Arabs for Israel appreciates your love and good memories of living in Egypt and other parts of the Arab world. I salute you for holding no hate or anger. I salute you for rising above the mistreatment and expulsion from your homeland in the Middle East and very often penniless. Your letters touched my heart and I wept over your humanity. What a loss for Arab countries! May God bless you and reward you for all the pain you had to suffer.
Check the website named the "Historical Society of Jews from Egypt" or www.hsje.com
A Taste of Peace
Posted December 21 2007
**The following narrative is an excerpt from a presentation Eliane Markoff made to the Wayland-Weston Interfaith Action Group.*
Eliane Markoff *writer*
The drive to the hotel in the back seat of the taxi was peaceful and calm, unlike the region we were visiting. My husband and I had just arrived in Jerusalem, a place like no other, more a state of being than just a city. I had only visited twice before. As a young child Israel was off limits to my family, although every relative of mine yearned to visit.
Shukri, our taxi driver, was Arab. Looking out the window, I felt nostalgic and thought of Cairo and Alexandria, the places of my youth. My family was expelled after the Six Day War when I was twelve. Now I desperately wanted to remember the goodness in those with whom I had spent my early years. I needed to believe in the possibility of reaching across those years to reconnect with my past.
Breaking the peaceful silence in the taxi ride I asked Shukri whether he knew of a good Egyptian restaurant close by. He was surprised by my question. I told him that I was born in Egypt, and that I wanted to taste a dish called "Mollokhaiya." He hesitated a moment, collected his thoughts, and with unexpected enthusiasm responded, "I don't know any Egyptian restaurants in Israel, but my wife makes the best Mollokhaiya. You are welcome at our house for lunch anytime to try it." We were stunned by his response. He knew we were American and had to know we are Jewish. Accustomed as we were to media reports of conflict, hatred, and violence in the area, we wondered whether he was sincere.
The following Wednesday, my husband and I and a journalist friend of ours piled into Shukri's immaculate Mercedes and headed for his home in East Jerusalem. During the drive we saw an Arab village, a sight few tourists in Israel see. He pointed out certain homes that were "occupied," not owned, by Israelis. Shukri's home was situated only a few hundred feet from the controversial wall separating East Jerusalem from the West Bank. With some sadness in his eyes, he pointed out that many of his family members remained on the other side of the wall, and though he could visit them whenever he wished, they could not reciprocate.
Every member of Shukri's large family greeted and welcomed us as we arrived at the entrance to his home. I was moved and for some reason I was reminded of the Sadat and Begin embrace. The children smiled, and Shukri's wife's face communicated, "thank you for allowing me to prepare a meal for you."
Lunch was delicious. Shukri's wife did indeed make excellent Mollokhaiya, as well as many other dishes. After our meal, the conversation with Shukri, his friends, and family members inevitably turned to Israel and politics, and it became emotional. The discussion centered around the notion that every person, Palestinian and Israeli alike, wants to experience peace.
Then the conversation shifted to the subject of the "shaheed," a word that means martyr. Americans translate the word to mean suicide or homicide bomber. We spoke about the pain that parents endure with the loss of a child. I shared my own story of losing a child and told them how difficult it was for me to believe that a parent, especially a mother, could feel honored to lose a child as a shaheed. And even if it were true that the parents express gratitude immediately after their child makes the ultimate sacrifice for Allah, I said I wondered how they feel years after that child's death. Shukri's mother held my hand and explained that no parent knows in advance the plans of a shaheed. She implied that families are forced to say what their political leaders tell them to say under threat of retribution and loss of the promised compensation. Something inside of me felt comforted hearing this from a Palestinian grandmother.
As I sat in Shukri's living room conversing in my broken Arabic, I understood my real motivation for visiting an Arab family. Of course there was a sense of excitement, novelty and curiosity in making this trip. But I now understand that what I wanted was to experience the values and beliefs of Arabic families, to know that they hold similar feelings and needs as American, Jewish and other families around the world who experience a tragic personal loss. My journey represented an attempt to connect with the Arab world, to counter the negativity and hatred about that world which I hear and read about daily in the media. I concluded, possibly for selfish reasons, that Palestinian parents, who feel the pain for their own children, must hold empathy for other parents no matter their religious, national, or ethnic background. Perhaps our host saw us as rich, self indulgent Americans, or viewed the invitation to lunch as good business, but I prefer to think that Shukri reached out to us as a genuine expression of his desire for peace - for himself, his family, his people, and most especially his children. In opening his home to us he gave us a rare glimpse of his reality and truth. His mother held my hand and prayed for peace. His wife gave me a tissue as I spoke my late daughter Rachel's name with a tear in my eyes. Shukri's mother blessed my daughter's memory and said a prayer for the health and happiness of my family. Our lunch with Shukri and his family was brief, but it was long enough to whet our appetite for the taste of the peace that might be. Shalom and Salam.
Posted November 28 2007
I hope you don't mind me addressing you so familiarly, but after having read your book, I feel very close to you. I've been wanting to write to you for so long, but my heart was so full of things to say, I didn't know where to begin. I still don't, but I'll try anyway.
I'm a haredi (Orthodox) Jew. I grew up in America and settled in Israel over a decade ago.
First of all, it is clear from your book that you are truly full of love for every human being in the world regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. It is very rare to find a person like you who combines such love with real justice and truth. May G-d bless you and your noble efforts, and may He protect you from your enemies, and grant you success, health, and a long, fulfilling life.
I believe that your courage and dedication to truth will save lives all over the world. As one who lives in Israel, I am personally grateful to you for whatever you manage to do.
I became very emotional when reading the beautiful e-mails from Arabs. Thank you so much for giving them a voice. Even the most liberal parts of Western media do not let us hear what the friendly Arabs have to say. Only you.
The Torah says, "His (Abraham's) sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him..." For centuries, Jewish sages have said that this verse indicates that Jews and Arabs will ultimately have peace. I believe that you and those who support you are part of this process, may it come soon.
Please don't pay any attention to your critics whether they are religious radicals or secular liberals or anyone in between. You are a beautiful, courageous, caring, truth-seeking person. And you are right.
With love and admiration,
Message of peace and courage
Posted November 16 2007
I was browsing your website at work and had to stop reading halfway through the arab emails because I could not repress my emotions. My father is Jewish and was born in Tunisia. My father's family had to leave Tunisia in the 60's, even though they were living there for centuries. I lived in Israel for a couple of years and I have to say that until I read your book, I thought there was simply no hope. Your book, your website, your speeches give voice to a wave of love and hope for the middle east. I wish, and I urge arabs to speak up against the dark ages of radical islam. When I read emails on your website coming from places like Pakistan, or Iran, I can't help but start to hope again! You have no idea how good the feeling is. I long for peace and togetherness. I have been so touched by your story. I can't find the words to thank you enough. Not only for the hope that just started again for me, but for the message of peace and courage that you give. You truely are an exceptional human being.
New York, NY
Life is to short to be consumed by hatred
Posted September 2 2007
Dear Mrs. Darwish and Arab/Muslim friends,
I am a 27 year old Jewish man from Holland The Hague. I am a member of the orthodox Jewish congragtion here. Reading through the ´´Arab´´reactions about Israel I became happy. A overwhelming feeling of brotherhood came over me. I have always thought if we could settle our problems and work together we could make the Middle East flourish! I do not and I know many Jews do not feel any hatred or negative feelings towards Arabs or Muslims what so ever!!
Life is to short to be consumed by hatred....from both sides.. My wishes are that as many people as possible speak out and be positive about peace and reconciliation. We have to look to the future..
Salaam Aleikum, Shalom Aleichem..
Alexander L.Y. van der Linden
Nonie: G-d Bless You On Your Magnificent Book
Posted November 29 2006
I hope you don't mind my addressing you by your first name since I feel that I almost know you personally, after having read your book. I am a Jew who was born in the San Fernando Valley and lived there until I made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) 20 years ago. I pre-ordered your book from Amazon.com, received it last week and read through it practically in one sitting! Your story is one of the most moving I have ever heard. I am amazed how you were able to overcome your natural feelings, having lost your father to an Israeli security action and yet come to love Israel just the same. I was particularly affected by your description of addressing Selma's Hadassah meeting and how you were impressed that the Jewish people, who have suffered so much in history, have not let themselves get wrapped up in the rage and self-pity that have unfortunately infected so much of the Arab/Muslim world, as you so clearly describe in your book. I am what is referred to as a "right-wing National Religious" Jew of the type that is often denounced by the world's media as "extremist" because I support Jewish rights to live in Biblical/historical homeland of Judea/Samaria, but having read your book, you have given me renewed hope that somehow, at some time in the future, Jews and Arabs can eventually come together and live in peace, but it will take time and that we Jews/Israelis MUST stand firm for our rights in the Land of Israel while at the same time extending our hand in peace to those Arabs who want to live in peace among us. Running away from our Biblical destiny only feeds the flames of Islamic extremism, as we saw when Prime Minister Sharon tragically destroyed the flourishing Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip who not only gave employment to many of your former neighbors in Gaza, but also helped with their agricultural technology. All of this has been destroyed in the foolish delusion that appeasing Islamic terror will reduce it.
