The young Arabs who have chosen to be part of Israel

Joint Arab List must reduce Jews’ fear / Yaron London
Op-ed: The Arab political leadership’s challenge is to convince the Jews that Israel’s Arab citizens have adopted a political culture which is different from the culture dominating the countries surrounding us.

Op-ed: If more people like Lucy Aharish become the face of Israel’s Arab public, the Jewish public will be more supportive of equal rights for Arabs and the level of hostility and racism will drop.

Ben-Dror Yemini, YNET

LucyI don’t envy Lucy Aharish. It isn’t easy and isn’t simple to be avant-garde. She is blasted both by the Jewish radical right and by the Palestinian radical right. The coalition of extremists has once again expressed a uniform stance. For the former she is too Palestinian, supporting the struggle for equality, reconciliation and peace. For the latter she is too Israeli, because she chose the road of integration.

Aharish is avant-garde because she refuses to play by the rules of the herd. The herd demands hatred and incitement. The herd is against giving the Palestinians rights or giving the Jews rights. The herd has a lot of power in the Arab sector, and it’s also strong, we must admit, among part of Israel’s Jewish elites, where Aharish has already been attacked too.

As far as they are concerned, Aharish is the “Arab darling.” That’s really not okay. Why she should be spewing poison against Israel. Only then, this fascism – which is sometimes disguised as “left-wing” – will grant her an authorization certificate.

The good news is that Aharish is not alone. We are witnessing the development of a generation of young Arabs who have decided to become an integral part of the State of Israel. They refuse to identify with Hamas. They refuse to be part of the hatred campaign. They have decided to do rather than incite.

Some of them have even been integrated into the Foreign Ministry. The number of young Arabs integrating into the high-tech industry has increased in recent years, and there has also been a significant leap in the participation of Arab women in the labor market.

Lucy Aharish lights Independence Day torch. Refusing to play by the rules of the herd and be part of the hatred campaign
Lucy Aharish lights Independence Day torch. Refusing to play by the rules of the herd and be part of the hatred campaign

The last two things happened, among other things, thanks to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s personal involvement. Certain elements within us will continue to spread the tales about “the Israeli society which is becoming increasingly racist,” while the real action is also being sponsored by the government. I doubt there is a single country in Europe capable of presenting such levels of Muslim integration, but they definitely know how to preach.

So there are those who speak about equality and there are those who create it. Aharish creates it. The more she and similar people – like George Deek, who served as the Israeli deputy ambassador to Norway, or businessman Imad Talhami, and many others – become the face of the Arab public in Israel, the Jewish public will be more supportive of equal rights and the level of hostility and racism will drop.

Most Arab politicians in Israel prefer a different direction. One of them, Basel Ghattas, even had the audacity to accuse Aharish of “admiring the oppressor,” based on Frantz Fanon’s theory. It’s so good to have some philosopher or theory to rely on, because the truth is the opposite. More than those politicians want to improve the situation of Israel’s Arabs, they want to harm Israel. That is exactly Hamas’ logic. It’s not looking for welfare and prosperity for Gaza’s residents. The only thing it wants is to harm Israel.

Aiman Uda, the head of the Joint Arab List, was one of the main opponents of the integration of young Arabs by joining the IDF or communal service. Others on his list turned the Arab recruits into villains and threatened Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Nadaf, who encouraged enlistment. That’s the way to nurture alienation, hostility and racism. It’s probably also the goal.

What is happening in Israel isn’t much different from what is happening in Europe, even without an “occupation,” “Nakba” or “apartheid.” There is a minority which preaches integration, opposes hatred and incitement and supports women’s liberation, and there is a radical or Islamist minority which chooses the opposite way. The problem is that the former sometimes need bodyguards because the latter are violent and much more influential.

Aharish is also avant-garde because she had the courage to come out strongly against the flow and against the herd. As any avant-garde, she belongs to the minority. But this is the minority which gives hope for equality and prosperity.

For her sake, for the sake of Israel’s Arabs and for the sake of the State of Israel, we should hope that this avant-garde wins.

April 28, 2015 | 5 Comments »

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  1. I disagree with all of the above vehementy. First of all this Lucy is anti Zionist and I have seen and heard her discourse and opinions during the last war in Gaza…. She is for integration but an intergration that denies the Jewish right and supremascy in the Lan of Israel and demads total equality for minorities she being or idenmtygying with at least 4. Israeli,Arab, Palestinian and religious whether (Muslim or christian). First two acceptiple the second and third by definition are impossible to reconcile with acceptance of her being Palestinian christian ormuslim and still meeting min criteriaa for a non Jew to live and recive full political national rightsd in Israel and in many cases not even civil rights as they shgould not be allowed to live among us in the first place.

    Parashat Va’etchanan – Some Halachot regarding non-Jews in Eretz Yisrael

    When Hashem, your G-d, will bring you to the Land to which you come to possess it, and He will thrust away many nations from before you […], you shall not seal a covenant with them nor shall you show them favor (“lo techanem”). (Deut. 7:2)

    [Regarding this we find in] Avodah Zarah 20a: “You must not give them any consideration ” (Deut. 7:2): Do not give them a foothold [“chanayah”] on the land. Alternately: Ascribe to them no charm [“chen”. Rashi: “Do not say, ‘How fine this non-Jew is!’”]. Alternately: Give them no free [“chinam”] gift. Later on the Talmud concludes, “All are valid.” An additional restriction appears in Rambam, Hilchot Avodah Zarah 10:3,4: We do not sell them houses and fields in Eretz Yisrael… neither do we lease fields to them… Why were our sages strict regarding fields? It is because [leasing them to non-Jews] has two [negative results]: It diminishes the tithes and gives non-Jews a foothold on the Land. We are allowed to sell them houses and fields outside the Land because it [any foreign land] is not our land. It is thus clear that there are two reasons for the Torah prohibition against selling houses, or even leasing fields, to any non-Jew, even if he be one of the righteous gentiles [a ger toshav].

    Rambam mentioned both in discussing the prohibition against leasing fields (Hilchot Avodah Zarah 10:4): “It diminishes the tithes (1) and gives them a foothold on the land (2).”

    (1) Since Eretz Yisrael is holy and we are duty-bound to sanctify its soil through tithes (besides all the other mitzvot that are dependent on the land), how can we dare sell or lease land to any non-Jew? A non-Jew is not bound by tithes, and by our action, we diminish the scope of the mitzvah, and, so to speak, the holiness that is thereby added to this soil.

    (2) A non-Jew, by buying or renting land in Eretz Yisrael, takes a portion of the land and has a sort of ownership over it, and it is forbidden to give him this foothold. What, after all, is this “foothold”? Surely it is the feeling in the non-Jew’s heart that he has found a place to live, a place to call his own.

  2. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    No disagreement from me on this issue. Anyone loyal to the Jewish state and who has honestly accepted the burdens of Israeli citizenship, whether they be Jewish or not, must be rewarded equally with the privileges of citizenship of a commonwealth that is uniquely great in a world that has become all but poisonously vile. To act otherwise would scar the Jewish state with treachery.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  3. I do not always agree with Lucy but she is for dialog and co-existence and has no issue with Israel as the Jewish State. Israel can co-exist with people like Lucy in the minority. If people like her were the Arab leadership the Arabs and Jews would be better off.