Editor’s Wrap: Complications
Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabsits all so complicated. Actually, complicated might be a compliment. It beats the stereotypes that tend to stifle discussion. Take two common constructs: right-wing religious Israeli settlers in the West Bank and radicalized Israeli Arabs. While such images may be based on parts of the truth, they are by no means the entire story.
Two articles in Hadassah Magazine’s Web edition for March add texture to the respective stories. Shoshana London Sappir visits Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli Arab city that has made news in recent years for clashes between local demonstrators and Israeli police and the jailing of its former mayor for fund-raising on behalf of Hamas. Sappir went not to talk politics per se but to see the city’s first modern art gallery, one that showcases the works of Jewish and Palestinian artists and whose director sees part of his mission as breaking down barriers through art.
Joshua Mitnick, meanwhile, visits the Ariel University Center of Samaria, an 11,000-student campus in one of the largest Israeli cities in the West Bank. The city of Ariel is largely secular and most students at the college commute daily from within Israel’s 1967 border; Tel Aviv is just 30 minutes away.
A peace accord could bring major change to Umm al-Fahm and Ariel, but in the absence of peace, life goes on. The sound bytes about each place may fit neatly into a headline, or into a preconception, but the way the residents of each place make sense of what isand what might bemakes more sense. Even if it’s complicated. — Alan M. Tigay