Your life's story is proof that the seemingly impossible task of reconciling Jews and Arabs is indeed achievable.
I pray that G-d give you , your family, friends and supporters health, happiness, long life and the strength to continue the holy work you are engaged in.
To the "Arabs for Israel" group with deep respect and warm greetings.
By Peter Rotberg
Posted November 25 2006
Dear friends and brothers in Faith and Love for the Holy Land- the cradle of 3 Abrahamic Religions and of the World Civilization.
In your friendly and good wishing address to the " Hebrews" you claim that supporting the Palestinians doesn't cancel the possibility of recognizing the legitimacy of the Jewish State and Religio and vice versa.
You also rightly state that " There are many Jews and Israelis who freely express compassion for the Palestinians " . Then you ,to my great delight , declare that " the Arabs express reciprocal compassion and support" and you continue saying that " The existence of Israel is a fact that you accept ". Here for some reasons , you don't include your brethren Palestinians into the list of supporters who explicitly accept the idea of peaceful coexistance between the Arabs of Palestine and the State of Israel.
And rightly so, because the Palestinians don't share your sincere longing for the peace and respect for the Jewish national values and aspirations . And they , especially the incumbent Palestiniakn Leadership, don't make a secret from their non compromizsng , rejectionist and militant stand on the issue.
It is also beyond our understanding ,how come that before 6 days war , while these territories ,were under a full Arab control , the Palestinians were not granted the right of self determination i.e. the right for an independant statehood.
We were witnesses of 2 great peace initiatives both carrying the same name - Camp David 1 and Camp David 2 .
Most of Israelis , including the writer of these lines, met with enthusiasm and admiration the initiative of Anware Saadat who prior to starting offitial negotiations came to Israeli Parliament - The Knesset and declared in the name of the Great Egyptian Nation his full recognition of the State of Israel and the willingness for coexistence and peace between the 2 Nations.
Camp David 2 failed shamefully although the former Israeli PM - Ehud Barak , offered the Palestinians an almost a 100% retreat from the territories in exchange for peace. In response we received 2 violennt Intifada attacks , scores of killed and maimed people and a deep disappointment and a total loss of hope on the part of many Israelis .
Nowadays the Hamass led Palestinian Leadership joins the rejectionist camp led by Iran and openly declares that they will never recognize our right of existence .
This is not our paranoid imagination of the Holocaust victims. It's a real threat to our very existence.
This is also a lack of trust , probably mutual , which is blocking the way to a real peace.
You cannpot blame only " Israeli intransigence and occupation for the present situation.
All your brothers have to do in order to also become our brothers is to follow the Anware Saadat's steps - Come and say clearly and explicitly -" We recognise you and we want to be in peace with you. And tnen you'll see that Isreali people will be with you , as we were with Saadat.
May the Lord, God Almighty of Abraham, Isaak and Jakob bless you!
Suphan Allah !
I knew there is still hope
Posted September 24 2006
I'm an Israeli student living and studying in Jerusalem. I came by your site through an email I got with many of your wise words.
I didn't even know such movement existed. I'm over joyed at such a thought. I knew that many people in the world no matter the race or religion felt like me and many other Israelis. To know that rational objective and hopeful thoughts resonate through the web brings me a little happiness in these troubled times.
I am a fan of diversity and I truly believe that the human race can progress endlessly if we all learn to acknowledge its potential and put aside all hate and prejudice.
I love the idea of different cultures and religions coexisting and collaborating together to create a better future. I believe in a Palestinian state and in preserving all cultures as a human heritage. I hate seeing the suffering in Lebanon these days. It's a prosperous country just like Israel with many things to offer to the world.
Iraq I hope is on some right track to greatness as is Afghanistan. Iran was a vibrant empire :) it even used to have relations with Israel. I know that many Innocent decent people live all over the Arab world almost powerless to do anything about the terrorists and Fanaticism using Islam as a poor excuse for their actions.
I'm not a religious man & I don't even believe in god. I do believe in the amazing human potential and the vast cultures it created over history.
The real crime is to destroy such notion.
Let all honest decent people go about their lives gaining education and knowledge to create a good and deserved future for the human race.
I'm honored by your endeavor and wish for the best.
From an Egyptian Jew
Posted July 13 2006
A few weeks ago, we got two requests, one from Al Jazeera and the other from Egyptian TV, to do a documentary on the Jews of Egypt. Al Jazeera wanted to know how we became "empowered" after being kicked out and were still able to become successful. I don't know whether any Egyptian Jews participated in the documentary but I would have told them that our secret weapon was not to teach hate, even against those who hate you, because hate and revenge are weapons of mass destruction. Our culture is to tighten our belts, roll up our sleeves and work hard for our children's future. The 80,000 Jews who were forced to leave their homes, their childhood, their friends and families, all started a new life in a variety of countries. Most of us had to work very hard for our future. We did not send suicide bombers in Cairo restaurants or markets. We did not blow ourselves up in front of a mosque in Shoubra.
Joseph Wahed, a Jew born and raised in Egypt
a light in the dark
Posted July 13 2006
Dear Miss Nonie
I am a religious Israeli woman .I come across your site and I admit you got me by surprise! Up until now, I never met any Muslim woman who is admitting Israel's right to exist. I read some of the articles and some of the letters that some other people of Muslim believe wrote you In addition, I got really honestly and deeply touched. We, Israelis and Jews, suffer so much from Muslims terrorism and bloodshed. Pure hatred and antagonism, prejudice and hunting media, that for me to see that you and your friends exist wormed my hart And gave me some moments of lightness. Today the Hezbollah attack Israel, killed seven of our soldiers, and kidnapped two more. It seems that the war is inevitable between us. It is so sad. It is such a waste of life and more. If Palestinians really truly wanted independence, they would not make war constantly with us, they would rather make peace. The Hatred between us is going back to the times of Isaac and Ishmael. Unfortunately, it is going to continue demanding more More victims until g-o-d himself will revile him self and bring peace to the world. Than all people will acknowledge Israel's right to exist and understand the reason for its existence. Than his house will be a hose of pray for all nations, as the prophecy says. We, the Jews, never wanted to convert other nations in to our believe, on the contrary, if someone wants to convert we have to explain him That he do not have to be a Jew in order to gain eternity. Islam fundamentalist do try to force the world to believe in Islam. I am puzzled how can one think that g-o-d who gave us the freedom to choose and gives us life's ,that is the same g-o-d that wants them to kill and Slater innocent people in order to force them to believe in there own faith. How can they kill in the name of g-o-d?!!! I once asked my Rabbi what is the difference between a lei and a truth and how can I tell the difference between the too. He looked at me with his wise eyes smiled at me as his eyes were lightening: oh, .yes he said-the truth means united, love, togetherness the truth creates life! The lei are evilness, cruelty, hatred, separation, and death. That was his answer and that says it all. I thank you from being truthful and for your support of Israel. I wish you good luck and I promise you -g-o-d with pay you good in time to come, for any one who is doing good to Israel G-o-d helps him and will pay him in the ever ness world to come when the messiah will be raveled.
A HUGE THANK YOU AND ENORMOUS ADMIRATION
Posted July 1 2006
Dear Ms. Darwish,
I just watched the interview with you on channel one in Israel (with Yakov Achimeir) and I just could not stop crying out of surprise and gratitude!
You are a brave woman and I admire you for what you are doing. For years I have been wishing to hear this voice from your world. You are sooooo welcome in our midst and I really hope that more and more people will join you whole heartedly! Your true dream of an Arab Martin Luther King has touched me! You are in fact a Martin Luther Queen!!! I, like you, believe this world deserves much more than endless bloodshed and baseless hatred. I am a religious Jew and I know the Islam is not a negative religion. It has more in common with Judaism than most people think. Your action is simply incouraging me not to give up hope for a better understanding between our nations, not to give up hope for peace in our country!
I just want to tell you THANK YOU for what you are doing! I am moved up to tears by your words! May GOD bless you and be with you in all your ways, Ms. Darwish. May Jews and Muslims and the rest of the world will live as one! Let us stop imagining and start practicing John Lenon's song/draem!
GOOD LUCK TO YOU ! MAY YOU BE BLESSED!
