [Israel] should say, we conquered, we took what we wanted, now here’s what we don’t want. We should keep what we think is important, like the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and Rachel’s Tomb – sites that are important to Jews as a nation…There will always be people left inside our borders, and the Israelis outside the border – maybe they don’t really need money so much as a new home. The Arabs [who will be left] inside our border, they should have full citizenship and rights…

I don’t think we should give up the few things that are really significant as Jews. I have a very big conflict with it, I don’t necessarily want the Arabs in Israel, it’s a very nice idea to give the Triangle of the Western Galilee, but it doesn’t really work, because it makes the country into a crossword puzzle. In that case, we should leave them with the Jordan Valley, and just move our borders inwards, and they can have that instead.

I don’t think 1967 is practical, because I don’t think we should have to give up huge built-up areas. I have a lot of conflicts with it. Part of me says that Israel is ours, we’re Jewish, we conquered them, we were at war and we won – but in that case I should say we need a one-state solution…But we don’t really want to be responsible for these people…

[The following remarks give an indication of why some Israelis did not change their “no Palestinian partner” impression based on the Palestine Papers – ds]

The reason I don’t think a peace agreement could ever really work is this: I’m sure there are plenty of Arabs just next door who do want peace genuinely. The problem is the leadership. They say yes, but when they’re accused of wanting to make concessions…they turn around and scream that it’s an al Jezeera/Israel conspiracy. But that’s what negotiations are – concessions.

I’m not saying Israel’s done everything right, we have our own problems. But do they want Palestine or Israel? The right of return – how does it work? Compensation, I could see that. But right of return is not conducive to creating a [Palestinian] nation and it’s not conducive to peace. We’ll take in hundreds of thousands of people who don’t really want to be here? I’m confused. How can you ask for a condition for making peace, if it’s actually against what you claim to want? The Palestinians want a state, and I’m all for it.”

What do you think about the attack in Itamar?

“I feel like there’s a lack of sympathy…I don’t have to agree with [someone] but if you hear that a family was butchered in their sleep, you’ve got to feel something. It doesn’t matter if the Israeli government is doing  everything wrong, or Palestinian government is doing everything wrong. …We’re talking about a tragedy…have some sympathy for five people, children who lost their parents and siblings, [whether it’s] the fault of settlers, government, police, terrorists, feel something! The same way I would feel something if I feel that a Palestinian got held up in an ambulance at a checkpoint and died. …As Jews we must try and understand the deeper meaning of events and take it as a personal and communal message of our need for betterment.

I think we sometimes forget the see the good stories, the positive moments, in all of the bad situations. The helpful soldier, or an Arab neighbor who helps out a settler who has a broken down car…There has to be some sort of positive lights of hope in all of the mess.

If you can’t recognize that there’s another opinion, then you’re not really interested in peace. You can’t come to a negotiation table without recognizing that the other side has a claim too, otherwise there’s no point in negotiating…”

In the Orthodox community, do you feel isolated or supported in your views?

“Of course the Orthodox are very diverse and include everything from Kahanists and others on the extreme right to anti-State (Neturi Karta). Rav Shach was very clear when he said at the time (after 1967) that we should give it all back, but the Lubavitcher Rebbe was of the opinion that it would be our end if we did. These are two very opposing streams of ultra orthodox Jewry with very different views. But I think for the most part we all want peace even if our versions might differ…

As a group I think a primary concern is being able to safely access and control some of the most sacred sites for Jews as a whole. It’s no secret that as soon as the we left Gaza the first thing the locals did was burn the Shuls, and the same thing happened in Nablus to Joseph’s Tomb when we left. From 1948-1967 despite agreements otherwise Jews were forbidden access to the Kotel. So anything that does not guarantee complete access to such places of importance would be opposed by the religious community.

There’s no clear consensus for Orthodox Jews. Of course we want peace. Even the death of one person is too much, and most everyone recognizes that through some sort of two-state solution this will be achieved.

[Moshe wrote this next part in a follow-up email] But where opinion and religious belief begin to merge, things get tricky. G-d is one and runs the world. We are here because G-d wants us here but we are not free yet, as we are still in exile (galut)…This is how a Torah Jew seeks to understand global events.”

