Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I did this Weekend, Part IV

Before I even got to the house I was introduced to our host, a smiling man in his 30's holding a toddler. He welcomed us to his house. I thanked him for having us and gave him the ruggelach, assuring him that they were from a good bakery (they were—I bought a few others to sample and the quality was indeed very, very high). I thought to myself: okay, he is smiling, and saying "welcome" but is he really adding in his head "…you evil Zionist bitch"? I decided that I would be better served by not thinking at this point.

Accordingly, I stopped thinking and I walked into the house. I found myself in a sitting room with couches and chairs forming a circle around the room. X sat down; I sat down next to her. There were…20 people? About a third were Israeli; the rest were Palestinian. Based on what I had heard about these Israeli-Palestinian "meet and greets", I expected to see at least a few foreigners there to help us play nicely. There were none.

Right then. Introductions were passed around. The lady of the house joined us, along with three other children. She thanked me for the rugellach. I thanked her for having me. I decided to quit while I was ahead and say nothing else the rest of the evening—that way I could not offend anyone. Gadi had other plans.

"Tell them your story".

People looked at me. I told my story. X translated my words into Arabic.

I told about the bombing. I told about my injuries. I told about President Katzav's visit and my inadvertent joke. I told them that I was minding my own business, buying rugellach. X asked me "and what type of cookies did you bring today"?

"Oh no…rugellach. But from a different bakery." She translated that as well. People laughed.

At the end, people were quiet. The lady of the house spoke.

"We are sorry about what happened to you".

No excuses. No pissing contests. No justifications.

We. Are. Sorry.


Baila said...

Three words. Was it enough?

Anonymous said...

Unlike the ones in a wheelchair, lost limbs, blindness you can still do whatever you want.
You do not have to rely on the kindness of people to help nor a social check of the government.
You buy Rugelach at an expensive bakery and give it to peple who would have a far better goal for such an amount of money.
For them to make the step telling you these three words is more than enough.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Maus - what are you saying. That Gila is better off than her hosts? That people more severely injured in terrorist attacks need more than three words? What's your point?

Anonymous said...

maus, I don't know you, but I reckon you're out of order

Anonymous said...

In fact, Maus, I will expand.
I know plenty of people who are in wheelchairs, or on crutches, or legally blind, and who not only work but make more than me, and also build up normal happy families, and take active parts in sport events.
That's because I volunteer at Etgarim, the organisation for sport for "handicapped" people in Israel. What about you?
By the way, your last line contradicts all the rest you said, so I'm not going to get involved with you.

Anonymous said...

No wonder those right wing politicians all fail, being social I will give you a hint for a better understanding.
If you do have a problem with one of the above words your local community will be able to help with appropriate schooling.

Have been wondering for some time how to vision a "legally" blind person.

Ahuva said...

kleine Maus, you could also try clarifying your comments so that people actually understand what you're saying. I didn't get your point either.

Legally blind means that the person has some sight, but not enough to function normally in the world. A legally blind person can't drive, can't read the signs at shops, etc. A legally blind person might be able to read a restaurant menu if it's pressed right up to her nose.. well, maybe the menu could be as much as a quarter inch from her face. You can still see shapes and colors and walk around without bumping into things-- as long as there is enough color contrast between, say, the couch and the wall so you can see it that there is a big fuzzy object there that must be the couch.

(I am legally blind without my contacts. My type is correctable, but not all of them are.)

I had to take my contacts out once at a restaurant and couldn't see where my salad ended and the plate began (or where the plate ended and the table began, for that matter!) It was really funny trying to finish my meal.

Anonymous said...

Tear down the wall which you yourself have erected to block out opinions like mine.

Ahuva said...

kleine maus, forgive me but in order to have effective communication, the recipient must be able to understand the communicator.

I have no way of either accepting or rejecting what you are saying, because I honestly have no idea what you are trying to say. From some of the other comments, I don't think I'm alone on that point.

"Tear down the wall which you yourself have erected to block out opinions like mine." adds nothing to the discussion because I honestly don't know what your opinion is.

Please share your opinion in a way in which it can be understood, if you like. Otherwise, I'll assume your comments are no different from those who post in Russian or any other language I don't understand-- that is, treat them as words not intended for me.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Ahuva, copy my writing, go on the street and show it to a passing 10 year old kid.
He/she will tell what is meant.

Ahuva said...

KM, Thank you for clarifying that are more interested in insulting people than starting up a dialogue. I'll stop bothering with your comments.