Rachel (A young mother who hopes that her children will grow into a more peaceful world! )
From your Egyptian Jew Friend
Posted July 1 2006
You really were a breath of fresh air for me and a hope that, after all, one could be optimistic. Browsing at your website later on, I was not aware of so many Muslim writers espousing the same views as you. Somehow, somewhere, sometime, this enlightenment has to build a bridgehead in the Muslim World. I will order your book whose title I found in your website.
My family suffered a lot in Egypt following the 1956 war while I was a student in France. My father, like so many other Jewish males was imprisoned in a makeshift concentration camp, formerly a Jewish school in Cairo, and endured the humiliation of his jailers. His crime being a Zionist, though in fact he spent all his life working in his pharmacy in Giza. He spoke and wrote Arabic fluently and had many Arab friends. His crime was to have met the enemy in Cyprus. My grand mother and most of my family had immigrated to Israel in 1948 and one summer we met with my grand mother in Cyprus. Somehow, we were denounced for having met the enemy, i.e., a 70-years old woman... My father was called to the Ministry of Interior and had a "discussion" with officials, but they let him go and resume his normal activities. They , however, black-listed him. After the 1956, war, he was given the choice to leave with his family and two suitcases and leaving everything else behind. The other alternative was to face a possible trial. He took the first choice. My mother was assured that my father would be in a certain ship in Alexandria bound for Italy. At the Alexandria port, my mother met military officers who ransacked all the suitcases, looking for the gold of the Jews.... They then told my mother that they would keep my 17-year old sister since she was probably going to Israel to become a soldier... After my mother's supplications and cries they let my sister go. When they got into the ship, the Jewish "criminals" were in a cage handcuffed, and the handcuffs were removed after the ship left the Egyptian territorial waters. During all this time, I was in college in France. In fact, the last time I left Egypt was in September 1956, when I went back to France after I had spent my summer vacation with my family.... To make a long story short and "tout est bien qui finit bien", my father reopened a small pharmacy in Akko after having worked at an Arab pharmacy in Nazareth. Everyone and all the Arabs loved him in Akko. They called him Abu Zaki. In fact, last April I visited Israel and found some of his old friends, and they all called me Zaki....
The story of Jewish refugees from Arab Lands is indeed poorly known by the public. What is widely known, on the other hand, is the story of the Arab Palestinian refugees, inflated to the maximum, and accusing "the Jews" for Al Naqba and their demise. Sure, the tragedy of the Arab Palestinian refugees is heart breaking, but so is that of the Jewish refugees from Arab Lands, who by the way represented about the same number of refugees in 1948, each about 700,000. The difference is that while the Jewish refugees were resettled humanely in Israel, Arab Palestinian refugees became pariahs and pawns of Arab political leaders who wanted them to rot in refugee camps in dismal conditions for the sake of their political goals, i.e., fueling hatred into the hearts of those refugees against the Jews. I feel very strongly, paraphrasing Golda Meir, that peace between Arabs and Jews in Israel will only happen when Arabs will love their children more than they hate the Jews.
I would appreciate if you could find the time in the next few weeks about some questions I have. One of my hobbies for the past 20 years is to write Letters to the Editor and occasional Op-Eds in the Chicago Tribune mainly on the Middle East but not restricted to the Middle East. It's a catharsis for me whenever I have passionate about something or outraged about a perceived bias not only against Jews and Israel but also against Arabs in America. Once you don't care about a group, you sure will be next. Which reminds me the famous quote from Martin NiemÃ¶ller, a German pastor imprisoned in World War II: "First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
About 25 ears ago, I had written an Op-Ed quoting the 2 suras that you quote where the Prophet Muhammad warns the Jews about not going to the Promised Land. I had a long discussion with a Muslim scholar who told me that later revelations or writings from the Qur'an or the Hadith Reports abolish the earlier ones. Could you please find me this quote and give me its reference and the exact wording and if possible transliterated from the Arabic?
And indeed you really find in Islamic scholarship statements that vilify Jews, calling even to murdering them and refer to the massacres of Khaibar and other areas of Arabia. As Prof. Bernard Lewis writes, Jews had a prominent position in the Hedjaz even before the Prophet appeared. The Prophet himself had good relations with Jews at the beginning and absorbed a lot from the Torah which, by the way, found its route in the Qur'an. Later on, the Prophet disenchanted with the refusal of the Jews to convert to Islam, the "true" religion, turned against them. What is your view of this concept?
I have taken classes on Islam as well as Sufism. By the way, I loved Sufism which is the poetic and mystical form of moderate Islam which finds its parallel with the Jewish mystics and the Kabbala (I am not referring to the Kabbala of Madonna....). One thing that I learned is that Islam attitudes and emulation are shaped by examples taken from the life of the Prophet and his descendants. Could you please find for me the reference that condones suicide bombers for the sake of "shahidism"? What is the so-called religious basis for it?
A few months ago, I wrote a Letter in the Tribune where I expounded on my theory according to which only parts of Holy texts whether the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament or the Qur'an are revealed by G. The parts revealed by G are easy to find: they deal with tolerance, compassion, charity, acts of loving kindness, feeding the poor, taking care of the destitute, the orphans, etc... The other parts are written by men (male chauvinists, by the way) who had a political agenda. Maybe one day I ought to write a book about it and as a result will be hated by everyone....
Nonie, meeting you and knowing that you existed was a real treat for me. You are an exceptional person. I demand, though, something from you: please be careful. The World needs heros to repair the World (Tikkun Olam in hebrew).
All the best and G bless you.
Isaac, Ytzhak, Ishaq, Zaki
Posted May 13 2006
I read your article about the big cartoon controversy in a local jewish newspaper, which was printed to praise you on your views, and had originally appeared in the daily telegraph. I did not know who you were, so i decided to find out more.
You are to be commended for speaking out in this manner, despite the dangers you may face.
I am a jew who was born and grew up in cairo, egypt also, and probably around the same time period of which you speak in the article.
My family had suffered considerably from the hatred. My father, may he rest in peace, died, while having never recovered from the events which led to our humiliating expulsion from egypt just before the 6 day war, and the confiscation of all our possessions, including our home. Not to mention the insults we endured. You may have sung songs about "jews dogs". I was called " yahoodi kalb" and yahoodi wesech" and many time i was expelled from school for fighting back and prevailing. Now, how do you forgive a religion which still until this day, uses the same slogans and kills and beheads jews, and at the very least does not tolerate their existence, simply because they are jews?
Whether the islamic faith has been hijacked by extremists or not, the predominant expression and views of those moslems convey a message of hatred and violence and killing of other human beings. Yet, only a fraction of a minority' s views reflect the opposite and they are definitely not heard and not outspoken.
If the interpretation of a religion is embraced by the majority of its followers, then that is the religion. So if islam preaches love, tolerance and embracing of other religions then please identify an islamic country that would aplly those principles, and would tolerate other religions in their midst. Even as recently as this week, i am sure you have read about the violence against the coptic christians, in egypt, now that all the jews are gone.
Anyway, it is admirable of you to speak the way you do.
And god bless you.
Love your Website
Posted January 1 2006
THANK YOU. Your web site gives me hope for the future. I stumbled upon it while on the website of the Daniel Pearl foundation. I am Jewish, born and raised in the USA. I have watched the developments unfold in the Middle East with a feeling of despair. You and all the open-minded, G-d-loving Arabs who see beyond all the hatred they've been taught are truly a beacon of light to the world. More people need to hear your message of love, brotherhood and peace!!!! Keep up the great work. Thank you for spreading the truth!
Comment on "arabsforisrael" by an Israeli Jew
Posted January 1 2006
My name is Yoav and I am an israeli jew from Jerusalem. I must admit that I came to your website, while surfing and surching the net for totally different information than I founded later on your site. So this was so called an "accident". The bigger was than my surprise, when I read the content of your site.
Let me explain a few things from the "historical" point of view. Some ten years ago I was a so called peace activist in Israel and in the Israeli peace movement, while demonstrating and fighting for the peace between the two nations. Although I always supported the two state solution I've always saw Islam and judaism as one culture although build from two different, but very similar religions. Judaism and Islam in my opinion have more common in sence than for example judaism and christianity.
At the begining of the Oslo agreement we were all in heaven and were sure, that peace has arrived. But the awakeness came in form of the horrifying suicide bombings in the city and accross the country. Personnaly I was at the scene of such two bombings' while one was taking place below of my house where a bus full of children was blown to pieces. I must admit that I at this point of time, I was confused a lot about peace and about arab and palestinian desire to achieve peace a this point of time and at this stage, although I never stoped to believe in peace and that one day al the children of abraham will leave peacefully together.
