So, tonight I play the role of a Syrian negotiator. It's in contrast to my Israeli roots. I've had to remind my group several times that we're Syrian for the purpose of this simulation. This simulation comes at an awesome time as gossip-blogger Perez Hilton is visiting my favorite country in the world - Israel. What Israeli or Jew doesn't like gossiping! Seriously. It's in our blood. (Welcome to Israe, Perez)
Anyway, in light of his recent posts, I've read a few comments on how he should "keep it real" and show how awful we are and how we beat on the Arabs every chance we get. PULEEEEZE!
So, due to these comments, I'm going to give a bit of insight and try to clear the air a bit about Israel. Many people have these horrible images of buses burning, and Israelis beating Palestinians - but that's not reality. I recently made friends with a wandering traveler named Earl. He's been to places that I cannot visit because of my Israeli passport. He's been to Syria and Lebanon - Iraq, too! I can't go. I'm a Jew with Israeli citizenship. So, I learn from his experiences.
Here's what I can do:
- visit my local mall and see a plethora of Israelis and Arabs walking around with anyone being assaulted.
- eat lunch at the Herzliya marina and watch Israeli and Arab kids play together on the promenade.
- grab a chicken sandwich at the sandwich stand by my office in Israel and chat with the Arab guy cooking my food. Our discussions: family, work, and how there doesn't seem to be a winter coming this year.
This is Israel. That is the reality. My friends that live in the West Bank have little to no interaction with most of their Arab neighbors aside from pleasant encounters with the Arabs who live closer to them.
I am an Israeli. I have never:
- hit an Arab (I've gotten into my fair share of bar fights, though)
- thrown a stone at anyone
- spit on anyone
- discriminated against anyone for being anything more than a horrible human being
We're just like any other normal country. I promise.
In defense of Israel, don't read what the media has to say about us - visit on your own and make your own decision.