# 308 – Still Partly Left by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 308 – Still Partly Left

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

April 30, 2017

I’m almost through Yuval Harari’s 2nd book, Homo Deus. I am among many who considered his first book, Sapiens, of almost biblical importance: use of hindsight to see where we come from, and why we are who we are, or do what we do.

His second book is of course is speculative: a brilliant mind’s view of where we are going.


But, for me at least, it again has taken on biblical importance in the way I see life. And it is influencing my view the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the development of this relatively new country in a world that is, in many ways, spiralling out of control.

So you can now blame Harari for some of my words.


I am currently uploading every ‘Letter from Israel’ to ourbooxcom, an online publishing website in which I am involved. (And I have almost 40 ‘more normal books’ published in a separate section). I have written over 300 in around 15 years. Each new ‘Letter’ I write goes automatically online.

Last week’s reference to the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike and Marwan Barghouti’s blatant abuse of his political potential is already out there for everyone to read.


What’s interesting is that, by coincidence, the old ‘Letters’ from around 2006 I updated this week refer to the same Barghouti subject, but from 11 years ago. And I am proud to see that my views have not wavered much.

Yes, I have swung occasionally more to the right. That’s natural, when peace seems as far away as ever, and terrorism, hatred, extremism and pure stupidity have taken such such firm grips on our world.

But…2 hints of hope appeared this week.


First, the headline in the Jerusalem Post’s weekend magazine: “A Zionist Musilm’. We’ve always hoped and suspected that a proportion of Palestinian society sees through the oppression and corruption of their leaders and education of hatred thrust upon them from birth. Yahya Mahemed grew up in the Israeli Arab town of Umm el-Fahm, 3rd largest Arab city on Israel. I quote:

“The Islamic Movement run the municipality…power over everything: schools, services, who gets hired, and they are very anti-Israel. ISIS logos and swastikas are common.”


“When they came in 30 years ago, they took over the city”. (Western democracy has not yet reached most of the Arab Israeli areas). “They outlawed alcohol and made it policy to prevent people from prospering. They don’t take care of the city; they don’t pave the streets, fix the playgrounds or make youth centres. We went without a public library for 6 years.”

There’s so much more, but basically, Yahya writes that he grew up believing Israel oppressed Palestine, that Arabs and Israelis killed each other and identifying himself as a Palestinian.


But when he visited family in the West Bank or Gaza, he noticed he had different ID’s to theirs. His was Israeli. Some hated him for that, but he slowly realised that he had the choice of a different identity, a different belief, and a different life.


Suffice to say, he now refers to himself as a Zionist Muslim and is an activist for waking his people up and making them ‘see the light’.

If peace comes, it will be thanks to Yahya and others like him – having the guts to risk so much for the sake of a peaceful future.


And second, how about this for a headline (in today’s Jerusalem Post): ‘First female judge appointed to Israel’s Shari’a courts’. I also rubbed my eyes in disbelief. But it is true. Hana Khatib, with two advanced law degrees behind her, is the first woman to hold such a position. Yes, there is an Israeli Shari’a court system. There has to be, for there are 1.5 million Muslims in the country.


In fact, the local Muslims have had such a court in place since the Ottoman times. (I’m checking the status of rabbinical courts in Iraq, Iran, Syria etc., where Jews have played such an important part in those countries’ recent histories).


By the way, Israel’s Rabbincal courts have never had a female judge. In fact, the laws of both religions do legally allow such an appointment. It’s just that the ‘customs’ have made such a move almost impossible.

I should also check the status of female judges in other parts of the Muslim world. I’m really chuffed that this has happened in Israel.


There – that’s a sign of my left side.


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