The jewish bible teaches us that when abraham died, so al of his sons, Itzhak and Ishmael, came peacefully toghether to burry him in Hebron, allthaugh there could be a struggle between the two children about land and influence. But we se that they could manage, as their father thaught them, to solve problem in peace and not in bloodshed. So this is what we jews learn in the first pages of the torah. And this is how abraham wanted us to be.
I must say that when I read your website and especially the e mail from arab readers, I started to return to my optimistic way of thinking, that peace is possible and that there are partners for peace the arab side. I gained once agin a lot of power to believe that peace is possible and I manged to bridge once agian the gap of the mistrust.
I think that the job you do is almost something holy. I wish that in future you will mange to bring your peaceful voice to more and more Israelis in order to break the mistrust I mentioned above.
Keep going and be strong.
Salam Aleykum, Shalom al Kulam (Peace for everyone)
Posted August 13 2005
I'm an American Jewish woman and a proud Zionist who has enjoyed reading the Arab and Muslim comments of support for Israel and the Jewish people. At a time when the PLO and most Arab and Muslim regimes and leaders are waging war on Israel and the Jews, it is deeply heartening to know that a handful of righteous Arabs and Muslims are willing to express their solidarity with Israel and the Jews. I am struck by the fact that your Arab and Muslim supporters come from a wide range of Arab and Muslim countries including Malaysia, Egypt, Syria, India, Tunisia, Morocco, and the Persian Gulf region. I want your readers to know that I am a proud religious Zionist. However I completely abhor the Jewish terrorist who killed four innocent Israeli Arabs in Sfaram, Israel. This act is a gross violation of the Jewish Commitment to the sanctity of all human life, including Arab Muslim life.
This act has been strongly condemned by both supporters and opponents of the Gaza disengagement plan and Prime Minister Sharon.
In addition the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Haifa, and Israeli President Moshe Katzav visited the bereaved families in Sfaram.
In addition, I also support the struggle for freedom and justice all across the Arab and Islamic world. I support America's program to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein's tyranny and genocide because I believe that freedom and justice are essential for the Arab and Muslim world. I feel as strongly outraged by the Saddamists and al Qaeda terrorists who are murdering Iraqi democratic politicians, children, Shi'ite clerical leaders, and soldiers as I do by the bus bombings in Israel and the Arab terrorism against Jews in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
In addition I have spent much effort contemplating not only Saddam's genocide against Shi'ites and Kurds and moderate Sunni Arabs but also thinking of ways to support Iraqi democracy. The day when the Iraqi nation went to the polls on January 30,2005 was one of the happiest days of my life, along with April 9, 2003 when the Iraqis toppled the Saddam statue.
Perhaps I should mention that Mithal al Alusi, a Sunni Arab politician, suffered the gruesome murder of his two sons Jamal and Ayman on February 8,2005 in Baghdad because Mr. Al Alusi had visited Israel the previous October and advocates Iraqi ties with Israel.
Mr. Al Alusi has continued to support Israel and the Jewish people in spite of this horrific crime against his beloved sons.
His courage is an inspiration to me, and I am deeply affected by this atrocity against him.
I also support the struggles for freedom which are taking place in Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all across the Arab and Muslim world. I am happy that Lebanon was able to vote and reduce the Syrian occupation against it but worried by the continued presence of Syrian intelligence agents in Lebanon as well as the power of Hizbollah. I support the Iranian people who are struggling to overturn a brutal Islamic regime that suppresses women's rights as well as basic human rights. I support Akbar Ganji and hope he is released before he dies of his hunger strike. In addition I support the three Saudi democrats who were recently released from prison because they called for greater liberty in their country. Even in highly repressive Syria and Libya there are movements toward freedom led by brave people who are risking their lives for freedom. Fathi al Jahmi of Libya faces prison and torture that threatens his life for his human rights work. I also salute Saad Ibrahim and Ali Salem for their struggles for democracy and peace in Egypt.
Shalom from NYC
Posted August 7 2005
i don't know where to start, i want to thank you a zillion times for this beautiful site, i was browsing the net looking for something that connect the jews and muslim religion, i was hopping to find something but never dreamed of finding this beautiful site. i started reading your site found my self addicted to it and couldn't stop reading, it took me 6 hours till i finally realised its almost morning and i lost a good night sleep, but it was worth every minute, the next day i woke up and first thing came back to your site to read more, i just cant get enough of it.
i am jewish living in the USA, i had the urge and was curious about islam starting 3 years ago, sometimes after september 11th, i read the Quran and find it very confusing, many beautiful peaceful verses while other verses just fricked me out, very confusing, however, reading your site helped me a lot in understanding Quran a bit better, i enjoyed so much reading all the e-mail's from the arab muslims around the world, tears of joy!
i want to take this opportunity and thank all the arab muslims who came forward with their love and understanding to the jewish people and israel. i love you all.
Shalom, Salam to all
The Global Campus
Posted June 12 2005
My name is Karen *******, I am an Israeli (Jew).
I came across your website through a link from Hopeways, and read your stories and articles.
I am very interested in Islam and am looking for ways to learn the simple everyday things of Islamic people and customs. 6 months ago I joined Jalal, a Moslem from Jaffa, and together we are trying to create an organization for multi-cultural youth in Israel. We are established as a non-profit organization. (I am attaching our manifest). This "relationship" is very intrieging for me. This is not a romantic relationship in any way (we are both married, I have 2 kids he has 3, and I am 8 years older). I have some difficulty in understanding his ways, and often joke with him that I wish their was a "manual" so that I could understand better and not tread on open saw's. I have made some mistakes in this relationship, mistakes that of course were not made on purpose, and not out of lack of respect or any intention to heart, but I am sure that if I new earlier of things that I should have known about Islam and Arabs living in Israel - I am sure I would have not said some of the words I did. (a silly example: it took a long time and energy to get organized to do the non-profit signing with the lawyer, finally I managed to get all 8 people in a certain date for the signing of the papers, I was very exited and thought this is a very meaningful meeting (4 Jew's, 4 Muslims, and the lawyer was Muslim too), during the signatures I photographed and in the end I pulled out a bottle of the best red wine I could find... ops.... I really didn't know that Muslims don't drink wine...).
Could you advise me of a book/article or a website that I can learn more?
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Thank you very much for writing to me. I understand your dilemma about Muslims. But my mission is that Muslims need to also be sensitive to other cultures and religions. Why is it you who have to adjust all the time to their customs? It should be a mutual, reciprocal relationship.
The example you gave me was very good. I appreciate very much your sensitivity to Muslim culture. However, I wish Muslims are as sensitive to the religious and cultural customs of other cultures. If I were in the situation of your Muslim friends I would simply say thank you and not drink the wine if I do not drink. Some Muslims do drink alcohol, beer is produced and served in Egypt in many restaurants. Not all Muslims are the same and not all Muslim countries are the same. However, in the last decades the radical wing of Islam took over
like never before. I think Muslims also need to be sensitive to the religious and cultural values of other people.
Your honorable cause is very good and I am sure that your Muslim friends appreciate your intentions because they can see through your compassion and find through your friendship much more valuable aspects than simply opening a bottle of wine. Trust me there are many hidden vice in the Muslim world just like every culture. I hope you can show your Muslim friends my website and perhaps they can also write to me. Your efforts should be greatly appreciated.
You Are on the Good Road!
Posted June 12 2005
I' m Jewish Berberian ( from North Africa) who lived during 20 years with Arabs Muslims. I speak Arabic and have lot of Arabic friends.
I think that each community of people who want to live toguether, must have his State, his language, his flag, his traditians and to developp his econonomy to give prosperity to his habitants.
For me, the Jews must have their State, after 2000 years of slaughter and ghettos, some time from the Christians some time from the Muslims. And to live as jewish, speaking hebrew and practising freely theire religion.
I think and wish the same thing for the Palestians, for the Kabylians, for Kurdes or the Indiens. No body, No country can submit others people or country !!!
We need to fight against the extremists, we need to fight agianst people who beleave in 2005, that the woman is inferior to the man. We need to fight against people who hate everyone ( jews, christians, boudist, black, white etcccc) because they hate themselfes. And this is valid for each community !!
Extremists are everywhere.
Posted June 12 2005
ArabsForIsrael.com is a fantastic web site. I've never seen anything like it,not even remotely. I read through many of the articles and letters, and I keptthinking to myself, this is what we need to hear, not news of jihad, suicide bombing, or another useless summit. As someone with many relatives in Israel (you could even say that I am from the American branch of a Palestinian Jewish family) I often get very angry when I hear about another bombing. And then I get to thinking, those "dirty Arabs," and worse. And its that kind of senseless prejudice that can potentially create a dangerous and deadly cycle. Thankfully, I always come back to reality. I think most of us usually do. Maybe its being Jewish, maybe its being American (or maybe its a combination of both), but I can't hold on to that kind of prejudice for long. It makes me feel dirty, like I'm being lowered down to the terrorists' level. Anybody who despairs, or thinks that all Arabs support terrorism (since 9/11 this opinion has become regrettably common among Americans) needs to come to this site. I was quite impressed with the sensitivity displayed in both the Jewish and Arab letters. I used to think I was missing something because I know very few, if any, Arabs. Now I am certain of it. I must confess that I am normally considered something of a "hard-liner" with respect to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I make no apologies for this. But any "hard line" not tempered with respect (and yes, even love), is simply rigidity, and has no place in my thinking (I hope).