[Moshe went on to explain how the religious worldview drives organizations like local religious charities and Zaka, which is actively involved in global disasters] “The ideals of true chesed (lovingkindness) and tikkun olam (lit: repairing the world) are what drive [volunteer] organizations……Pikuach nefesh doche hacol! (roughly: saving a life trumps everything!) Even more so when the life being saved is a non-Jew, as that is also a kiddush hashem (Sanctification of the name). This is the mindset with which an orthodox Jew must go about his day, that creates a positive image of Torah Jews.

As a final thought, I read a few studies about the connection between us as Jews and the Arabs of the West Bank, showing how many have surprisingly similar DNA markers … we are close relatives. In another study they looked into the phenomenon of Arab villages that only married amongst themselves and how some practiced Jewish customs like Sabbath candles… we forget that we are all people even the Haredi in kollel and even the settler on the hilltop and even the Arab working on the building across the street from me, and we don’t have to see eye to eye but we do have to figure out how to live together. Because like it or not we are here.”

Moshe asked not to use his full name. I would like to personally thank Moshe for agreeing to be interviewed for +972 and for sharing these candid thoughts.The conversation has been edited for length.

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    COMMENTS

    1. What a wonderful article! Thank you. I will check back often to read more.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Sinjim

      I tried to hold back my cynicism, I truly did, but this sort of dehumanizing rhetoric will tend to prevent that. Moshe doesn’t say anything that we Palestinians haven’t heard from various Zionist sources.
      .
      It’s always the same. They say that Israel won the wars and gets to keep what it wants, and the rest can go to “the Arabs.” This dismissive position is usually coupled with platitudes about how we’re all similar to each other and how they want to live in peace with us.
      .
      Why am I supposed to not have expected any of this as your title suggests? I’m not asking that as a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely interested in your reasoning as to why Moshe’s words would have surprised Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Liane

      I can see that it’s important to listen to everyone, I try very hard to do that. But it is also important not to infer from that that we should treat all views as equally credible. That will lead to apalling relativism.

      First, if one’s views clash with statistics reached by peer reviewed academic studies, one needs either to change those views or explain what is wrong with the studies, in which case that can be peer reviewed. There are many problems with the peer review system, but it’s the best we have at this stage.

      Second, and consistent with what Sinjam said above, the world progresses when various forms of cultural exceptionalism are ditched in favour of universalism. Morality requires applying the same standards to everyone; if one doesn’t understand that, then one stands for nothing other than the side one happens to have been born on. Without either pressure on, or persuasion of, people who believed in transatlantic slavery, South African apartheid, European imperialism, etc., the world would have been one seriously sad place.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Moshe

      Sinjim, I know you feel I was being patronizing and I understand why, and you can take my position as a dismissive one but I certainly don’t mean for it to be dehumanizing rhetoric, that brings it to the exact level that I was critical of: when a news paper writes that it was a settler family that was killed as if to say its OK they got there just, thats dehumanizing.
      You say you are Palestinian, where do you live?
      Maybe you have false hopes or expectations of what to expect from a peace agreement and in a perfect world we would return to the 1967 borders, but as we say in Hebrew lots of water has passed through the Kineret since then. So people have to be realistic about what to expect. We don’t need 2.5 million Arabs who want their own state anyhow and why do we insist on being held responsible for them anyways. But we have these large city’s (some as large as 40 thousand people) and bear me the legality’s of the settlements everyone is an expert on international law when it comes to Israel. So yea we create a workable border including these places and the HOLIEST sites to Jews and we give up land to make up the difference. There will be Jews outside and Arabs inside of the borders and we must compensate them, and if the Arabs prefer to leave rather then receive citizenship then we should pay them for there homes and property so that they can restart there lives.

      You know I don’t have a perfect solution, but no one does and mine might not be any better or different but I am willing to hear any real and realistic opinion without shooting from the hip and calling it dehumanizing or dismissive.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Moshe

      Liane, I didn’t say we should treat all views as equal for example equating the Dali Lama’a views with that of Louis Farrakhan. Just as a peaceful peace protest does not equal suicide bombing in the name of peace does not make all actions equal.
      But the message I was trying to get across is that it is easy to dismiss the right wing nut job or liberal Idiot and two opinions could have a shouting match but they would never hear each other. And so we don’t ever have to agree, but I want to know at least what the other sides claims are and if I can, even the why! I will still be a conservative nut and I don’t expect the other side to join mine but maybe we became just ever so closer not in opinion but in our understanding of the opposing opinion.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Moshe

