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Author Topic: A Jew among 25,000 Muslims
majorvictory
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2878

posted 28 August 2003 04:03 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Even as a young girl in Wimbledon Susan Nathan knew she would one day move to Israel. But why did she choose to settle in the Arab town of Tamra?

quote:
Jonathan Cook

Wednesday August 27, 2003: (The Guardian) She makes an incongruous figure, waiting in front of the central mosque in the northern Israeli town of Tamra. There is no danger I will miss her. She has short blonde hair, in contrast to the rest of the women who cover their dark hair with scarves, and is wearing a loose-fitting floral kaftan, better suited to the streets of Wimbledon, her former home, than here in the Middle East.

The difference runs much deeper than mere looks: Susan Nathan is the only Jew among 25,000 Muslims in Tamra, one of the country's dozens of Arab communities whose council is run by Islamic fundamentalists. She is one of only two Israeli Jews known to have crossed the ethnic divide: the other is the controversial academic Uri Davis, who lives in nearby Sakhnin.

Nathan, a 54-year-old teacher and former Aids counsellor with the London Lighthouse Project, arrived in Israel four years ago, after the break-up of her marriage. For the first few months she shared a tiny room in an absorption centre near Tel Aviv. "I was breastfed Zionism. My parents were prominent members of the liberal Jewish community in London and were firm friends of Abba Eban," she says, referring to the Israeli foreign minister during the epoch-changing period of the 1967 six-day war, when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt. "At the age of 10 or 11 I remember telling my parents that one day I would live in Israel."

But since her move from Tel Aviv to work as an English teacher in deprived Tamra seven months ago, she has lost her Jewish friends. "At first they thought I was just being provocative," she says. "Then they thought I was suffering some sort of mental breakdown. Now they realise I am serious, they have turned their backs. What I have done is far too threatening."

Seated in her second-floor flat, surrounded by African cloth prints on the walls, classical music CDs and shelves filled with art and Jewish history books, it is not immediately clear what kind of threat Nathan represents. She is slight, still not fully recovered from surgery for a rare eye cancer, and her thin voice is easily drowned out when the muezzin begins the midday call to prayer. Although she refuses to speak Hebrew in Tamra, she still wears a Star of David pendant around her neck.

Paradoxically, her stance has also earned her the enmity of the Israeli peace movement. "The Jewish left is totally in thrall to the idea of two states for two people. What I am doing by showing that Jews and Arabs can live together in peace undermines their argument."



From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 28 August 2003 08:24 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Israeli Arabs face their own obstacles to joining Jewish communities. Some 93% of land is owned by the state; and those who try to lease it are vetted by committees that weed out undesirables, including Arabs.

Nice. Imagine the hue and cry that would take place if the shoe were on the other foot.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3980

posted 28 August 2003 12:15 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sssssssh, Michelle, focus on the terror, do not avert your eyes for a second...

Anyway, the bit that really got me was this:

quote:
Paradoxically, her stance has also earned her the enmity of the Israeli peace movement. "The Jewish left is totally in thrall to the idea of two states for two people. What I am doing by showing that Jews and Arabs can live together in peace undermines their argument."

Incredible...


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 28 August 2003 12:54 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What amazed me most about this article was learning that there is only one other person doing what she is doing. !!!

It strikes me that there must be more than two Israelis living in towns in Palestine itself. No? The Israeli left must have produced at least a few activists who would cross the lines on purpose.

I realize that joining a Palestinian community within Israel itself is a slightly different thing -- but that only two people have done so? That astonishes me.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3980

posted 28 August 2003 01:30 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
What amazed me most about this article was learning that there is only one other person doing what she is doing. !!!

It strikes me that there must be more than two Israelis living in towns in Palestine itself. No? The Israeli left must have produced at least a few activists who would cross the lines on purpose.

I realize that joining a Palestinian community within Israel itself is a slightly different thing -- but that only two people have done so? That astonishes me.


It is even more astonishing first hand. Often, when speaking with people who would voice all kinds of opinions about 'Palestinians' and 'Israeli Arabs' I would ask them when the last time they had been to the West Bank not in a military capacity had been. Or I would ask them - if they were from Haifa - whether they had wandered down near the port areas where many poorer Arabs (largely Christians these days) live to shop in their markets (which had very good prices) or eat the food, which was cheap and plentiful compared to restaurants at the top of Mt. Carmel. Sadly, very many with the strongest views had never done any of these things regularly, if at all. Ventures into the small Bedouin and Arab communities in the Galilee were even less common. Those that had been to Gaza were virtually non-existent - even among those who live in the large number of communities (Ashkelon, Ashdod, etc.) just a little north of Gaza on the coast.

"You just don't go there" some would say. Others would cite personal safety or other excuses to which I would usually reply, "You're right, it would take some real guts to go there."


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2785

posted 28 August 2003 01:44 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

Nice. Imagine the hue and cry that would take place if the shoe were on the other foot.


It is also my understanding that Jews are not permitted to purchase or own lands in Arab areas of Israel and in the PA.

From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Courage
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3980

posted 28 August 2003 02:09 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mishei:
It is also my understanding that Jews are not permitted to purchase or own lands in Arab areas of Israel and in the PA.

It's called SEGREGATION....


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 28 August 2003 02:10 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As if that stops the Israeli Government from grabbing it under the rubric of "natural growth" of settlements, anyway.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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