Thank you for Your Website
Posted May 22 2005
My journey as a Jew began from birthâ€¦I am a Jew â€˜by bloodâ€™ hence I am oneâ€¦but it is only recently that I have begun to realize the sadness of my peopleâ€™s history. It is important to note that to be a Jew (although not in the eyes of most people) is to adhere to the precepts of a religious code, nothing less and nothing more. Indeed, that is the way with all religions of the world, Jews did not always exist, nor did Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or Hindus. Humanity is nothing but a grain of sand, a blink in the mighty order of the universeâ€¦ Truth is found through rationality, discourse and philosophyâ€¦It takes greater strength to be a good human being without the expectation of divine reward or recognitionâ€¦It is more difficult to be a good human being while perceiving all things in an existential mannerâ€¦ That is, it is more difficult to be a good human being by being recognized only by your fellow men and women and not by God.
Although I dislike (and interested) in all forms of religion, I cannot help but feel a sense of belonging to the Jewsâ€™ suffering, not because they/us are of the same religion as me but because they (myself included) have stood at the knees of a so called humanity for the past two thousand years unjustly! And even after they have chosen to return to the land of their ancestors, they still receive no rest. The forces under which the Jewish nation has persevered have not been favorable at all. A great fragment of the â€˜civilizedâ€™ world still thinks that Jews have some sort of conspiracy to take over the planet (if they do then why am I not included?). The entire world does not allow the State of Israel to exist in quite. It is the only place in which a Jew (and an Arab) can be live in peace. Yet the world continues to diligently demonize the Jewish nation in this tiny and exhausted piece of land.
As I was sitting in my room reflecting upon the infamous conundrum of the Jewish fate I began to wonder if it is possible that among those (Arabs/Palestinians) who serve as the new version of the 3rd Reich, there are hidden people who see things as they are and not as they are dictated to see. I began to wonder if there are Arabs who are not afraid to speak out the truth. As a result I decided to â€˜googleâ€™ my question in the simplest and most direct of ways, â€˜Arabs for Israelâ€™. To my pleasant surprise I have found your website.
As I began to read the emails of the many Arabs that have written to you in the course of time, I was touched deeply by the courage and valor with which the obvious truth about the Jewish state was delivered from the mouths Arabs; the last people on earth that I would imagine to speak in favor of Israel. You have heard this before, but I will say this again, thank you for creating this website; please accept these words as the deepest and most sincere gratitude. If Israel is the light in the dark region of ignorance, then this website and the courageous Arabs who are willing to let their voices be heard, is an extension of this light.
Your words bring hope even to most moderate and pragmatic people who, after long examining the situation in Israel, begin to lose hope and begin to believe that there is no one to talk to. Your existence serves a living testament that even in the gloomiest and darkest of places there are those who somehow gather the strength to detach themselves from the suffocating slime of hatred, ignorance and dogma into the purity and freshness of wisdom and tolerance.
Edmund Burke once said, â€˜the only thing evil needs to triumph is for good to do nothingâ€™. You are the â€˜goodâ€™, all of you who write these emails, who are not afraid to go against authority, who dare to seek the truth even when hostile forces keep you away from itâ€¦Your good words keep evil at its knees. It takes a lot of courage to dissent and represent a nation and a country which is in dire straits for as long as it exists, especially when most of the world, from some strange reason, loathes itâ€¦CONTINUE WHAT YOU DO, DO NOT STOP, YOU ARE APPRICIATED MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE!!!
Thank you, Arthur.
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It is people like you who keep me going, my wonderful Jewish friends, people and culture. I am grateful for your culture's appreciation of compassion, love of humanity, forgiveness and peace. I want you and all Jews to know you are also appreciated more than you can ever imagine maybe not yet by the majority around the world who do not want to see the truth. But your supporters are committed and are thankful to your teachings. You taught me to be a humanitarian and that is why I am grateful to you. I will continue my mission to stand up for what is right and support Israel and the Jewish people.
Greetings from Be'er Sheba
Posted April 17 2005
I was very pleased to have found your website and I appreciate very much your work!
I was born in Switzerland to Israeli parents and I decided to come back to Israel in order to study here, half a year ago. I am studying at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva, on the edge of the desert and I am having my best time ever, I guess.
Apart from the overall excellence and the spirit of my university I am especially happy that there is real coexistance and respect between Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis (mostly Beduins). I am studying Geography and we are about 45 students. Out of them are some 7 Muslims. One comrade comes from Qalansawe, next to Netanya and the rest come from Beduin towns and villages around Be'er Sheva (Rahat, Ar'ara, Laqiye). Studying with me are also two girls who are religious and hiding their hair. As opposed to my experiences in Europe, I see that the vast majority of the Jewish students don't even make a difference between them and their Muslim comrades.The atmosphere is most natural and friendly. There is great respect towards the cultural uniqueness of each others culture and I think that this is a great fact. Moreover it is an astounding fact that our university boosts a Jewish prayer room, as well as a Muslim one.
I am very much hoping that this attitude will spread, because it is the only way to live in peace and coexistence. Therefore I am very proud of being part of my university that enables (besides many other places) a natural place of working together, studying together and experiencing together.
Best regards from Be'er Sheva, Israel
David Rubinstein (25)
Posted Jan 18 2005
The true enemy of peace between our nations is "replacement theology" - the belief that one prophet came to eradicate the message of previous prophets and to bring a new religion to replace the former. In Jewish belief, no true prophet can contradict the Prophet Moses - that is the test each person who claims to bring the words of God must pass. It is not an easy test because God Himself makes it difficult. Prophets bring messages which seem contradictory, and only expert scholars are able to identify the harmony. This was true with the Book of Ezekiel where only one scholar was able to see the conformity with previous scripture to enable this book to be allowed into the Canon. I see the Quran in this light. In my personal opinion, someday we will have the scholarship and the structure (Sanhedrin), and the courage, to recognize it as prophesy. But today, we have the seeming contradictions to struggle with.
How is it possible that Islam will triumph when we, as Jews, must recognize that the Torah of Moses is eternal? How is it possible that Jesus will bring Christianity to all in the midst of the common belief among Christians that the New Testament replaced the Old? Is there a way we can all be right? There is.
While I make absolutely no claims to scholarship, for many years it has been obvious to me that there is harmony between our faiths. There are snags, to be sure, but the harmony is vast and the snags are few. That harmony is the Torah of Moses. Those who are truly interested in peace must look critically and intellectually at the traditional beliefs that Jesus and Mohammed came to change or replace the Torah. Jesus said explicitly in Matthew 5 that he did not come to abolish the Torah. The Quran repeatly praises the Torah as a guide and a blessing for all and a covenant between God and Israel.
So what's the problem? Where did it get off track? There's a lot of history here, but the primary problem is that ugly doctrine of replacement theology instead of the true doctrine of plural covenants.
How are the scriptures of Christianity and Islam explained in this light? Briefly, it is important to understand that when the Torah was given, it was to be a covenant between God and the nation of Israel. It separated Israel from the nations of the world. The world was not told at Sinai to keep the Sabbath on the Seventh Day - Israel alone was given this commandment. The kosher laws were not given to the world, but to Israel alone. I won't take the time or space here to quote verses, but for those who wish to do so, see how many times a verse in the Torah, in Exodus through Deuteronomy, begins with "God said to Moses, speak unto the children of Israel and say to them...."
The most important part of the Christian Bible which touches on plural covenants is Acts Chapter 15. This Jerusalem Council meeting took place at least 30 years after the preachings of Jesus. Had Jesus taught that the Torah was to be abolished among the Jews, this discussion in Acts 15 as to whether the Gentiles should keep the Torah of Moses would be absurd. Not only would the Gentiles have had no obligation to the Torah of Moses, but neither would the Jewish believers in Jesus, if Jesus had come to abolish the Torah and replace it with a new covenant. Yet, here we see that James, the head of the Jerusalem Congregation writes a letter "to the brethren who are of the Gentiles" telling them, in paraphrase, "No, there is no need for you to burden yourselves with the Torah." Turning to Acts 21, we see that some subsequent confusion arose and it was rumored that Paul taught the Jews among the Gentiles not to obey the Torah. To this charge, James says that the rumor is false and to Paul, a Jew, James says, "you, yourself, live in observance of the Law. But as for the gentiles, we have sent them a letter...." These two chapters in Acts establish with certainty the plurality of covenants which existed within original authentic Christianity. Jews continued to obey the entire Torah as Jesus taught them, and Gentiles kept basic moral laws which Judaism refers to as the Noahide covenant, for all mankind. This is not my opinion alone, but can be found in a wonderful book by Orthodox Rabbi Harvey Falk entitled, "Jesus the Pharisee."
