Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Clash of Cultures

As a resident of Shilo who sees Turmos Ayya spread out in the valley beneath my home, or drives by the western border of the village when I drive to or from Jerusalem, there is a great deal of curiosity about who lives there, what they believe etc. One of the "rumors" that I've heard is that a sizeable number of the families who live there have strong "connections" with the United States. The simplest form of "connection" would be a family member who lives and works there, much like the Italian and other European communities sent "representatives" to America at the turn of the 20th century.

I bring this up in the context of trying to understand where our neighbor's "heads" are at; what they believe; to what extent are they capable of the concept of co-existence! Ideally I'd like to believe that this "American Connection" would have a positive influence, opening my neighbor's to the possibilities of coexistence and mutual tolerance.

What caused me to revisit my wishful thinking was a very heart-felt article by an American Arab in the New York Post today. Read "One Arab's Apology" by Emilio Karim Dabul, then ask yourself. If a man who lives in the heartland of freedom and tolerance is afraid to publicly voice self-doubt and criticism of his faith and ethnic group, what can I expect from an Arab who lives in the Middle East?

Friday, September 08, 2006


It takes real courage to be willing to go public and exchange opinions and beliefs with "the enemy". It is especially so when weekly we read about "suspected collaborators" being brutally murdered by Arab thugs belonging to one militia or another.

It comes as no surprise when this blog discovered that my "partner in dialog" disappeared.

It is extremely surprising when others offer to step up to our virtual podium and try their hand at open communication between Jews and Arabs. I look forward to their contributions, and encourage all this blog's subscribers to feel free to ask questions and to encourage our guests from Turmos Ayya .
Yoel Ben-Avraham (Iben-ibrahim)
Resident of Shilo, Benyamin

P.S. Don't worry, I've offered to create an intermediary email address to avoid unnecessary exposure to possible dangers, if they so desire.