Saadia

Today I was poking around on Flickr looking at pictures of Yemenis and to my great surprise I found the following picture. It was taken by Eric Lafforgue, www.ericlafforgue.com

This is Said Bin Isra’il Hala, or Saadia ben Yisrael Hala, and it is he who I stayed with when I visited Raida, the last surviving Jewish community in Yemen. He helped us get travel permits to the village, invited me and my two compadres into his home for Shabbat, we spent the weekend with him and his family and I will never forget his kindness and hospitality.

Since that trip, I’ve become mildly obsessed with Yemenite Jewry, and more specifically the silverwork trade they were known for.

These are the emails I sent home after returning from the village.

October 9 2007. Ramadan in Sana’a.

First of all I apologize for the group email. but this was cool:

So for the past three weeks my friends JB and Ezra and I have been playing human ping pong ball and bouncing to the interior ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Tourist Ministry, the American embassy, and various other bureaucracies in an an effort to get a travel permit outside Sana’a to a village in the north called Raida. In Raida is the last surviving Jewish community left in Yemen, about 400 people. It’s also one of the last surviving Jewish communities left in the Middle East, period. Basically its a bit of an anomaly. So finally after being passed off probably a dozen times to various ministries packed with bureaucrats grumpy from not eating all day, we found one guy at the tourist ministry who told us if we knew someone in the village who could drive us there and vouch for us, we could get permits. Ezra called his contact in the Jewish community here (there’re 7 families who used to live in a village called Sa’ada but were moved to Sana’a because there was a threat against them which the government took seriously enough to put them up in a nice hotel across from the American embassy indefinitely) and the guy said he would call the next day and we’d go and meet him. Ezra and JB pulled me out of class and we went to meet him at the hotel.

We walk in the lobby of this small hotel, and every chair in the place has a bona fide Yemenite Jew, complete with long thoub, kuffiya, and long tightly curled paot. All in all like 12 guys, the first Jews I’ve seen (other than JB and Ezra) for a long time. We went with Ezra’s friend Said (Saadia) and another guy, Faiz, both from Raida, to the ministry, got the permits, and then they were like ‘we’re going to get some food.” so we went with them and got some fish (easy way to get out of eating non-kosher meat) and then we were driving around Sana’a. i figured they’re taking us back to our place, and then suddenly we’re in the outskirts of the city, full of industrial buildings and car chop shops, and I said ‘um, guys? where are we going?”

“Raida.”

oh shit. We only have the clothes on us, no toiletries, Ezra’s wearing barely more than his pyjamas, and we’re planning on staying a week.

Whatever.

So we get to his house in Raida after an hour and half, and this gaggle of paot-sporting kids greets us at the door, none older than 6. For the rest of the night guys came in, we ate food and chewed gat, all the while speaking an odd mix of mostly Hebrew and Arabic. None of them spoke English, and they didn’t ever learn classical Arabic so they only spoke the dialect, but they all spoke very decent Hebrew, so Ezra and I would talk to them in Hebrew and when we came to a word we didnt know we’d switch to Arabic.

Sometimes we’d conjugate Hebrew verbs like Arabic ones, or use only Arabic prepositions. Basically it was a linguistic adventure. Unfortunately JB doesn’t know Hebrew and scrapes by in classical Arabic. He had a tough time. One thing I found so odd was that they referred to the local Muslim population as goyim, which I guess makes sense but, growing up in the Christian world, only ever meant Christians to me. We went to a bunch of Jewish houses, and met about 20 or so families left there. We saw the synagogue, and the school, which was a trip. There were a dozen kids singing the Torah parsha for the week, with their paot swinging back and forth. It was a time capsule of Jewish learning in the Middle East for a thousand years or more.

The village is a crossroads and houses on a hill, all with the ubiquitous rebar extending from the roofs denoting the possibility of a second floor at some later date. The men here sit under the shade of buses or awnings, squatting and talking and thats about it. If it were not Ramadan they would be chewing gat. I will never cease to be shocked by the amount of time the average Yemeni can spend doing nothing but sit and chew a baseball size ball of pulped gat for hours upon hours. The non-Jewish men here all wear folding-stock Kalishnikovs over their shoulders like a fashion accessory.