Moving to Islam, the Quran states that Jesus came as an apostle to the Jews confirming the Torah previously revealed. No replacement theology here, and true conformity with the message of the Gospels and Acts 15.
Why does the covenant of circumcision reappear, then, since the Gentiles of Christianity were told not to circumcise? This is because Islam reinstates the Abrahamic covenant for the descendants of Abraham and Keturah. It is not a call for the gentiles of the Noahide covenant to take on this obligation.
So there's a basic harmony here. Judaism is the younger of the faiths. The most ancient is the commandments given to Noah and all his descendants. Particularism began with Abraham who was commanded circumcision and who was given knowledge of the Torah laws although not being obligated to them. When the Torah was given to the Children of Israel, it did not obligate the non-Jewish nations to its 613 laws. Consider the festival of Passover which the Torah makes eternal for Jews. What sense would it make for non-Jews to celebrate Passover, the Exodus from Egypt? It is not their history, and it is not their obligation.
I hope I have presented an outline that adequately demonstrates the reality of plural covenants. But why is this important? Why is replacement theology the real enemy and the obstacle to peace? For true believers in God, we are admonished in our various scriptures to preach His truth to the world. May we be blessed to learn truth prior to preaching it! The truth for Christians has been, over the past 2000 years, that a New Covenant has replaced the Old and that Jews must convert to Christianity to be saved from hell. Thus, they believed they were doing good by the forced baptisms and choices between conversion or exile and death. The truth for Muslims has typically been that if a Jew doesn't convert to Islam, he is a detestable unbeliever.
Is there another way to look at Islam? I believe so. Islam means submission to God. While it primarily refers to a particular faith, it also has this "generic" meaning. Ultimately, the entire world will embrace submission to God, each according to our own covenants, and this is the message of all of our prophets. Let us work toward this goal.
Posted Jan 8 2005
shalom Madam Nonie,
I call you Madam because you are a hero.
I was born in 1967 in Paris, and I grew up there until age of 20. I was french girl. But not completelly because i am Jew. I always felt I mustn't disclose it, therefore I always felt i am not free to live my life. What can I say, 98% of french people actively hated jews enough to assist or not to prevent nazis to murder my people. My people is hated since always. slaves, burned, pogromised, murder by gas, fire, experimental surgeries, from arab lands to Western, Eastern Europ. Why? from Age of 20 I came to live in Israel. From here, I feel even more how the world hates us. What I want to say is that world MUST understand and I wish Muslim neighbours too, that we are acting the best we can within the bad circumstances we live as human beings. Yes we will never do to others what they do to us. We will never take a knife and enjoy the blood of a muslim. Our soldiers are suffering having to face violence. Don't you know that Israeli people love to make fun, dance, smoke grass, make barbecues better than being obliged scaring people with guns. Will the world and our neighbours understand that we are the VICTIMS, even if the weapons are in our arms, we must protect ourselves. IDF is Israel DEFENSE Army not Israel Attack Army. We want peace with our neighbours, we want them to throw their bad leaders away, we want them to risk their life for their ideas. We want them to show they are not just a scaried group of sheeps. We want them to show that Quran is a relligion of love. We want them to respect Woman, we want them to respect value of Life. We want them to stop to consider people who are not muslims as dogs. We want them to face their own problems in their own life because of THEIR LEADERS. We need them to stop teaching their children that we are murderers. We have good heart. We are not Chemical Ali to solve the conflict by killing them. Even if in other countries, it would have been the way. They are more safe among us that in many other countries and first arab countries. I want to stop being scared when I see an Arab. I want to travel to Lebanon, Siria as a Tourist. I want them to understand that we all suffer.
from Tel Aviv with love.
Posted Dec 31 2004
My congragulations to you for your bold site. I don't know many Moslems who would dare speak honestly and openly as you do. I am an Israeli Jew who travels regularly to Egypt on business. I truly feel very close to the friendly Egyptian people and have good relations with them - as long as I conceal the fact that I am Israeli. They don't like that word. They prefer to hear Palestine, so I humor them. I realized this once when I was talking with a wealthy and educated Egyptian business associate in 10 Ramadan City. We were having a congenial conversation until the word "Israel" came up in conversation. When I saw the look of rage on his reddened face, I realized I'd used the wrong word.
Unfortunately, even among my educated Egyptian friends, there is a sense of pride in the accomplishment of 9-11. Islam had finally toppled the haughtiness of the American Empire. An interesting fact I learned when staying at the Palestine Helnan Hotel in Alexandria: according to the Hotel's own descriptive brochure, the hotel was built in 1964 to house royalty from throughout the Arab lands for the Second Arab Summit. And why was it called Palestine Hotel? Because at that summit was made the decision to establish the PLO. The date of the summit? September 11, 1964. Something to think about. September 11: establishment of the terrorist group to destroy Israel - the PLO. September 11: the attempt to deliver a knockout to the USA - 9-11.
Israel has so much to offer the entire Arab world and would gladly do so just as the indigenous Jewish populations brought so much benefit to their hosting Arab lands in years gone by. I'm afraid that only the democratization of the Arab world will free the Islamic people from the bonds of their tyrannical governments so that the masses are able to benefit from a world waiting to help them prosper. Until the tyrants are gone, the Islamic masses will unfortunately continue to suffer at the hands of their very governments' self-destructive reign. The enemy is not Israel or the Jewish People. They wish with all their hearts to be your friends.
Dear Ms Darwish:
I am a Jewish woman living in South Africa. I am married and have one child and one on the way.
Lately I have felt suffocated by, and terrified of, the rising Arab-led anti-semitism around the world. Recently, however, I found out about your website Arabsforisrael.com and on it I read your article What I Learned From Jews, as well as the countless e-mails and letters from your Arab readers. I found myself exhaling with relief.
I want to thank you for your kind words as well as the other contributers to your website for their compassion. I also want to thank you, and them, for the understanding that Jews (with all our foibles and faults) want to live a peaceful life coexisting happily with all others who inhabit our Earth. Thank you for understanding that we do not want to drink the blood of other children, and that we do not want to conspire to ruin this world and make it only ours.
I fear so much for my children's future as Jews: at times I feel almost helpless in trying to prepare them for what may be ahead. Thank you, thank you for providing some light and hope.
Ms Darwish, in your opinion, will this hatred end? In our lifetime? What do you believe will happen to our world over the next few years? The next few decades?
Again I thank you and the other brave people who have contributed to your website.
Thank you for your kind words of support. I was very touched by your e-mail and I am glad I gave you a little hope in this current world environment that is turning anti-semitic. However, hope is always on the side of those who are on the right moral ground. The Jewish people are on the right moral ground and that is why I am speaking out for them. There are more and more of us speaking out. I just came back from a speaking engagement with a Jewish woman who was expelled from Libya. Her name is Gina Malaka Waldman, Co-Chair JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East & North Africa) www.jimena-justice.org
The good and moral Arabs and Muslims are have to make the right change in their culture and value system to bring out more of the compassion in Islam and end the hate speech and violence. the world is hungry to see the compassionate side of Islam and the good Muslims have to bring theat out. Of course there is hope for your children. The truth is that being Jewish is a blessing. Please tell that to your children, coming from an Arab American woman of Muslim background. Nature always makes the right side win, this is the order of things and the balance of nature.
Hi, my name is Mike Kaplunov. I'm Jewish, originally from Russia, but now live in Los Angeles. I found your site a while ago, and I was impressed by what you are doing. You are a light at the end of the tonel. If there were more people like you, not only Arabs or Jews, but all over the world, a world would be a better place. I always thoght that Israel-Palestinian conflict was a biggest mistake in the history of both nations. Instead of learning from each other, and perhapse building a state together (which in my opinion would be the best solution), to great nations are trying to cut each other's throat. And the leaders are making tons of money on the lives of inocent people. And what saddens me most, there won't be piece in that region, until people on both sides see what their leaders are doing to them. But before that we need to learn form each other, open our hands and hearts to each other and say "WELCOME HOME CUSIN". If we do that, we can show the world the way to live. And, maybe there will be less hatred, and wars in the world. We have more in common, then we care to admit. And we can live together and benefit, and learn from each other. Thank you one more time for what you are doing.
