CAN IT BE?
Be still my heart. The same New York Times that seems to be unable to differentiate between reporting and vilifying when it comes to Israel, recently ran a story about Arabs in Haifa enjoying freedoms that Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East dare not even dream about?
Haifa’s 30,000 Arabs comprise roughly 10 percent of the population. They include equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. Haifa’s Arab population tends to be better educated and wealthier than Arabs elsewhere in Israel. How is this possible? Either Haifa’s Jews are far more benevolent towards the Arab population in that city or perhaps Haifa’s Arabs have a different focus in life than do Arabs, both Christians and Moslems living elsewhere in the Jewish state. Can it be that Haifa’s Arabs focus in on improving their own lives instead of making life miserable for Haifa’s Jews? Can it be that Haifa’s Jews, no different than Tel Aviv’s Jews or Jerusalem’s Jews generally adopt an attitude of B’Vakasha (in this case, rather than meaning please or thank you, B’Vakasha can be translated as gezunterheit) towards Arabs who mean them no harm?
“If you live in an Arab neighborhood you have a community. If you live in a Jewish neighborhood, you are a stranger and that gives you freedom as an Arab woman…I couldn’t do this anywhere else,” explained Fidaa Hammoud, who moved to Haifa four years ago and lives with her partner in a Jewish neighborhood, where they run a Palestinian Café called Rai.
Can it be that it’s more than mere lip service when Israel proudly proclaims that it is the only democracy in the Middle East? Can it be that by democracy, Israel says that its government, aside from being elected by free elections, stays out of peoples’ bedrooms and unlike its Arab neighbors, neither flogs nor stones in the name of Allah those living a lifestyle that doesn’t conform with Judaism?
A number of Arab-owned businesses opened on Sdeirot Ben Gurion (Ben Gurion Boulevard, Haifa’s main thoroughfare at the foot of Mount Carmel) in the last decade and a half, with signs in Arabic, English and occasionally Hebrew welcoming all. Doesn’t it strike anyone as strange that there are virtually no complaints by either the owners of these establishments or by the Arabs who frequent these establishments of interminable waits at security checkpoints manned by Israeli military? Can it be that no such checkpoints going in and out of Haifa exist, because Arabs of Haifa have always had a live and let live attitude and have yet to have their souls infected and minds poisoned by mass murder organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas? Can it be that security checkpoints anywhere in the country would come down, once Arabs lay down their knives, guns, ammunition as well as all other instruments of mayhem and murder?
As one who advocates that the great “humanitarians” of Europe and this country along with the sanctimonious ethic-ists of the western world who are full of BDS, visit Gaza and the West Bank before they further putrefy the earth with their slander and character assassination of Israel, I will gladly suggest that they pay a visit to Haifa instead. Can it be that those self-appointed “guardians of humanity” would rather focus on Arabs with chip on their shoulder rather than on Arabs who stand head and shoulder above their counterparts, because they are leading productive and successful lives in a free and democratic Jewish State?