The wind blows colored plastic bags out of the town and into the fields, where it forms a colorful mosaic caught on branches, a noxious wildflower field.

All the Jewish guys ride around on motorcycles, paot swinging in the wind, with thoubs on and traditional Yemeni kuffiyas wrapped around their heads.

They asked me if I wanted to get married, and I think they were serious.

So we came back after one night, with the plan to go back on Thursday with supplies and stay till Sunday. I’ll report about Shabbat with the last of the Yemenite Jews later.

love Josh

Mon, Oct 15, 2007

Hello again,

So as I mentioned in my first email we had decided to go back to Raida with supplies and stay the weekend, to spend Shabbat with them. So we did, and it was pretty eye-opening. We got in Friday afternoon without incident, and went to the synagogue around 5 to pray. The synagogue there is cool: no benches, just carpets on the floor and a hard rectangular pillow every few feet around the wall, to lean against. There was a table and a bench and a podium in the middle of the room. Many of the guys were chewing gat during the service, some were even smoking during the beginning, before Shabbat actually started.

The service was similar to other Mizrachi services i had been to in the past: more like a constant buzzing/murmuring of prayers with an occasional silence and intermittent collective AMEN!s thrown in than a ordered service with leadership. In other words, completely impossible to follow. so the three of us looked like morons sitting there with deer-in-headlights looks on our faces. after the service we talked with some of the guys (the women pray at home) and then walked home.

Saturday was pretty standard for religious families: wake up pray pray pray eat pray eat pray sleep. However the Torah reading was ridiculous and fed most of my thoughts for the rest of the trip. Basically it illustrated the vast differences in Jewish education here and in North America, and provoked a lot of thought. First of all, in America/Canada (at least the synagogues i’ve always gone to) the people called up to read from the Torah say two short blessings, once before the reading, once after. A person who is trained and has practiced the weekly portion actually does the reading. Then when the people who say the blessings come back to their seats everyone shakes their hands and says congratulations like they just accomplished some Herculean feat. Here, everyone who is called up reads, no practice, and no vowels. He just sight reads it. Then, the tradition is that the second to last person to read is under thirteen. I was told this, and thought, ok so a 12 year old a month from his Bar Mitzvah will do it. Wrong. In this case, it was a 6 year old and he did it like a champ. This is every week here, and people dont think this is particularly remarkable, it’s just how Jewish life and learning goes. And to think in America we piss and moan for 6 to 10 months prior to our Bar Mitzvahs to read one little portion, if that! In addition to this, for each person reading, a kid between 5 and 12 sat at the table next to the podium and after the reader finished each verse, the kid would read it again, but this time in Aramaic. Are you kidding me? I was floored.

These guys put our Judaism to shame, and made me feel like a stupid tourist. I guess in terms of the extent of Jewish education i have as compared to these guys, I am. I can say with certainty that the role Judaism and Torah plays in my life and the lives of my Jewish friends in North America, is but a shell of what it was for our ancestors. So I began to think. I thought about the causes and conditions that would allow this kind of commitment to learning Torah to exist. Some are sociological: the Jews here dont really exist within Yemeni society. Others are educational: they dont learn secular subjects, or even to read and write Arabic. Just Torah. The alphabet Jews here use is Hebrew, many of the kids dont learn Arabic script until theyre married and with kids. After a while I realized that this education and commitment came at a cost. The Jews here will always be their own community, and will never a) be permitted to or b) want to integrate into the general society. Each side views the other with mutual distrust and disdain, each believing the others religion to be deeply and irrevocable flawed. Yemen is a homogeneous society, and the Jewish community that exists inside it dimly flickers with equal homogeneity.

Sometimes I get frustrated here by the lack of scientific reasoning and lack of secular thinking. I realized this weekend I would probably get just as frustrated in time with the Jewish community for the same reason. Secular thinking and society has no place with them. They exist as they have for a thousand years or more; protecting the traditions and passing on the Torah and Talmud from generation to generation. It was all in all an amazing experience, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have seen this community while it exists, but made me really consider the place religion has in my life, and the life of my Jewish friends, and what the costs are. Ultimately, however, I concluded that its probably better, at least for me being a North American, to have a more solid foundation on secular thinking, as it is within that society that I plan to live.

