I'm supposed to be working now (don't tell my husband), but I had to take a moment to vent about the interview I just did with Dutch Television. The interviewee and his entourage were all lovely people - polite, well spoken. Here are some short excerpts to the best of my recollection.
"Why did you come?"
"Where are you from?"
"How long are you here?"
"Who built this house?"
And then..."Whose land are you living on?" "Whose land is your house standing on?"
"My house is standing on the land of the Jewish people. I am living on land that is the focal point of my Biblical heritage. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked here. Eight minutes north of me, our matriarch Rachel is buried. Twenty minutes south in Hebron is the burial place of my matriarchs and patriarchs. Perhaps on the ground on which my home stands, David shepherded his sheep. Across the road is a place called Sde Boaz, the fields of Boaz, from the famous story of Ruth and Naomi."
"I don't mean the Bible. I mean more recently. 1948."
"Ah, 1948, this area was purchased by a man named Holzman (that means tree - like etz, etzion). In 1948 Jews lived here in five beautiful communities in Gush Etzion until the Arabs massacred some and took others into captivity."
"Well, what about those million Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee from their homes and had to run to other countries?"
"Well, what about those million Jewish refugees who were forced to flee from their homes in Arab countries. They ran from Syria and Jordan and Egypt and Lebanon and Iran and Iraq and they made new lives for themselves all over the world, and some thankfully, in the Land of Israel. Why today are there no Jewish refugees in France and English and America? Because they wanted to make a life for their children, and begin productive lives in their new homes. But the Arabs wanted to stay refugees and their host countries wanted them to stay refugees as a weapon against Israel."
"That is your pre-conceived notion."
"That is the truth."
"I am a student of history. I know the history of the Middle East all the way back to 1920."
"Ah, 1920, a good year. Then you know that in 1920, the Jews of Hebron had a very vibrant and large community, until the Arabs massacred them in 1929. And the Yemenite Jews lived in Kfar Teimanim (Yemenite Village) in Silwan until some were massacred and others had to be removed by the High Commission so they would not be killed by their Arab neighbors. And here in Gush Etzion there were also communities that were attacked by the Arabs."
"Well, what about the check points. And I saw with my own eyes an eight-year old on the floor at a check point, waiting for two hours, just because he wanted to go to school."
"And I saw with my own eyes, my friend from Tekoa who was stoned on the road, just because she was driving and for no other reason."
"Well, when people are desperate..."
"I have bad days too. My children also are sometimes late for school or bad things happen. I don't go out to the road and stone Arab cars."
"I don't know that you don't."
"Well, I don't! Do you?"
"No, I don't."
There's more, but chatting together has made me feel better. Thanks. How'd the interview go? Well, as my son Natah would say, "Whatever."