P.S. Feel free to publish my e-mail on your site under my name.
Growing up Jewish in Alexandria, Egypt
By Jacques Hakim
It was an interesting experience growing up Jewish in Alexandria in the 1940's; the decade that witnessed the end of WWII as well as the Israeli war of Independence.
My father recalls how close the German army got to the city, before being pushed back by the British at El-Alamein. He told me that, although many locals were preparing to welcome the germans with open arms, banners and decorations, our moslem neighbours were concerned about our safety and well being. Although they distrusted the British, they feared the Nazis much more. Once the war was over, the very diverse population of Alexandria felt a big sigh of relief. My father had picked up the ability to converse in 7 languages, just from having very diverse groups of France: They were arabic, greek, italian, french, english, spanish and even armenian!
I attended both a jewish (le Petit Lycee at Sporting) as well as a catholic elementary school (St Vincent de Paul, uptown) and we played ball, in the street with our local neighbours children, almost everyday; they were Moslems, Christians and Jews. Our best experiences occurred during religious holidays: We would all partake in the festivities with whoever was celebrating.Fabulous christmas goodies, succulent Ramadan pastries (all night) and great jewish sweets around Pourim and Hannukah. There are forever rooted in my memory.
Unfortunately, by the end of the decade, the Israeli war of independence gave those fanatics who didn't like the life of diversity and coexistence, and excuse to promote violence and intimidation. Our Moslem friends were pressed between allegiance to Islam or to the infidels. But we were kids, and as such we continued our games in the street by daylight with all the children, but then we would barricade ourselves in our appartments at night on the advice of our very concerned moslem neighbours.
The revolution of the early fifties , which brought down the corrupt government of King Farouk, brought a very short lived glimmer of hope in town: Nasser had promised radical social, economic, religious as well as political reforms that were bound to improve the quality of life in our city. However the upsurge of nationalism, promoted by the "Islamic Brotherhood", and Nasser's unexpected level of popularity led him to a tragic confrontation with England and France over the Suez Canal, and Israel over the constant "Fedayeen attacks" over the border. This resulted in the political expulsion of most Jews and other foreigners from Egypt and the installation of a police state in 1956. We were given 30 days to (be on a boat out of the country) leave; we didn't want to figure out the alternative.
My whole list of family, friends, business people, store owners, neighbours, teachers and even some cops and soldiers, they all cried! Nobody wanted to see anybody leave; we didn't want to leave, but we all had to face reality. We left Alexandria on Dec 29th, 1956.
Had we not been forced out, I am sure we would all still be enjoying the beautiful beaches of Alexandria, right now in the summer of 2004!
WE SIMPLY LOVE MOISE RAHMANI; AN EGYPTIAN JEW WHO WAS FORCED WITH HIS FAMILY TO LEAVE EGYPT. HE STILL LOVES THE EGYPT HE LEFT AS A CHILD. HE STILL SPEAKS ARABIC AND HAS MANY ARABIC EXPRESSIONS IN HIS WRITING. WHAT A LOSS TO EGYPT TO HAVE GREAT CITIZENS LIKE THAT FORCED OUT. I AM IN AWE OF HIS WRITING. MY DEAR MOISE, I SALUTE YOU AND ALL THE EGYPTIAN JEWS WHO WERE FORCED OUT OF EGYPT, YOU HAVE MY UTMOST RESPECT. PLEASE READ THE BEAUTY OF HIS HEART:
6/6/2004 Texte Ã traduire par Suzy Vidal du franÃ§ais en anglais pour MoÃ¯se Rahmani
EgyptIn the days when a pound was a pound and a man was a man
By moise rahmani
I am homesick for that Egypt where it was so good to live when I was just a boy.
I am homesick for that Egypt of my childhood â€“ I was born in 1944 â€“where Jewish life was in full swing, where relations among people in the streets seemed, at least to my young eyes, friendly and brotherly, where - as my regretted father used to say: "a pound was a pound and a man a man."My memories of Egypt? First and foremost the different noises. The call of the muezzin at the Mosque in front of us (there is always one in front) inviting the faithful to prayer; the calls of the ragman, robabekia robabekia, old things, old things; the cries of the different vendors, tinkers, knife grinders; deafening squealing of cars and taxis playing with their horn as to who would be the loudest; screeching of tram rails in sparkling fireworks; exchange of news by neighbourly housewives from one window to another; howling of children playing kora, ball, in the streets and inside the building courtyards. Then the smells, intoxicating smell s of fruits in season: mangoes, oranges, figs, apples, goafas, goyavas, and eshtas, corrosolsâ€¦ What to say of dates: the red ones, slightly sour, the yellow and black ones, melting, trickling, syrupy, like honey. Scarlet pomegranates bursting with sweetness. Batikh, watermelons savoured cool with white salty cheese. And juices. Oh juices! Liquorice juice! I still hear the agitated tingling of the â€œeer e soussâ€ vendor, striking his white iron goblet against the copper of the recipient tied to his waist. Thick mango juice, cane sugar juice savoured warm, coming freshly out of the press. And the light: slightly crude, slightly troubled, and slightly white! The sunrays hit strongly. Because of the heat, the buildings, the cars, the people danced in the distance. Mirages repeated endlesslyâ€¦ I am homesick for the synagogues. We followed the services at the oratory known as Abraham Btesh in Heliopolis. I remember its inner courtyard during the Roch Hashana feast. Discussions were lively. After the service, with boisterous congratulations for "kol sana wenta tayeb", exchange of greetings for a good year, we would go to the cafÃ©. Adults took a zibib. They poured a few drops in our saucers that we relished hoping to grow up quickly to sip in turn this delightful drink. The children rejoiced with their Spathis or a Pepsi. Mezes, assorted appetisers, covered the table, the aperitif transforming itself into a pantagruelian meal. In the morning at around ten, in an unchanging ritual, we - my dad and I, my tiny hand held closely in his strong hand full of tenderness, directed our steps to Mansourah's to eat our Sunday foul between men. What to say of that foul! With hard-boiled eggs and salad, and more than abundant torchi, pickles. My dad ordered a beer and allowed me to dip my lips in that drink reserved for adults. We proceeded with some ta'ameya and a few baklava and konafa. Then we bought the Paris weeklies for my parents: Ici Paris, France-Dimanche, Confidences. Oh! what would I not give to re-live only one of those Sundays. 1948. Life topples. I remember the black- out and the deafening sirens. Heavy blue curtains covered our windows and lights in the event of an air raid. What ill luck if one luminous ray filtered into the night: Tafi el nour, yahudi, ibn kalb, Turn off the light, Jew, son of a dog. In April 1956 a last stop at Mansourah's en route to Almaza, the Cairo airport, a take off and a landing every three minutes, my mother teaches me, night has fallen long ago, it is 9 p.m. We buy a foul sandwich, another of ta'ameya. My mother tells me with a catch in her voice, her eyes pearled with unshed tears : â€œ Take Moisico, we don't know when we'll be able to taste them again.â€ Our plane takes off for the Congo, towards a new life. Compared to our family, our friends who remain, we can consider ourselves lucky. They in turn will be thrown out of Egypt after the Suez War. But there remains a permanent, a wide-open wound that will never totally heal 2000. The synagogues are deserted. Mansourah now lives in Brooklyn, his cooking has conquered Americans. Cairo has grown from two to almost fifteen million inhabitants. Jewish memory lingers on, here and there, with some old people. Haret el Yehud no longer lives. Of these five oratories, only that of Beth MoshÃ©, the house of Rambam, has been waiting for a hypothetical restoration for a long number of years. The Jews of Egypt, a handful, are agonising. A pound is no longer a pound; a man is no longer a man. Today's Egypt has wrenched out my memory, our memory.It only survives among the very few melancholic, invincible people.
Egypt, I am homesick for you. For you : the Egypt of my childhood, the one of happiness.
I am homesick for the time when a pound was a pound and a man a man.
Au temps oÃ¹ une livre Ã©tait une livre et un homme Ã©tait un homme
J'ai la nostalgie de l'Egypte oÃ¹ il faisait si bon vivre lorsque j'Ã©tais garÃ§onnet. J'ai la nostalgie de cette Egypte de mon enfance - je suis nÃ© en 1944 - oÃ¹ la vie juive battait son plein, oÃ¹ les relations entre gens de la rue semblaient, Ã mes yeux de bambin, cordiales et fraternelles oÃ¹, comme le disait mon regrettÃ© pÃ¨re Â« une livre Ã©tait une livre et un homme Ã©tait un homme Â».
Mes souvenirs d'Egypte ?
