# 18 – Israeli Arabs II by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 18 – Israeli Arabs II

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
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July 27, 2003

I had to visit Tel Aviv University today. First of all, must say that, like the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the one in Haifa, it has a beautiful campus, especially considering that it is located in town (in fact, 400 meters from my home). As I was entering, a group of Arab students were coming out. Some were religiously dressed, others not only secular, but could have been easily taken (mistaken?) for a Sephardic Jew (those are the ones from Spain and N. Africa, which make up almost half the Jewish population in this country).

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I was not surprised, but under the current circumstances, was pleasantly reminded of the openness of much of Israeli society. And the ‘outside world’ does need reminding of this fact. I cannot imagine there are many Jews at Amman or Cairo Universities, let alone Teheran, Damascus, Baghdad – and certainly none in Bir Zeit in the West Bank.

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What else? Oh yes – I was most impressed with the security outside a local supermarket this morning. She could have been Miss World: the prettiest girl you ever did see, and quite obviously Ethiopian. I was tempted to do something suspicious, just to see her draw her gun….

4

Attended the annual ‘Opera in the Park’ last week. This time it was Nabucco. Must admit that it was a very good performance (I’m an opera fan, also a Verdi fan – but not a Nabucco fan. Apart from the chorus that everyone hums to, the pleasant music is not memorable). The S. Korean baritone was excellent in the lead role. They estimate that over 150,000 attended – but this year, for the first time, security was intense, and we were herded into an enormous sheep-pen – totally fenced in. Sad, but it really was a very ‘soft target’.

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The week before, we saw a film at the Intl Jerusalem Film Festival, where about 240 films were shown. And for the first time, the Sundance Film Committee attended to help with the judging. The organisers were duly proud.  The Cinematheque played main host to the festival. It is located next to Yemin Moshe, a lovely quarter just outside the Old City Walls, the first such suburb to be established – by an Englishman, Sir Moses Montefiore (whose grandson, I believe, converted and became a UK bishop).

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It has a lovely park area; we had great pleasure walking through it – and then snacking at a restaurant as the sun set on the walls of the Old City. Special.

2 Days later, some Arab youths stabbed a tourist in that same park.

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We’re in the middle of a ceasefire. No one’s laid down their arms; neither side. There have been at least 23 suicide bomb attacks during this period – only 2 got through. But there have been many more individual attacks. And the Palestinian militants are asking for all 6-7,000 prisoners to be released. This may be what happens after a war, after peace talks, after all is said and done. But now? When both sides are doing not much more than taking a deep breath?

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Of course, the settlement activity must also stop. I agree. And that wall/fence – no matter how necessary it is as far as preventing cross-border attacks is concerned – it’s such a physical and political eyesore. I’m sorry, the fact that it cuts through some gardens, orchards etc. is a small price to pay for saving lives on the way to making peace. But politically, this new Berlin Wall will be a disaster.

9

Abbas has had a good visit in Washington. But poor guy couldn’t resist saying that he is there at the behest of Arafat. Can’t they get it into their thick skulls that the only chance for peace is to keep Arafat out of the picture? Arafat, if he has any cleverness left, should act like the perfect wife: let the man (Abbas) think he’s in charge. Behind the scenes, he can say what he wants. But the minute the Israelis – and much of the intl community are made aware (as opposed to knowing, which they already do) of the fact that he is trying to control things, the negotiations will fall apart.

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I played gold a couple of times recently. OK, so we have only 1 18-hole course (Caesaria – and it’s beautiful) and a 9-hole course in Gaash (only 6-7 km from here), but it’s better than nothing…..

Au revoir from here.

Stephen

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