I find it interesting that Eric and Anon seem to be assuming that these people are "playing a role." Why are you assuming that only their violence is sincere? I've worked with a few Palestinians (living in America) over the years and they were sincerely interested in peace. How can things ever change if we assume that every last one of them hates us and don't believe them when they try to participate in a dialogue.

Anonymous said...

"I've worked with a few Palestinians (living in America) over the years and they were sincerely interested in peace."

The difference was that they and you were in America. That seems to be one of the ways people are "rehabilitated". The Palestinians were outside of the situation when you met them.

But this is a case where they are for the lack of a better term "in their native habitat".

In this case it is all about whatever propaganda gains can be achieved.

"How can things ever change..."

They will change slowly but in this case most all the change has to come from their end of it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Gila said...

Couple responses to the responses:

Baila--yeah--hard to explain, but yes. Don't get me wrong--it does not mean that I now think that all Palestinians love us and just want to be friends, but was nice to hear.

Kleine--regarding your various comments
1) Your English and your points are not always clear. Please be aware of this, and stop insinuating that the other commenters do not know how to read and write. Remember--when you are writing, it is your job to know your audience and to tailor your presentation to the abilities of said audience. As such, if you fail, it is your problem--and not your audience's! I realize that this can be frustrating; I find myself similarly limited in Hebrew (not my native tongue). Nonetheless, please be polite.

2) You take issue with the fact that I brought a nice present for my hostess (as opposed to some cheap crap), to show my appreciation for her hospitality. Whenever I am invited somewhere, I do so--it is considered good manners in the culture I was raised in and I checked with the organizer to make sure that this is not be considered bad manners in Palestinian/Arab culture. (Certain of the commenters know me in real life, and can attest both the cultural points and to my adherance to said culture). Why does this bother you? It does bear pointing out that showing up and handing them the money would have been seen as extremely rude by standards of my culture. I cannot speak for Palestinian cultural standards, but I suspect that this would not go over particularly well.

3) Because I was fortunate enough to recover...I have no right to an apology? Because I recovered, than it as if nothing happened? What is your point? Or rather, what reaction do you think I should have? If you were in my shoes, and you were invited to the same dinner--what would you have done differently?

Asher--a friend of mine participates in Etgarim activities and recruited me for the recent fundraising bike ride!

Ahuva--shame I was not there at the restaurant--could have had fun with that one. :p

To the Eric/Annonymous (who I suspect of being one and the same)...I deleted your comments because they were not really adding to the discourse.

Anonymous said...

"Or rather, what reaction do you think I should have? If you were in my shoes, and you were invited to the same dinner--what would you have done differently?"

I would have REFUSED to go. I wouldn't have allowed my injury to be used politically in the behalf of those who injured me in the first place.

I would have not sat down and broke bread with my People's enemies.

Especially as I would know that going to that dinner could cost me my life. And if I had such an injury I would know that it "doesn't always happen to the other person".

Anonymous said...

If someone on this blog does have trouble with my English it is not my problem at all, we rurals always grab the bull at the horns, nor do I intend to waste time to explain what is clear enough.

G'd day, and do not fall in the water!

RivkA with a capital A said...

I am glad that you were in a group that did not try to justify the actions of the suicide bomber.

Dialogue with Arabs, that acknowledges Jewish pain and suffering, are rare and exceptional. I would also be interested in meeting Arabs with whom we can be open about what members of their community are doing to hurt/harm us.

As it is impossible to know which Arabs are sincere and which are insincere, I choose to assume that all people, including Arabs, are sincere, until proven otherwise.

I would not entrust my security to Arabs, but I would also not second guess all their words.

Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, knows that I am unabashadly on the right. But, as I told my children just today, there are all kinds of Arabs. Even if most Arabs hate us, not all Arabs want to kill us.

orieyenta said...

I'm a little late in commenting on this but wanted to say thanks for posting this.

Your host showed that there is at least one Palestinian in the world who is not a Jew hating terrorist. Do I think that means we should run out and trust all of them? No way...but I think it reminds us that sometimes we need to re-evaluate our pre-conceived notions of people.

tafka PP said...


Dialogue with Arabs, that acknowledges Jewish pain and suffering, are rare and exceptional.

Funny, I engage in it every day... I wouldn't call it rare or exceptional. It is, however, kept under wraps, as it isn't the overall face they want to present necessarily.

And you'd be surprised how many "Arabs" (Palestinians, at least) neither hate nor want to kill us...

Well done, Gila. Can't have been easy.