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PDI cohort 2 Israel Seminar

Posted on 07/25/2011 @ 01:21 PM

The Arab Israeli conflict is certainly a contentious issue.  Today we had the opportunity to expand our own understanding of this conflict through conversation with two Israeli Arabs and one Jewish Israeli living beside an Arab community.

Iman Kadach is an English teacher living in Majd El Krum, an Arab village in the North.  Iman discussed how life as a teacher earns her the same Israeli rights as any other teacher although Arab schools seem to receive less state funding and perhaps subsequently students score lower on their state scores.  From a political standpoint Iman appreciates the opportunities she has as a woman in Israel but utilizes freely the discounts abroad from being from Palestine.  Iman hopes for a day when everyone can live as they wish in a democratic society.

In Dir El-Assad we were treated to a delectable meal from Camla, a caterer and business woman.  Camla spoke to us about how as an Arab woman she must cater her food out and that many of her customers are Jewish because in her culture men should be the dominant business owners.  Camla is learning the laws of Kashrut in hopes of expanding her business in Israel and in the meantime serving her customers healthy and delicious parve and basari meals.

Our last stop of the day was to Yaad, a Jewish settlement in the Galilee.  There Chasiah told us of her surprise to learn that her community was strategically mapped out by the Jewish Agency to surround Arab villages in an effort to halt their growth and serve as a lookout point over their villages.  Chasiah and her husband also learned on a walk around their new town that the land had previously been Arab farmland and there was an Arab graveyard on site.  Chasiah told us about her morale struggle with this new information but how she galvanized her community to halt their own growth that would have taken them on top of the graveyard.  To do this Chasiah worked in conjunction with the Arabs and together they decided not only to halt the Jewish building but to build a fence around the Arab cemetery.

When speaking with these three woman it was evident to me that most important in this conflict, is the ability and willingness to gain new insight and prospective from others.  On this sensitive topic we can only move forward if we’re open to the assumption that more than one view point holds validity and that as a whole no one community is innocent or guilty.  I appreciated learning from these three women and their openness in sharing their views on the country they call home.

Leeba Morse

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