      Bravo Dahlia,
      You did a great job of writing what I said and editing it. I hope others find it as well written and informative as I hoped it would be. And I hope soon to read other informative interviews.
      To your loyal readers and fans I am not looking for arguments they are pointless I don’t want to change your mind you probably wont change mine. I ask that you avoid the blame game and or name calling and pointless attacks they are not productive and only hurt the point that you are trying to make. That said surprise me with quality stuff I will be happy to respond likewise I am always ready to clarify or explain my opinions.
      Thank You,
      Moshe

      Reply to Comment
    7. Moshe

      “I think we sometimes forget the see the good stories, the positive moments, in all of the bad situations. The helpful soldier, or an Arab neighbor who helps out a settler who has a broken down car…There has to be some sort of positive lights of hope in all of the mess.”
      Speak of the Devil…
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4043536,00.html

      Reply to Comment
    8. Sinjim

      Your language is dehumanizing and dismissive, and I can’t and won’t shy away from calling it that, even if you don’t realize how.
      .
      For example, you tell me to be “realistic” and accept that a return to the 1967 borders is impossible. You say that entire Palestinian cities, such as Hebron and East Jerusalem, are up for negotiation. But of course, you would also oppose any Israeli cities, such as Haifa or Jaffa, being subject to the same. In your worldview, our national rights and our national desires are completely inferior to those of Jews. If that isn’t dismissive and dehumanizing, I don’t know what is.
      .
      Have you ever thought that your own views are the ones that are unrealistic? Have you ever wondered why in your worldview what is “realistic” and what Israel wants suspiciously coincide with each other? Perhaps it’s you that has false hopes and expectations.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Michael W.

      Sinjim,

      “International Law”, the instrument the Palestinians are using to claim their legitimate national and human rights, has no objection of Israeli sovereignty in Haifa and Jaffa. It does object to Israeli control of East Jerusalem and Hebron. As much as the Israeli government doesn’t care about a lot of what International Law says, it does know the terms.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Moshe

      Michael,
      Well said,
      Sinjim,
      Jaffa was to be part of Israel had the Arabs agreed to the UN division of mandate Palestine, and I did not suggest that we should keep all of East Jerusalem or Chevron I did say we should keep places like Modin Illit (pop. 46000) or the gush etzion bloc founded in 1920 and re-established in 1968 (pop. 55000). I also said we must keep places like the Kotel and others where reasonably possible.

      Reply to Comment
    11. I'll make this easy for you.

      “Moshe is my second cousin. He’s 30 years old, from an ultra-orthodox family in Brooklyn, and now lives in West Jerusalem.”

      The problems begin here. The debate among Israelis is between the left and right only within the boundaries created by a crime that is itself wiped from the book of time.

      Israelis always remind me of Germans. I’d ask any defender of Israel this question: “Do you believe in a German state for a German people?” Understand please, that I don’t. Understand please how your answer will reflect on your own choices. The German people have a sounder basis for their nativism than Israelis (and of course Zionists looked all over the world for territory before opting for Palestine) but not one sound enough for me to defend. The French constitution doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of a French ethnicity, but as I said, Israelis are like Germans.
      Ethnocracy, racialism, is not Democracy, and is not “modern”. Liberal Zionism is an oxymoron.

      “It’s appalling that some people have justified/won’t condemn the attack on children…”

      I will will condemn the attack in Itamar, when you demonstrate that the life of one Palestinian child is as valuable to you as the life of one Israel child. The Israeli response, left and right, reminds us all that the relation remains at about 1/20; and that’s being very generous. Your moralizing is obscene.

      Reply to Comment
    12. I'll make this easy for you.

      No glib responses please to the fact that I wrote “1/20” rather than “20/1”. I’ve spent enough time on right wing sites to know that typos and grammatical errors in sentences written on the fly are used as evidence against otherwise logical argument.

      Call this a preemptive strike.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Sinjim

      In other words, you prove my point. Israeli national desires and rights always trump Palestinian ones. Israel gets to keep what it wants and throws the scraps to the Palestinians, in your worldview. That’s dehumanizing and dismissive.

      Good luck reaching out to Palestinians, Moshe, if that is your intention. You’re going to need a whole truckload of it.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Amin Nusseibeh

      Reply to Comment
    15. Amin, your comment has been deleted due to offensive content. You are welcome to review our comments policy on +972 to avoid this happening in the future.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Oren

      Wow AMIN.

