Al Watan Voice, which often features explicitly antisemitic articles, has an interesting piece by Helwa Zayekh about her visit to her sick mother at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus.
She writes that sharing her mother’s room is a Jewish woman, adding that “this is normal, of course.”
The Jewish woman was born in 1930 and was clearly of Syrian descent. Her daughter brought an iPad for her mother to watch Syrian TV drama, speaking to her in Syrian-accented Arabic. While the Jewish woman couldn’t talk, her eyes lit up when she saw her favorite Syrian actors on the screen.
The writer says that she appreciates that Syrian Jews still appreciate Arab culture, but then forces herself to add, “I was amazed at people who could change religion into a nationality,” pretending that this family was Syrian first and Jewish only by religion.
If Zayekh wouldn’t have added that sentence, she might have been accused of “normalization” with Jews. Arabs like to pretend that Judaism is only a religion, not a nationality.
But what she actually revealed is not only that Israel treats its Arab citizens with respect, but also that a significant number of Jews in Israel are indigenous even by the Arab definition that regards Jews from Europe as being somehow not really Semitic.
If she could have asked the woman if she considered herself a member of the Syrian people or the Jewish people, she might not have liked the answer.
(h/t Ibn Boutros)
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