An unexpected side-effect of this trip has been a guilty and reluctant resentment of Israel for what its creation meant for the Jewish community here. If I were studying here in 1930 there were 30 000 Jews in Sana’a alone. Nowhere in the Middle East can we see authentic Mizrachi Judaism exist, as a result of 1948.

Interesting side note of this whole thing: I noticed that the Tanakh used by the congregation was stamped “Neturai Karta, NYC.” For those unfamiliar with these guys, once so eloquently described by one Seattle Rabbi as “rats in suits,” besides being the most vociferous and vocal Jewish Anti-Zionists, they were also the Jewish delegation to Iran’s holocaust-denial conference.

Lovely.

Love Josh

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~ by Josh on April 6, 2008.

22 Responses to “Saadia”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story…I’ve been off on a bit of a hisory mytery tear today and although it was because of your coments on yemeni talkari (turkish/anatolian)/(filligree) that i found you it is the eccelectic diversity of your blog that enchanted me enough to decided to wander around a little bit…in it’s own way your little blog has added much depth to rounding out my larger picture…thanks again for sharing, please let me know if you find any more interesting info out regarding telkari…Lizz

  2. Hey man
    all i can say is i hope to go in 2 years. i am adani yemenite and i cant wait to see this bc this is my life hear and all. how long did you go and plus did you speak hebrew to the family or arabic. bc i dont thik they speak hebrew ,i know saidia and is a lovly guy/ please tell us more about whne u were there.

  3. […] the judge apparently has backed down. The entire Jewish community has received death threats. Saadia Hala, the man I stayed with when in the village, had his house firebombed, and a grenade lobbed at his […]

  4. Very enlightening and eye opening. Would love to hear more and share my thoughts. Maybe secular thinking and scientific reasoning don’t come easily to them. That is why they rely so heavily on tradition.

  5. Resentment at Israel? How about at the Yemenites who left these Jews living as Dhimmis for 1,000 years!

    The idea that its the fault of the Jews or Israel for the violence thrust on our communities for generations is not just ignorant but truly evil.

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  7. While helping a woman identify her great-grandmother’s amulet case by searching world jewelries, I stumbled across Jewish Sana’ani-type jewelry & was VERY surprised that it was NOT YEMENITE! Instead, it was Afghani which strengthens in my mind their alleged relationship w/the 10 Lost Tribes. I even sent shots to different Yemenites to make sure I wasn’t imagining the relationship, but they all, too, thought it to be Sana’ani work.
    A better test, though, is to use Jewish Habani (Hasarmawath) jewelry since they are a First Temple exile.
    best,
    Ra’anan
    Jerusalem

  8. Jerba also has an “authentic” community, but what is authentic?
    MANY of the Yemenite Jews I know in Israel easily “passed” other groups in education of all subjects. My Yemenite students are far more disciplined than the average “other” Israeli & I think this is because of sitting still at the feet of their mori/Torah teacher of chanting trops. Yemenite Jewry, except for Haban, is at the period of the Mishna. There is MUCH to be said on the subject.

    ‘erev shabbath shalom,
    Ra’anan

  9. Oh Josh,
    Why is it desirable to “integrate” into Arab or Christian society??
    You seem to dismiss the idea that one religion could right & the other wrong.
    You also seem to be “taken” by the FORMS of Judaism as opposed to content & meaning. So a young boy can read the 6th portion to the Torah better than any Ashkenazi will EVER read, but WHY does ANYONE read from the Torah at a public reading? What does it accomplish?
    The so-called Enlightenment (of Europe) allowed Ashkenazim to leave yeshivas & study in universities & there was a sudden BURST of “advancement” in Western thought, but what did that new sensibility really give to humanity??? Within 250 years that same area produced a holocaust using the best legal, medicinal, philosophical etc minds they had.
    There was a famous yeshiva boy in Israel who left yeshiva to study law. He reported that he had to step 10 steps DOWN to adjust to Western thinking. He’s one of Israel’s top attorneys.
    If you think Judaism is somehow inferior to secularism, maybe you don’t know enough about Judaism. Judaism is about uplifting humanity, can you say the same for secularism?
    Would you give up your JEWISHNESS in order to live in secular society????
    What in the world do secular values give you, comfort???
    Does “truth” have a place in your life?
    World Jewry is now 40% intermarried because of secular comfort.
    What value does Jewish existence have for you?
    If Jewish existence would depend on YOU leaving secularism, would you allow Jewishness/Judaism to die so that you could go watch, say, “Gilligan’s Island” or the contemporary equivalent???