      So SINJIM, the reason Israelis want to maintain the land they conquered and give the rest to Palestinians, is because of people like AMIN. All in all, if we are correct in assuming that after a 1967 agreement is forged, Palestinian aspirations for more land will continue… then we’ll give you scraps until we know a comprehensive and final peace deal is possible.

      until then yes you deserve sovereignty and independence, in a land awarded to you by the merits of your behavior.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Sinjim

      Oren,
      .
      Firstly, anyone can post under an Arab username on this website. “Amin Nusseibeh” (how unoriginal is a name like that?) is most likely “Raed Kami” who has also posted under names of Nazis and Nazi collaborators. I’ve asked him in colloquial Palestinian Arabic to stop, but he can’t respond because you can’t put it into Google translate and get an English sentence. It’s not my problem that the site’s administrators are unwilling to take steps to ban him.
      .
      Secondly, the idea that the realization of our rights are determined by the behavior of individuals within our nation is just more of that dehumanizing and dismissive language. Tell me, Oren, what rights should the Jewish people be denied based on the actions and/or website comments of their worst members? Shall the state of Israel be dissolved? Or perhaps you should be forced from your home and made stateless?
      .
      Dahlia,
      Again, how is any of this language unexpected?

      Reply to Comment
    18. I'll make this easy for you.

      “until then yes you deserve sovereignty and independence, in a land awarded to you by the merits of your behavior.”

      The thief condescends to his victims and lectures them on the rule of law. That used to make me angry (and SINJIM’s question is the right one) but the world has less and less patience these days. Israel’s autocratic frenemies are falling one by one. Israelis know this and and panic is setting in. Hezbollah has the advantage of being led by an adult. Less so Iran, but as in Egypt, the democrats are less than sympathetic to Israel. Hasn’t Lisa Goldman read Amira Hass? “The Voice of People: Not always what you expect.” Indeed.
      And you have Bibi and mini-Hariri, and the Saudi drunkards. Do you support a Boer state for a Boer people?

      You’re ghettoizing yourselves. But you did that in 1948, and you’re only beginning to realize that now.

      News Jews can use: friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/

      Reply to Comment
    19. Sinjim, I understand and appreciate your question. First, thx for the tip on Amin – I don’t know if he’s the same person (I remember your reply in Arabic), but for my channel, i prefer to delete/censor comments on a case-by-case basis. If someone would like to stop being incendiary and start talking sense, even if i disagree with him/her, i’m willing to listen.
      Regarding your question about what here is unexpected. I assume you are Palestinian but please correct me if wrong. obviously not everything will surprise everyone. But Israelis have internal problems that prevent us from reaching out constructively to the Palestinian community. Right-wingers here think left-wingers want to destroy the state and so they use this as an excuse not to listen to the political arguments of the left. The left in turn often brands religious and right wingers as ignorant, superstitious fascists and doesn’t try to reach out to them when pushing its political messages. both are a mistake and hold us back from coming anywhere close to a real dialogue with Palestinians. It could be therefore that Moshe’s perspective helps break down internal Israeli stereotypes more than it impresses any palestinians – but that can ultimately help Israelis win one another’s trust in order to work more usefully and less defensively with Palestinians. At least I certainly hope that’s the case. Call me naive but I haven’t heard any better, pragmatic, constructive or realistic suggestions in the comments so far.

      Reply to Comment
    20. I'll make this easy for you.

      Ms Sheindlen, you’re talking to Jews when you should be talking to Palestinians. Do you think that Arab citizens of Israel should “want to leave” if there is a Palestinian state? Livni and Avnery are in agreement on that. Are you a Jewish separatist, yes or no? Moshe, are you? That’s the appropriate language, but you refuse to use it. But then of course I am someone who wants to destroy the state, as it’s now defined. That’s what makes me a modern and defender of democracy.

      All you’re asking is that conservatives be willing to talk to those further to the right. And I fail to see how settlers on the illegally occupied West Bank, absent those dropped there by the government, are anything less than extremists and fascists. I see no documentation otherwise.

      “Call me naive but I haven’t heard any better, pragmatic, constructive or realistic suggestions in the comments so far.”

