Sunday, January 04, 2009

Separate Really?

Today, Jess and I went to the big mall with the babies. I stood outside Golf kids - the stroller wouldn't fit inside - while Jess took care of an exchange. A family entered the store - Mom, Dad, 2 little boys immaculately dressed in cargo pants and sweaters, baby in snowsuit held in Dad's arms. Picture perfect, right? Arab family, as it just so happens. Lots of Arab families at the mall always.

Last week, I went on a 2-day trip with visiting cousins, Karen and Barbara (my Aunt Nora's 2 eldest). We spent a lovely early evening at Hamat Gader, the natural hot springs Southeast of Tiberias. The water was steamy, the evening air crisp and the pools were filled with people of all ages and all nationalities - yes, there were Arabs there too.

Stop in at any hospital locally, and watch how Jews and Arabs mix. Nurses, doctors, support staff, families, patients - hospitals are an unusual oasis of 'getting along.'

Ramat Rachel, where I work out is a stone's throw from Tzur Bacher. Many Arab families join and use the pool and workout room. When the bombing first started last Saturday, I stopped to watch the news on my way out Saturday night. I stood with a few of the Arab workers at the pool and we all watched the news and the headlines regarding the rising death count. As I left the pool, the Muezzin was screaming - or so it seemed to me - and it didn't sound like prayers, it sounded much stronger. Turns out it was the sounds of demonstrations in the street.

It's such a small country here. Borders so close to each other. Not enough room to breathe and find a way to living together. And yet, on Thursday, when I stopped in both Acco to walk around the Old City (in the hopes of some good humus as well) and when we finally ate our humus in the Druze town of Kfar Yasif (which felt quite Arab to me), I wondered at our ability to 'live' together and yet not be able to make peace together.

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