    As far as your apparent sorrow for Jews leaving Sana’a & the rest of Yemen, realize that Jews had already left in the 1920s & had bought property in Silwan, Jerusalem just outside of the Old City in Jerusalem. Arabs have since usurped their property & Hillary Clinton is demanding that Jews NOT be repatriated to their former homes there. The Jews who remained in Yemen during the Great Immigration to Israel in the 1940s & 50s were the ignorami who were afraid that they’d be EMBARRASSED for their lack of Torah scholarship upon arrival in Israel.

    One of my rabbis is the son of a man from Sana’a.
    He knows the rationalist Rambam almost or basically by heart because he’s Yemenite.
    He knows the Beith Yosef nearly as well, possibly because R. ‘Ovadiyah Yosef is such a powerful influence in our neighbourhood.
    And he knows the Rama very well because he also learned in an Ashkenazi yeshiva, BUT he has no former secular training, YET his Talmudic scholarship MAKES him scientific in his grasp of reality.
    There is depth in learning & then there are others who’ve NOT learned deeply.
    best,
    Ra’anan
    Jerusalem

    • wow, thanks for that garbled nonsense Ra’anan. How does it feel to be part of the problem? Shame on you, people like you are the reason I, and tens of thousands of other Jews in America, will NEVER move to Israel: we don’t want to be in the same club as loonies like you.
      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the planet Earth. Have a nice life, and please keep off my blog.

  10. Josh, B”SD
    JOSH, thanks for PROVING my point!
    You’ve condemned me w/o explaining why (probably because it’s so “obvious” in your eyes?).
    But please don’t lie about coming to Israel. American Jews w/a nominal, at best, Jewish education will NEVER move to Israel & demographics show that very few will even marry Jewish because they are interested in COMFORT.
    Thank you for condemning me as a “loonie” without explaining why your position is superior, I’m certainly not surprised at your inability to intellectually articulate your position.
    Yes, please DO get back to planet Egypt, I mean, America.
    Oh, & thanks for secularly denying me free speech on your blog.
    You MUST shut the messenger up when he makes you uncomfortable.

    Ra’anan
    Jerusalem

    • actually, you’re still free to spew your racist garbage on my blog. So PLEASE continue to MAKE a mockery of the Jewish commitment to fairness and equality with your racist and ethnocentric statements. Don’t you see, Ra’anan, that we have become the very oppressors we left Europe/the Middle East to avoid? Thats why American Jews are divesting from Israel, it has nothing to do with COMFORT.

  11. Josh, did I say NOMINAL Jewish education???
    I think I was too charitable w/you because you seem to have even less than that.
    Please show me one Jewish source for “equality” & “fairness.”
    And what race are we Jews?
    Ethiopian?
    Yemenite?
    Maghrebi?
    Polish?
    Where do you think I was racist, by choosing NOT to jump in head first to a secular American value system?
    Josh, you weren’t even able to answer even ONE question I asked you, does that mean that your secular education is a bluff?
    As far as Israelis being “oppressors,” you’ve only made a claim, you have failed, AGAIN & AGAIN, to produce any evidence.
    I thought that secularism used the scientific method of observation as evidence, were you sick the day that taught that or did your secular education consist of MTV?
    We did NOT leave Europe, Asia & Africa to avoid persecution.
    We came home because our prophets told us we would.
    Maybe you were unaware of this because of your lack of Jewish education.
    Maybe your ancestors were, too, so they fled to America.
    American Jews are NOT divesting from Israel.
    Non-religious American Jews are divesting from a JUDAISM they never knew for very complicated reasons, but RELIGIOUS JEWS are causing a shift in demographics by doing things that nonreligious don’t do like 1) marrying others Jews 2) getting married young 3) having a lot of kids 4) not getting divorced 5) getting strong Jewish educations. I remember seeing research from a few years ago showing that the more religious an American Jew is, the more loyal he is to Israel. A more recent Israeli study showed that the more secular an Israeli Jew is, the less he cares about world Jewry. The non-religious Jews are headed towards the dustbin of irrelevancy as they hemorrhage into assimilation & intermarriage, while religious Jewry’s renaissance simply grows & grows. The Harvard Demographic Study clearly showed this years ago.

