Politics is a favourite topic of conversation here in Israel. Because of the nature of what I do, the inevitable question after “what does your organization work in?” is “what do you think of the Israeli-Palestinian situation?” At first I was excited to talk about this and to hear another perspective. Then, I got sick of it…
That is why, whenever my taxi driver starts inevitably chattering about the Palestinians and the Arab threat, I shut up and nod. Sometimes I say “I’m engaged/dating/married to an Arab” and they stop, sometimes I don’t have the energy to say anything. Up until yesterday, I had only had Israeli-Jewish taxi drivers who had an……… unpleasant take on the situation.
But yesterday I was heartened by my Israeli-Arab taxi driver. Born and raised in Jaffa, he asked me if I was Jewish. I said “eh… um…” because I’m not really (my mother’s father is Jewish, meaning I technically am not, but my mother strongly identifies as Jewish) and I didn’t know how to answer. He quickly looked and me and said “if you are, no problem! My cousin in Montreal is married to a Jewish woman from here and my brother is also married to a Jewish woman! We all live here together!” I explained what I meant and he reiterated that everyone lived together. I smiled the rest of the day.
And that evening I went to the Bat Mitzvah celebration of my boss’s oldest grand-daughter. A wonderful end to a lovely day.