      It would help if you accept the fundamental conservatism of your arguments. Then actual liberals, Arab and Jewish, would be able to negotiate not just with reactionaries, but with you.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Sinjim

      Thanks for the clarification, Dahlia. I forget that this is an Israeli Jewish website meant for Israeli Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Um, sinjim, not quite. All articles are open for all audiences. I was answering your question about what might or might not be “unexpected” for you. Any palestinian with a clear, coherent, substantive argument is more than welcome to make it on our site. We’d love it. I’ve covered Palestinian public opinion, Palestinian political trends, Palestine papers – i can’t do much more, not being palestinian myself (for which I obviously cannot apologize). if you’d like to take it off line and submit something, we’d be happy to review it and consider it for publication. And our readers are most obviously not only israelis nor jews, as you yourself have realized.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Moshe

      This is not just an Israeli website for Israeli Jews. I am not a Jewish separatist if so i would be advocating the position that we need to deport the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs the day a Palestinian state is created or hey lets start now in anticipation, why not? 20% of Israeli citizens are a fifth column and all those stereotypes from the right. Or I would have suggested giving the Arab triangle in the Galilee away in a land swap. They are just as Israeli as I am and yea there is discrimination I wont pretend otherwise and thats a lofty goal we have to work on. What I said was that if we take the land that we want and leave the scraps for Sinjim there will inevitably be an Arab population on parts of that land and we should be quick to offer them full citizenship and if they don’t want ti live in Israel then full compensation and financial support to leave and live in the newly created Palestine.

      We didn’t steal anything we captured land from Jordan or do you forget the Jordanian occupation and annexation of Palestine. Why don’t you ask King Abdulah why he stripped the Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship? Why are the Palestinians in every Arab country still in refugee camps with out jobs or rights or citizenship. You know I was talking the manager at the dry-cleaners I use he has been there for years, an Arab from Sheikh Jarrah. ‘What do you think of the situation with Libya etc.’? He said they want a chance to live life and have freedom from dictatorship and oppression. He then added, we (the Arabs) have a much higher standard of living here then they do, we have access to jobs and social services etc.
      You can be cynical of such a response and it may only apply to East Jerusalem Arabs.
      I think its telling of their well being under “Israeli Oppression” when the Palestinian Economy is growing at a rate of 8-9%. One more thing yea if a Jew would go into a Arab home and butcher children it has nothing to do with 1/20th or 20/1…I would condemn him there is no justification for that same goes for ‘price tag’ attacks throw the book at them and lock them up.

      Last thing are you a human rights activist or anti-Israel?
      “until then yes you deserve sovereignty and independence, in a land awarded to you by the merits of your behavior.” No you don’t get rewarded for bad behavior. Why don’t they start with cleaning up the education? Stop the glorification of murder and murders if the government of Israel named a sports center or a intersection after Baruch Goldstein there would be an international uproar. Yet this is a common practice in Palestinian towns and city’s the naming of public places after terrorists and murders. I know you will now invoke the bombings and attacks that took place in the ’30’s and ’40’s and we do have skeletons in our closet too and maybe we should reexamine who some streets are named after but we don’t have a culture of violence education you wont find a children’s show suggesting that young children pick up weapons and kill Arab or Palestinian children. So if your pro human rights I dare you to take a stand to the exploitation of innocent children along with your stand against Israeli occupation…

      Reply to Comment
    24. Sinjim

      Dahlia,
      It wasn’t my intention to imply that Palestinians aren’t welcome here (that hasn’t been my experience), but this is most certainly an Israeli Jewish website with mostly Israeli Jewish participants. My point was that I had mistakenly assumed this blogpost was about dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, when in fact you had intended it to be about the Israeli left and right.
      .
      And thanks for your offer. I may take you up on it at some point.

      Reply to Comment
    25. “I’ll make this easy for you” – warning that such long posts will next time be edited or deleted. Please keep it brief and to the point, as per our comments policy. Otherwise you’re welcome to start your own blog.
      Sinjim, you still sound sarcastic. The article was intended for anyone and everyone. I tried in good faith to explain why the attitudes might be more “unexpected” to Israeli Jews. Although I’ll guess that there are at least some Palestinians who would not expect a religious Jerusalemite to express those views – at least if he or she is at all attuned to Israeli society (which from my experience, many Palestinians are). Also, you might give a more nuanced reading beyond his specific opinions, and consider Moshe’s general open-mindedness and interest to other perspectives – which i daresay is probably being squandered by the blunt rejection expressed in these comments. if you really want to engage, why not engage that side of him, rather than reject everything? If you don’t want to engage – why bother writing back?
      BTW, keep an eye on the site for more Palestinian posts in the near future…just a friendly tip

      Reply to Comment
    26. Alice

      Well, I thought it was a good article. It’s not often that I get to hear the views of a person from the orthodox community. I didn’t agree with Moshe’s assessment, but that was hardly a surprise to me! Surely the point of the exercise was to show that there is value in listening to viewpoints different from your own.