    With all of that, I still am attracted to your refreshing excitement & certainly enjoyed your observations of Temon. I hope that one day you’ll engage in critical analysis of your positions & not insult those w/whom you disagree.

    chanuka sameach,
    Ra’anan
    Jerusalem

    • So by your own words Judaism is prejudicial by nature? A) Even if that is true, I refuse to accept that or live by it, and instead point to generations of grassroots fighting for civil rights by Jews and Jewish organizations, both in the States and abroad. B) When I left Israel, I had decided not to make my life there, as I had planned, because I found a society so blatantly, unrepentantly, and proudly racist towards Arabs specifically and Muslims in general that I simply did not then nor do I now want to call myself a member of such a society.

      Young American Jews in fact are divesting from Israel, mainly due to the repugnant acts of aggression Israel commits. Bradley Burston at Haaretz has been doing a series on this divestment: http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/thanksgiving-tikkun-olam-and-u-s-jews-breaking-the-israel-barrier-1.326087

      “We came home because our prophets told us we would.” No. Scripture was used as religious justification for a political nationalist movement. There were no prophets in the Yishuv, only people who had a desire to make themselves a homeland. When the Yemenites came, the Wings of Eagles verse was used as a way of convincing those on the fence, no more no less. We were running from anti-semitism, not called by prophetic voices. Sorry.

      what is this religious Jewish renaissance you spoke of? All I see is people resisting the modern world more and more violently. This has, historically, only proved disappointing. No, we need a real Jewish renaissance, where real learning doesnt have to be euphemized, metaphored to death, driven to obsolescence by the trite and pathetic parables Aish and Chabad steep it in, just to hold our interest. that is the greatest challenge of my generation of Jews.

      Refuah shlema (mental, that is) and chag sameach, gam lacha.
      j

  12. Is Judaism “prejudicial” by nature?
    Is democracy “prejudicial” by nature?
    YES! It is PRO-DEMOCRACY & claims for various reasons that its system is the best.
    In fact, I’d venture to say that EVERY system holds of itself to be the best (at least to some degree).
    Why would Judaism be any different?
    It’s then up to individual who’ve grown beyond mere self-comfort to investigate & compare the various systems (Plato did this to a certain degree in his “Republic”).
    What’s your point?
    I have a feeling that you are defining “prejudice” in some way that you’ve not bothered to define, so please do so now.
    Do forget, your own MOTHER is prejudicial in regards to her local shoe store preferring one store over another, is that some how bad in your book?

    As far as your refusal to accept or live by a “prejudicial” Judaism, I’m sure that I could find MANY, MANY, MANY instances of your OWN prejudices in many areas. If so, that means that you are really INCONSISTENT & if I were a betting man, I’d wager that all of this goes back to Josh’s personal comfort. It’s the same old game in different words. The reason that comfort is an issue is because of IGNORANCE, you really know very little about Judaism & you are taken only by what you’ve SEEN, which is, again, mere FORM & not CONTENT.

    Judaism is metaphysics.
    Saying that it is prejudicial is like saying that you refuse to believe in the law of physics because gravity causes more injury only on HEAVIER people who may take a fall & that’s NOT FAIR!!!
    You’ve therefore refused to acknowledge the terrible system of physics because it upsets your sense of fair play.

