What is the Potential of an Israeli-Arab Child?

Little one looks at me, clutching her mother’s hand.

She knows I don’t belong in her village.

Arab girl

Does she know I am a Jew?

I don’t know.

Something in my clothes or possibly the way I was standing declares to her that I do not belong.

She doesn’t know if this is good, bad or indifferent.Her family knows I am a Jew. They say nothing. It wouldn’t be polite. Obviously, someone had invited me, there is no way that I would be at the wedding by accident. I wasn’t bothering them so it was not necessary to acknowledge me.

Her family knows I am a Jew. They say nothing. It wouldn’t be polite. Obviously, someone had invited me, there is no way that I would be at the wedding by accident. I wasn’t bothering them so it was not necessary to acknowledge me.

Little one stared. She couldn’t help herself and no one told her not to.

Hesitation in her eyes it seems she is considering, “Is this lady nice? Can we be friends?” I smiled at her and her smile grew in return. Not a full smile but a half smile, as if hoping but unsure.

When she grows older, will she learn to hate me?

Will her parents teach her to be a proud Israeli-Arab-Muslim?
Or will they teach her that she is a victim ‘Palestinian’? That she can only attain pride when the Jews are gone?

The eyes of this little one speak of potential. I look at her and see both the possibility of greatness and, the flip-side, the potential for nothingness, stagnation, anger and hate.

It all depends on what she is taught.

You have to be taught to hate. Preferably before you are six, or seven or eight.
It doesn’t come naturally, you have to be carefully taught.

“What do you want to be little one? A doctor? A lawyer? A scientist? An artist? You can be anything you want, if you work hard enough and take advantage of the opportunities this country, your country, Israel offers you.”

“Freedom and opportunity are yours by right of birth in this unique land. Grasp it and use it! It is your choice, what do you want? To grow or to stagnate? To achieve or complain? Walk in gratitude or anger? Do you realize that you are blessed beyond the wildest dreams of anyone in our neighboring countries and most places around the world?”

“And your neighbors? We can live side by side, little one.  Maybe, one day, I can come celebrate your wedding too.”

That is the truth, but is that what she will be taught? I don’t know. What I know is that those who choose what to teach this little one shape not only her future but mine as well.


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