      Thanks, and keep them coming.

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    27. Thanks alice – you expressed very succinctly what I intended to do. Will keep them coming indeed.

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    28. Amin Nusseibeh

      Dahlia. what exactly was offensive about my previous post? Please reinstate it because it is the most reliable summary of a peaceful solution.

      Sinjim, you want the same as I do, a Palestine from the River to the Sea. I am not required to agree with you. We agree on the results, just differ on the methods. If the israelis believed Palestine was holy to them, they wouldnt be so quick to offer up parts of it. If your mother is held hostage, you dont ransom her arm and be satisfied, you want the whole person back. This is our position with Palestine. We dont accept her arm, we want her all back. And both you and Moshe can live happily ever after in Brooklyn

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    29. I'll make this easy for you.

      Since the character going under the name “Amin” (see Simjim’s observations above), is offering the Israeli fantasy of current Palestinian views I’ll respond to the fantasy.

      As I’ve said to my Palestinian neighbors in Queens, we’re all settlers on land taken by conquest. The US had a native population. And my neighbors understand. But the difference between the US and Israel, aside from the fact that the conquest is continuing, is that few Americans defend the crimes of the past. Israeli celebrate them. Moshe’s moral superiority, and Dahlia Scheindlin’s is absurdly self-serving.

      “…you don’t get rewarded for bad behavior.”

      Who are you to reward anything to anyone? Are you our masters or parents? Such statements should be disallowed in any real negotiations. Especially since the numbers of dead, men women and children, bare no comparison. Have that argument with the Europeans not the Palestinians.

      Descendants of people who left their homes 2000 years ago can not pretend to lecture the descendants of those who never left. Again, it’s the tacit support of ‘liberals’ such as Schlenidlin for extremist illogic that’s gotten us where we are today. The new Jews of the Middle East are not leaving any more than the settlers of the Americas are leaving; any more than the Scottish Presbyterians are leaving Northern Ireland. The Palestinians understand this. It’s time for Israelis to grow up, and they they’re going backwards. The two state solution is dead. You’ve killed it yourselves. The West Bank with your proxy administration is not a democracy, it’s a Bantustan and a near police state. The data is available easily enough. You’ve read it.

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    30. Amin Nusseibeh

      I am in full agreement with “Ill make it easy for you” except for the part about “the new jews not leaving”. The author of the above post never occupied Palestine, exisraeli and shoded yam have left Palestine to become powerful allies abroad

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    31. Ben Israel

      Nusseibeh-
      You are remarkably uniformed about Israel, Israeli and Jews. Some Israelis do not view Israel as being “holy” (this is most of the Establishment) and only came to the country because they were run out of Europe or North Africa or the Middle East (the last two by the famously tolerant Muslims). However, there are many other Jews who do view it as holy and object to partitioning of the country (count me as one of them-this does not mean we all oppose any political arrangement with the Palestinians population but that is not the subject of this comment).

      I find it interesting how so many Arabs find it so imperitive to grind down or crush or drive out ethnic and religious minorities in their countries. In spite of the famously tolerant Islam Obama has lectured us about, the Chrtistian population in the Middle East is in sharp decline, the Jews were forced out of all the Arab/Muslims countries, either by direct force or other forms of pressure, the Kurds are deprived of national self-determination and other groups like the Yazdis, Turkmen, Bahais are all in difficult conditions. Why is it so important that the Arabs/Muslims feel that the Middle East must be monolithic religiously and ethnically?

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    32. http://972mag.com/about/

      http://972mag.com/972-magazines-policy-for-commenting/

      Here are the short and long versions of the +972 comments policy. Please read carefully. This discussion is being overtaken by unproductive, repetitive, non-original ranting. I am a very minimal censor but I will start axing more if your comments do not add new information, new ideas, concrete (substantive, serious) suggestions – in 150 words or less. You do yourself a disservice, because no one can hear your points buried in all that noise.

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    33. I'll make this easy for you.

      I’ve repeated myself, mostly because I’ve responded to the the same claims over and over again. I’m waiting for someone to explain the dichotomy between “theft” and “conquest”, and for someone to clarify the distinction moral distinction between state and non-state terror, when the state terror, in terms of simple numbers (never mind the nature of the founding of the state) is on a much larger scale.