    You point to generations of Jews & some Jewish organizations involved in civil rights to prove WHAT? Those are JEWS, NOT JUDAISM. I’ll point to Bob Dylan turning the Beatles onto marijuana & therefore what? I’ll point to Karl Marx setting up a system that was responsible for the murder & suffering of millions & therefore what? I’ll point to Jewish talent making HUGE marks in Hollywood & therefore what? Are you saying that you have some type of imperative to imitate Jewish behaviour??? Who gave you such an imperative? Do you equally hold that Greeks must imitate other Greeks???

    Israel is racist towards ARABS???
    What “race” are Arabs???
    What are “Arabs?”
    I know Arabs who have become Jews & they are equal to other Jews, so that means to me that being Arab is NOT a race, but a system of beliefs. I don’t have to accept any system of beliefs, especially if it tells me I’m inferior & even threatens my life, do you think otherwise???

    That’s very sweet that you use HaAretz as your source of choice for information. I especially appreciate their relationship w/the European Union & its anti-Jewish agenda. That also certainly says a lot about you & your moral clarity OR, even worse, your IGNORANCE. I suggest you google Naomi Chazan or Hazan & see who you are supporting.

    That that some American Jews support divesting from Israel means that, what, you are going to join them like you’d join civil rights movements because Jews were involved w/that, too? I mean, why don’t you grow long simonim/payoth/sidelocks & wear a shtreimel because there are Jews who do that, too? Why do you pick & choose?

    ORIENTAL JEWS did NOT COME TO ISRAEL BECAUSE OF HERZL or ANTI-SEMITISM. You are promoting a MYTH. Moroccan Jewry, the largest of all groups, came in the 1950s because they LOVE ISRAEL because they were RELIGIOUS JEWS. ALGERIAN Jews mostly moved to FRANCE because they were LESS religious. Goodness, all you have to do is talk w/the thousands of people in Israel who came in the 1950s & ASK THEM why they came. My wife’s family came from YEMEN & it had NOTHING to do w/anti-Semitism.

    The religious Jewish renaissance consists of a massive return to TRADITIONAL Judaism. Hebrew University researched this & the number on a sliding scale is over 1 million people in Israel returning to a more traditional level of Jewish observance & this is AFTER experiencing & rejecting what you call the “modern world.” Yet we in Israel waver between 1st & 3rd place for the number of scientific patents on planet earth. I hate to ask you for evidence again, but exactly how do you see us as “resisting the modern world more & more violently?” Do we not use electricity, cars, computers??? We do you see us as rejecting?
    What does the “modern world,” in your opinion, have that is so good??? And how has the traditional Jewish position proved disappointing???

    Real learning isn’t euphemized & metaphors are for the benefit of those less familiar w/core ideas, SUCH AS YOURSELF. Aish & Chabad will be around LONG after your “young Jews” have married nice Christian girls & have produced anti-Semitic children which has already happened as is evident w/George Soros’ J Street.

    Thank you for insulting me again w/your blessing me for health, secularism lacks something else that Judaism offers, something very alien to you called DEREKH ERETZ/ERES.

    bekhol zoth, ani mevarekh othkha ‘im kol tuv,
    Ra’anan
    Jerusalem

    • Wow, this last one takes the cake!
      When, in my last message, I mentioned how religious Jews most common rhetorical tool is lame metaphors and asinine comparisons between things that actually have no relation to each other whatsoever, there was no way I could have possibly come up with examples as utterly STUPID as the ones you did.

      Nation-wide systematic discrimination of a particular ethnic group solely because they are of that ethnic group is actually quite unlike preferring one shoe store over another, I think you’ll find.

      Arabs are not defined, in fact, by “a system of beliefs” you ignorant twat, but are defined by the fact that speak Arabic as a native language. So there can be Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Athiest, etc Arabs, but they will always be Arabs ethnically, as defined by their language. Israel discriminates against these individuals both on a social level (towns voting to exclude Arabs from the pool of potential new residents) and on a policy level (refusing to recognize Bedouin land ownership in the Negev or provide any basic services to the Bedouin, despite providing illegal settlements with 2 caravans all the amenities of the modern world). The Israeli government does not do so because all these people remarkably share a similar “system of beliefs”.

