Arabs and Druze and Jews, Oh My!
Two protests were held in Rabin Square about the Nation State Law and my response to each was different. My own reaction to the bill I would call parve, others would call it “meh”. When my fellow Jews stopped arguing about the new law long enough to take a breath I was able to hear what non Jews had to say.
I felt compassion for the Druze. They have skin in the game.
“At the Temple Mount in holy Jerusalem, my beloved son Kamil gave back his soulto the creator of the world, and I began a new life filled with mountains of pain and rivers of tears. When the law was approved, I understood that I have become a second-class citizen, and that my son has become a second-class fallen [fighter],” he said.
When a people chooses to stand with, and defend my family, then they become family.
The other major minority, the Arabs, also protested. First there was a huge public Arabic lesson given in Tel Aviv. The new law changed the status of Arabic from an official language to one with special status. I thought this was a cool way to protest a part of the law that I find totally unnecessary.
The Arab minority in Israel is a minority because their people lost a war intended to destroy us. They are Israeli not Palestinian as far as passports go because of where they were when the armistice lines were drawn. It’s an oversimplification, but it’s meant to illustrate how they are affected by this conflict in many ways. As a zionist, I understand how it must feel.
So then the Arab Israeli protest happened. Flags were actually banned by the organizers, but come on, this is Israel. Palestinian flags flew at the protest. Protestors chanted “With spirit and blood we will redeem Palestine.”
According to a tweet from Lucy Aharish, an Arab Israeli journalist and news anchor, they also chanted “Millions of shahidim (martyrs) are marching to Jerusalem.” How many protestors actually chanted I cannot say, but enough to get noticed.
Druze leader: “Any attempt to harm the Jewish and democratic image of the country is invalid. The invalid behavior that we saw today in Rabin Square proves how much we were right when we decided to fight on a sectarian basis with Israel lovers and not its enemies” From a Jerusalem Post tweet
“If you protest because you want equality in your country, why wave flags of another state?” he asked. “But it isn’t anything new that Arab Israelis have a continued identity problem. They are torn between the national Palestinian identity and their real lives in Israel in partnership with the state.- Former Druze Member of Knesset Shachiv Shaan.
As a Jew I feel we were robbed of being a nation like all other nations. Conquerors came and went and with them parts of our history. As a Jew I could live anywhere in the world but the world would never be home. Every act of hatred shows me that. So here I am. No apologies.
As a Jew living in the homeland of the Jewish people I have to swallow the bile in my throat when people chant about my blood and I have to look for enough common ground so that change can be made. It comes with the territory.