      Ben Israel: “I find it interesting how so many Arabs find it so imperitive to grind down or crush or drive out ethnic and religious minorities in their countries.”

      I won’t repeat reference to Israeli partnership with dictators and Monarchs but I will remind you that 750, 000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and from Israel at its founding. I can quote to Benny Morris if you want. And the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries began at a large scale at that time. Again, these are basic facts that have to be faced before any serious negotiations take place. For what it’s worth there were about 11 Million ethnic Germans thrown off their land in Eastern Europe after 1945. I don’t have much sympathy for them of course. But did you know that the Jewish population of Lebanon rose after 1948? Mizrahi anti-Zionists. But things changed after Suez.

      And you know also of Israeli strategy regarding Hamas, when Fatah was still strong. Yaakov Peri to Uri Avnery: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.” And you know also that Fatah is secular.

      On Hamas more recently, you might want to read Nancy Kanwisher:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html

      “This discussion is being overtaken by unproductive, repetitive, non-original ranting.” Not by me. But I won’t be staying around much longer. I honestly don’t think it’s worth it.

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    34. Ben Israel

      I’ll Make It Easy-
      The increase of the Jewish population in Beirut after 1948 doesn’t prove anything-Lebanon was ruled by the Christians who were dhimmis under threat from the Muslim majority of the Middle East no less than the Jews, as I pointed out.
      I am mystified as to why the famously tolerant Arab/Muslims would drive Jews out of the Middle East to go live in Israel when they keep saying how much they love and respect Jews as long as they are not Zionists. Wouldn’t they do EVERYTHING in their power to keep the Jews in their home countries to prove to everyone how much better off the Jews are NOT being in Israel and how hospitable the famously tolerant Arab/Muslims are to dhimmis?

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    35. I'll make this easy for you.

      In 1948 the government of Lebanon supported Arab countries against Israel. As for the rest, why should I respond to someone who asks me why Arabs aren’t more noble than the rest of humanity?

      Still, tell me, why did Israel expel the activist and Christian Pacifist Mubarak Awad, while letting Yassin preach?
      You know the answer. I gave it to you already.

      Goodnight and goodbye. As I said, it’s just not worth the effort.

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    36. Sinjim

      Again, that wasn’t my intention. I too am writing here in good faith. I honestly don’t understand what part of my comment could possibly be construed as sarcastic.
      .
      As I said, I really tried to hold back my cynicism and read what was being said with an open mind. But I’m not prepared to engage in a conversation where my humanity can be argued over. How are Palestinians supposed to engage with people whose worldview necessitates that they are less than?
      .
      “Amin”,
      No, we don’t share the same goal. I don’t advocate ethnic cleansing against any group of people in Palestine-Israel.

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    37. Sinjim – Sorry if i misunderstood. I just don’t agree that you or the Palestinians are being dehumanized, either by me or Moshe. We may disagree on political policies but i haven’t figured out your particular vision yet, so i can’t say for certain. What do you suggest?
      “I’ll make this easy…” we’re agreed that you can take a break. I recommend taking a class in comparative politics science or international relations course which may help you address some of the definitions you seek regarding terror or conquest, etc.

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    38. I'll make this easy for you.

      “I just don’t agree that you or the Palestinians are being dehumanized, either by me or Moshe.”

      I ask for your own definitions of terms and the response is special pleading masked as condescension. This has been an object lesson in the limits of human capacity for reason.

      Sinjim (and apologies for the typo last time) good luck. I agree with everything you’ve said, and with your frustration.

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    39. “I’ll make this easy…” Your comment has been edited for containing personal attacks. Please read our comments policy. Thanks.

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    40. Yitzhak

      Great idea Dahlia and thank you to Moshe – I really enjoyed reading this interview. Keep ’em coming!

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    41. Moshe

      Yitzhak and Alice, Glad you enjoyed the interview and we don’t have to agree, the old joke goes 2 Jews 3 opinions…
      Sinjin, Israel is and can be a “Jewish” state and have a sizable non-Jewish population with freedom of religion for all. And yea I believe in greater Israel but not by ethnic cleansing. So we don’t agree on the borders and probably lots of other things having to do with peace and two-states but we are already closer then other opinions. That said I also look forward to reading what you have to say in a feature article or interview perhaps with Dahlia.

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