      Ok, I’m going to leave it here, because it is clear you have absolutely no conception of logic or reason whatsoever, so why bother trying to have a discussion with you? The racism endemic to Israel is all around you, but since you clearly embrace it rather than reject it, I really have no time whatsoever to debate racist pork products like yourself.
      Take your Derekh Eretz and shove it, you ridiculous hypocrite.
      This conversation is over.

  13. Josh,

    You’ve not answered one single questions I’ve asked, but I’m not surprised.
    Metaphors are used because people like you are so ignorant of their heritage that they cannot understand even basic concepts in Talmud or other Judaic sources & you KNOW that YOU cannot handle ANY Jewish primary sources (meaning, in the original language).

    Israel does NOT discriminate against what you call ethnic Arabs. Around 800,000 Jewish Arabs came to Israel in the early 1950s & several of them have been appointed as presidents of the State of Israel, they make up a large part of the Israeli parliament, many of them are judges, doctors, attorneys. So what discrimination are you talking about???

    Thank you for calling me an insulting name, that is quite unJewish behaviour, but, again, I’m not surprised at your lack of derekh eretz since you obviously have never had the benefit of a Jewish education so you don’t know any better.

    There are so many things wrong w/your definition of an “Arab.”
    Are Arabic-speaking Copts Arabs?
    Are those Kurds who’ve been Arabized & no longer speak Kurdish ARABS?
    Are Yemenite Jews in Yemen Arabs???
    Are you sure you have even a SECULAR education???
    What is your degree in?
    Did you top out at junior high school or before?
    If your claim that Jews left Arab countries because of anti-Semitism, then why in the WORLD would they want to come to an Israel that forces them to accept Arabs as neighbours???
    There are PLENTY of mixed Arab-Jewish towns in Israel like Jaffa, Ramle, Lod, Haifa etc.
    So what discrimination are you talking about???
    If I move onto your front American lawn & you refuse to recognize my claim to your property, is that discrimination, too?
    What evidence have you seen that Bedouin in the Negev own land there???
    You’re not reading HaAretz again, are you???
    ANYONE can go to court & produce their deed of land ownership & it will be respected.
    Have those Bedouin done that or do you just believe them because HaAretz said it was their land???
    What makes a settlement illegal?
    What IS a settlement?
    You certainly talk a lot, yet you have no ability to support your position.
    Settlements are provided support by the respective political parties.
    Maybe you didn’t notice, but Israelis have MANY different views, BUT we are a DEMOCRACY so majority rules & if the majority want “settlements” then just like majority rules in America & policy is usually set by the majority, we are the same here…SURPRISE!

    You know, it’s a REAL put off when you say bad words.
    Why do you feel the need to do that?
    Judaism says that such words say a lot about a person’s nature & NOT in a good way.

    I want to show you something that will TOTALLY blow your mind, something that will really flip you. Look up wikipedia on this man Tsvi_Misinai. We have no idea how to deal w/this. The city of Yata is an example of what Tsvi is espousing as well as some of those Bedouin Tribes down south. Tsvi got a hold of DNA samples of Arabs, Jews & Samaritans & found them all to be the same. Then he went investigating & found that a HUGE number of the so-called “Arabs” in Israel really have…JEWISH ORIGINS.
    Also, do yourself a favour & watch this on youtube
    Mordechai Kedar in al-Jazeera about Jerusalem & Islam
    so you can learn about the true legal status of Judea & Samaria by international law.

    best & chanuka sameach & I forgive your ugliness.
    Ra’anan
    Jers

    • Actually, Raanan, I might know a *wee* bit more about the Bedouin situation than you think. The last time I lived in Israel I worked for the Bedouin organization that represents their land claims, among other issues. Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages. I saw up close and personal the virulent and often violent racism you claim doesn’t exist.

      Many of the Bedouin have documents clearly stating ownership of land. But those documents were granted to them by the Ottomans, and Israel doesn’t recognize them as legitimate.

      Let’s examine that for a second, and I’ll use a metaphor, which in this case actually works.

