Monday, February 3, 2014

Terrorists, Bedouins and Irrational Equations

So there I was sitting minding my own business, ready to move on to the next activity and someone went up to the lectern and announced that there was an important message that needed to be shared. The individual then went on in quick succession to speak about the Terrorists that are keeping Jews from certain places in Israel and the Bedouins who are also attacking…….. and I quickly could listen no more! I was horrified. WHAT?!?!?!?!? Another irrational equation? I won’t even go into the details of the context of the statement, which were problematic in and of them selves, but to hear this equation was beyond painful.

News Flash! Not all non-Jewish elements in Israel are Terrorists and not all Jewish elements in Israel are noble and correct. Having spent time in Bedouin villages, meeting and talking with Bedouins, having a daughter who has treated them in the hospital in Be’er Sheva and spent time accepting their hospitality, I object! After discussing the situation with a Bedouin chief about their community and his pained explanation of how all of their youth proudly served in the Israeli army until recently escalating actions against the Bedouin, I object! After seeing the repeated destruction of Al Araqeeb continually through the last several years and the impact of this on hard working individuals, I object! As a religious Jew who is dedicated to Israel being the best that Israel can be, I object!

Okay, now stepping back a bit, I acknowledge that the person who spoke feels passionately about aspects of this person’s commitment to Israel and I do not question this passion, its honest roots and its integrity. That being said, once again, I find myself suffering from the effect of irrational equations. ALL ARABS ARE NOT TERRORISTS and all non-Jewish elements of the Israeli fabric of its varied population ARE NOT THE ENEMY! In fact, as hard as it is to hear, sometimes, Israel itself falls short.

Sadly, the situation regarding the Bedouin is precisely one of these situations. Note this excerpt from a report issued by the Knesset of the State of Israel:

“Nowadays the state is restricting Negev Bedouins to settle within the city of Rahat and 6 other towns. Thousands of Bedouins, who do not own land, moved to these places of residence with the encouragement of the state. The remaining Bedouin population of the Negev lives in dozens of unrecognized settlements, bearing no municipal status and facing demolishing orders. These facts create great tension between the Bedouin populations and state authorities.”

For the full discussion of this issue go to the following web site to learn about this group and the Israeli government’s actions:

This problem is tied up with so many issues, including internal strife amongst the different tribal elements of the Bedouin, their attempts to deal with modernity, their own attitudes towards their woman, and so much else. For the record, there are wonderful efforts to help the Bedouin and to work with them in which many Israelis are involved. Sadly, not all Bedouin accept these overtures from Israeli organizations due to mistrust and a lack of understanding of their own internal issues. To be sure, it is a difficult and frustrating situation. HOWEVER, to broad brush this complicated and multi-faceted problem as “just another group of terrorists” is NOT an appropriate or helpful response from a member of our community in a public forum.

As for the equation of Arabs with TERRORISM, here too, there are clearly some Arabs and Moslems, and yes, some Jews and some others in our many different groups who are more invested in self interests or causes they take on for their own benefit, that they do not act for the good of all. That being said, can we all please remember that there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS Arabs, Jews, Christians, Israelis, Druze, Bedouins, Moslems who are working together and building bridges of cooperation in medicine, education, land use and so many other areas of concern that will benefit us all!

Let us focus on that and not irrational equations!

No comments:

Post a Comment