Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Israeli Arabs Who Are Proud To Live In Israel

The Times of Israel had a piece last month about Israeli Arab Boshra Khalaila, who has been Telling Israel like it is — in Arabic. One place she spoke was in South Africa:
Boshra’s appearances on campus made waves, and, among her many radio appearances, she was interviewed by an Islamic, Arabic-language radio station in Johannesburg. The interviewer, a religious Saudi man, asked her questions which revealed a disheartening level of ignorance about Israel, the most over-scrutinized and documented country in the world — an ignorance that is unfortunately all too common.

“He asked why Israel doesn’t let Muslims pray or go to Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem; why only Jews are allowed to pray [in the State of Israel]. I told them that in my own small village in the Galilee there are not only one but two mosques and two imams who both get a monthly salary from the state. The interviewer was in shock. I added that I could go pray at Al Aqsa mosque at will, freely. Sure, sometimes there are security concerns and they limit entrance temporarily, but that’s it.”

The host was receptive to Boshra’s story and as the conversation turned to the rights of Arabs in Israel, her assertiveness grew.

“I said to him: ‘In Saudi Arabia, can a woman drive a car?’ He said no. I said: ‘I can.’ And he was silent. I asked: ‘Can a woman in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia meet a man and get to know him before getting married or is she just forced into marriage at a young age?’ He said no, she can’t. I said: ‘I can.’ And I would answer his questions with my own questions…and each time he would be stunned silent.”

Boshra went on to correct other popular misconceptions that the host had, including ideas about the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. She informed him of the supplies that Israel provides to the strip on a monthly basis, and she reminded him that Egypt also enforces the embargo. She asked him why it was Israel and not Egypt, an Arab county, that provided for the territory’s necessities. “He was speechless. He was often speechless during our interview.”
Read the whole thing.

That is not too say that life for an Arab living in Israel is free from discrimination -- nor is Khalaila shy about admitting that fact.

However, Khalaila does open people's eyes to the facts about Israel and makes and makes it possible for them to transcend the one-sided propaganda points that are being push and blindly accepted by so many.

Actually, Khalaila's positive attitude about Israel is not unusual.

A poll this year found 52.8% of Israeli Arabs proud to be Israelis:
Israeli-Arab pride in Israel [Hebrew]
Alexander Yakobson Op Ed in Haaretz 1 February 2012

...According to "Democracy Index 2011" on behalf of the Israel Democracy Institute, 52.8% of Arab citizens (compared to 88% of Jews) answer yes to the question if they are proud to be Israelis. Only 28.3% of respondents said they were "not at all proud" to be Israelis...

These findings are not unusual at all. In 2009, a survey conducted a week after the conclusion of "Operation Cast Lead", found 45% of Arabs said they were proud to be Israelis. Years ago that figure was 53%. I happened to ask a group of British journalists ... whether by their estimate 45% of Catholics in Northern Ireland ready to say "I am proud to be British". "I do
not believe that 45 Catholics in Northern Ireland who are willing to say it, not to mention the 45%", said one journalist.
And Israel Matzav writes about First pro-Israel Arab party formed:
Four and a half years ago, I blogged a column by Caroline Glick that claimed that most 'Israeli Arabs' are actually pro-Israel. So why do they continue to send the likes of Ahmad Tibi and Hanin Zoabi to the Knesset? Because there were no pro-Israel Arab parties. Until now. 42-year old Aatef Karinaoui has founded a party called El Amal Lat’gir — “Hope for Change” - to run for the Knesset in the upcoming elections.
But then again, what else would you expect to find in a democracy?

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