D'abord les bruits. Incantations du muezzin de la mosquÃ©e d'en face (il y a toujours une mosquÃ©e en face !) convoquant Ã la priÃ¨re, appels du chiffonnier : robabekia, robabekia , vieilleries, vieilleries, cris des divers vendeurs, rÃ©tameurs, aiguiseurs de couteaux, glapissements assourdissants des voitures et taxis jouant de leur klaxon au plus fort sonnant, crissements des rails du tram dans une envolÃ©e d'Ã©tincelles, confidences de mÃ©nagÃ¨res lancÃ©es par les fenÃªtres, hurlements des enfants jouant Ã la kora, Ã la balle dans les rues et dans les cours des immeubles. Ensuite les odeurs. Odeurs enivrantes des fruits saisonniers : mangues, oranges, figues, pommes, goafas, goyaves et eshtas, corossolsâ€¦ les dattes, les rouges, un peu sures, les jaunes et les noires, fondantes, dÃ©goulinantes, sirupeuses comme le miel, les grenades Ã©carlates, Ã©clatantes de douceur, du batikh, la pastÃ¨que dÃ©gustÃ©e fraÃ®che avec du fromage blanc salÃ©. Et des jus. Ah les jus ! Jus de rÃ©glisse ! jâ€™entends les tintements agitÃ©s du vendeur du Â« eer e souss Â» heurtant son gobelet de fer blanc sur le cuivre du rÃ©cipient attachÃ© Ã la taille, jus Ã©pais de mangue, jus de canne Ã sucre dÃ©gustÃ© encore chaud, coulant du pressoir. Et la lumiÃ¨re. Un peu crue, un peu trouble, un peu blanche !â€¦ le soleil cogne fort. A cause de la chaleur, les immeubles, les voitures, les gens dansent au loin. Mirages sans cesse rÃ©pÃ©tÃ©s... J'ai la nostalgie des synagogues. Nous frÃ©quentions la nommÃ©e Abraham Betesh d'HÃ©liopolis. Je me souviens de sa cour intÃ©rieure durant les fÃªtes de Roch Hachana. Les discussions allaient bon train. AprÃ¨s l'office, Ã grandes congratulations de Â« Kol sana wenta tayeb Â», l'Ã©change des voeux de bonne annÃ©e, nous allions au cafÃ©. Les adultes prenaient un zibib, ils nous en versaient quelques gouttes sur la soucoupe que nous dÃ©gustions, souhaitant grandir vite pour siroter Ã notre tour ce breuvage dÃ©licieux. Les enfants se rÃ©jouissaient dâ€™une Spathis ou un dâ€™un Pepsi. Les mÃ©zÃ©s couvraient la table, l'apÃ©ritif sâ€™abandonnait en un repas pantagruÃ©lique. Le matin vers dix heures, dans un rituel immuable, nous nous rendions, Papa et moi, ma menotte enserrÃ©e dans sa forte main toute de tendresse, chez Mansourah, pour manger notre foul dominical, entre hommes. Mais quel foul ! Avec des oeufs durs et de la salade. Et des torchis comme s'il en pleuvait. Papa commandait une biÃ¨re et m'autorisait Ã tremper les lÃ¨vres dans cette boisson de grande personne. Nous continuions avec un peu de taâ€™ameya et quelques baklava et konafa. Ensuite nous achetions les hebdomadaires parisiens de mes parents : Ici-Paris, France-Dimanche, Confidences. Ah ! que ne donnerais-je pour revivre un seul de ces dimanchesâ€¦
1948. La vie bascule. Je me souviens du black-out et des sirÃ¨nes assourdissantes. Dâ€™Ã©paisses d'Ã©paisses tentures bleues couvraient les fenÃªtres et les lumiÃ¨res en cas d'alerte. Malheur si un rayon lumineux trouait la nuit : tafi el nour, yahudi, ibn kalb, Ã©teins la lumiÃ¨re, Juif, fils de chien ! Avril 1956 : une derniÃ¨re halte chez Mansourah en chemin pour Almaza, l'aÃ©roport du Caire, un dÃ©collage et un atterrissage toutes les trois minutes, mâ€™enseigne Maman. Le soir est tombÃ© depuis longtemps, il est vingt et une heures. Nous achetons un sandwich de foul, un autre de taâ€™ameya. Maman me dit d'une voix sourde, les yeux perlÃ©s : Â« Prends MoÃ¯sicco, nous ne savons pas quand nous pourrons en remanger encore Â». Notre avion dÃ©colle vers minuit pour le Congo, vers une nouvelle vie. Nous avons de la chance par rapport Ã notre famille, Ã nos amis qui restent: ils seront jetÃ©s hors dâ€™Egypte aprÃ¨s Suez. Mais il reste une dÃ©chirure dÃ©finitive, une plaie bÃ©ante qui ne cicatrisera jamais entiÃ¨rement. 2000. Les synagogues sont dÃ©sertes. Mansourah vit Ã Brooklyn : sa cuisine a conquis les AmÃ©ricains. Le Caire est passÃ© de deux millions d'habitants Ã prÃ¨s de quinze millions. La mÃ©moire juive subsiste chez quelques vieux, de ci, de lÃ . Le Haret el Yahud ne vit plus. De ces cinq oratoires, seul celui de Beth MoshÃ©, la maison du Rambam, attend d'Ãªtre restaurÃ© depuis des annÃ©es. Les Juifs d'Egypte, une poignÃ©e, agonisent. Une livre n'est plus une livre, un homme n'est plus un homme, l'Egypte d'aujourd'hui a extirpÃ© ma mÃ©moire, notre mÃ©moire. Elle ne subsiste que chez quelques irrÃ©ductibles mÃ©lancoliques.
Egypte, j'ai ta nostalgie. Celle de mon enfance et celle du bonheur. Celle du temps oÃ¹ une livre Ã©tait une livre et un homme Ã©tait un homme.
Wed, 02 Jun 2004 18:49:24 +0200 From: Moise Rahmani
But enough memory, it doesn't serve.
Awlad el Nil, Nonie, means Hassan, Morcos we Cohen (the title of a very old film): Muslims, Christians, Jews who made the country, who were the country.
Another E-MAIL from Australia:
AM A JEW AND A ZIONIST, I AM 76 YEAR OF AGE AND A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR, WE ALWAYS LONGED FOR PALESTINE TO BE AN ISRAELY HOME LAND, AS A YOUNGSTER I REMEMBER WE WERE TOLD YOU "JEW " (WITH A FEW ASSOCIATED COMMENTS) GO TO PALESTINE,) SO WE ALWAYS LONGED FOR OUR HOMELAND, IN MEANTIME PALESTINE WAS ALSO POPULATED BY ARABS, AND THIS FACT HAS TO BE RECOGNISED. i JUST RETURNED FROM A VISIT TO ISRAEL, (by the way my wife was born in Egypt, and after 1948 they were not realy welcomed there, after1956 they were virualy forced fro Egypt, which was home for them for 4 generations) ISRAEL IS FLOURISHING, ECCONOMICALLY AND A LEADER IN HIGH TECH. YES I, LIKE YOURSELF BELIEVE THAT ITS NEIGHBOURS COULD BENEFIT FROM IT. (AFTER ALL, THE ISRAELI ARABS HAVE A HIGHER STANDARD OF LIVING, THAN MANY OF ITS NEIGHBOURS,(NOT TALKING ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP) GOLDA MYERS SAID " THRE WILL NOT BE PEACE TILL THEY THE ARABS LEARN TO LOVE THEIR CHILDREN MORE, THAN THEY HATE US" WHY SUCRIFICE SO MANY BEUTIFULL YOUNG LIVES, "MARTYRS" LET US WORK FOR PEACE. an Optimist IN AUSTRALIA
I was a jewish teenager in Egypt during the Nasser Revolution in Egypt in the early 1950's. Even though it was after the Israeli War of independence, I thought that Nasser, who rallied so many moslem youths from Morroco to Indonesia, and actually linked 2 influential moslem countries, namely Egypt and Syria into one entity the UAR, would have been the perfect executor of social/politcal and even religious reform that would extend to the whole Islamic World. Unfortunately, he fell into the same deadend that seems to affect all moslem leadership over the centuries: Rule by ignorance and repression! What a missed opportunity !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I compliment you on taking courageous steps toward instilling a sense of self pride and motivation into moslem society, and I know the risks you took to do this project. I certainly admire you, although I don't envy your position. Having said that, I am convinced that NOT until another "Nasser" springs onto the world scene, with full grass-root support, can anybody expect to see real change in the Moslem world.
This is the same situation as the one sparked 2 weeks ago when Bill Cosby made some tough remaks with regards to the emancipation of Blacks in the USA. He is Black, he is Admired for his achievements, he is independently wealthy, and he succeeded by working with the system: Many balked at his openness, but everybody heard him!!