Yesterday a very well mannered and curious Japanese reporter asked my feelings about living in my hometown of Efrat, why I left America to live in Israel, what my connection is to my home here, and how I feel about the vote on Friday.
I enjoyed our talk. We were back and forth for over an hour about the history of the Jewish people, especially in my area where our Patriarchs walked, where our Matriarch Rachel is buried, where King David shepherded his sheep, where Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz, and the Maccabees fought their battles. I told him that I felt a part of eternity living in this historic region.
We talked about Jews coming from America, South Africa, France, England, India and more to join their Israeli brethren here in the hills of Gush Etzion.
The reporter asked if I thought the vote on Friday would bring co-existence. And I told him that we had co-existence long ago - when we shared the same services as the Arab population here, when we shopped in the same supermarket and visited the same hospitals and enjoyed the same zoo, museum, and mall. We knew co-existence long ago when Arabs built our homes, worked in our gardens, used our emergency medical services and traded grapes for clothing.
But then I spoke to a Reuters film crew today, "What do you, as a settler, think of Mahmoud Abbas' call for a Palestinian State?" The reporter was curt and not too pleasant. He probably just wanted to get back to the studio and edit his film. Atypical for me, I also answered in a curt, not too pleasant manner.
His question intimated that the Arabs all wanted a Palestinian State and since I'm a settler, I must be anti. Well, maybe there are Arabs who are anti.
It depends on who you talk to.
I visited a family member in the hospital in Jerusalem and the man in the bed next to my relative was an Arab from Ramallah. He requested to be sent to the hospital in Jerusalem instead of being treated in the very competent hospital in Ramallah.
The supermarkets in Jerusalem and even Gush Etzion are filled with Arabs shopping along side Jewish shoppers. They surely have their own markets in their neighborhoods, but prefer outside shopping.
The Jerusalem Post, http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=203350, reported, "In the case of a final peace agreement that established a Palestinian state, more Arab residents of east Jerusalem would prefer to be Israeli than Palestinian, according to a study released Wednesday by Pechter Middle East Polls."
Newspapers throughout the United States criticized the PA's leader for an untimely move that would actually hurt his people. Israel National News reported on those articles: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148083 .
So, yes, the news is filled with Arabs who are screaming and marching and calling for a Palestinian State, but there are also those who want to remain part of Israel. Like the Arabs who protested in Iran, calling for a better life, their voices may never be heard.
What do I think of Mahmoud Abbas' call for a Palestinian State? Really, what do Arabs think about it? It depends who you talk to.