      Imagine your grandfather bought a house. He worked his whole life, raised a family in it, and finally paid off the mortgage and owned the house free and clear. When he died, he left it to your father. Your father in turn raised his family in it, and then left it to you. You don’t owe any money on the house, do you? Its yours, its your family’s. Then, imagine that China invades the country, exiles your leaders and 90% of the population, and declares itself the new government. All the laws you grew up with, the things you were used to go out the window, and you find yourself a stranger in your own land. In fact, they don’t even speak your language, they consider it your job to learn Chinese.

      Then one day, someone comes and tells you and everyone on your street that they don’t own that land, it’s been confiscated by the state, and if you don’t leave, the house will be destroyed. How unbelievably unfair would that be? How mad would that make you? It’s clearly your house, your grandfather bought it! You were there way before the Chinese, how dare they come and tell you you don’t own the house?
      Then one day, a letter arrives. Its in Chinese, so you dont know what it says, but everyone else on your street gets one too. Three months later, a team of bulldozers arrives and destroy your grandfathers house, along with everything in it, and the houses of everyone else in your town. That’s fair, right?
      Welcome to the daily reality of the Bedouin.

      “So what discrimination are you talking about???” Gee good question! You got me! I guess you’re right! There really ISNT any discrimination of Arabs in Israel after all. Thank you for showing me the light.

  14. Please, give me an illustration of the virulent & violent racism you saw. Was it the Bedouin being racist towards Jews or vice verse? What exactly did you see?
    Can you publish online some of the deeds of ownership that Bedouin have?

    I’ve read that Bedouin never settled in one place because they have to graze, then Israel coerced them into settling in villages, is that your experience?
    I was just looking at an online site to try & confirm your claim, but it seems that the OPPOSITE is true & that Bedouin do NOT have ‘Ottoman Tabu (land deed registrations) of the land they claim.
    It seems that they claim ownership through mere squatting.

    Josh, the problem w/your metaphor, as well as your self praise of how great it is, is that Bedouin are Muslim & just like Judaism explains our historic ownership of the WHOLE Land of Israel as G-d-given, so, too, does ISLAM state that the Land of Israel is JEWISH.
    Here are the Islamic sources that Arab nationalists conveniently ignore:

    Sura 5:20-21
    “Recall that Moses said to his people, “O my people, remember G-d’s blessings upon you: He appointed prophets from among you, made you kings, and granted you what He never granted any other people. O my people, enter the holy land that G-d has decreed for you, and do not rebel…”

    Sura 7:136-137
    The second selection:
    “We let the oppressed people inherit the land, east and west, and we blessed it. The blessed commands of your Lord were thus fulfilled for the Children of Israel, to reward them for their steadfastness, and we annihilated the works of Pharaoh and his people and everything they harvested.”

    Sura 17:103-104
    The third selection:
    “And we said to the Children of Israel afterwards, “Go live into this land. When the final prophecy comes to pass, we will summon you all in one group.”

    Make sure you show these verses to your Muslim buddies.

    Indeed, we Jews WERE on our homeland & the Romans came & expelled us from our G-d-given land as acknowledged even by Islam & Christianity. Then we Jews RETURNED to our land as Islam & Christianity also believe. Unfortunately we found Arab colonialists from Arabia on our land.
    They wish to take over the Holy Land just as they took over Phonecian Lebanon, Coptic Egypt, Berber Maghreb (N. Africa), Mesopotamia & so forth. With their 22 Arab countries, they can’t BARE the idea of JEWS living smack in the middle of “their” land similar to the Vatican’s chagrin over us “Wandering Jews” returning to the Holy Land despite Catholic theology stating it would never happen since we’d be punished as wanderers for not accepting Jesus as messiah.

    So you see, your analogy is historically inaccurate & the 22 Arab states are NOT the underdogs you make them to believe. Instead, they are colonialist occupiers oppressing the:
    Kurds
    Assyrians
    Copts
    Christians in Bethlehem & Nazareth & Iraq & Lebanon
    Jews in Yemen

    have I missed anyone???

    According to ISLAM, do Muslims having any business being in the Land that Allah promised to the Binai Ysra-il???

    It just dawned on me that Josh=Joshua=Yehoshua’, the disciple of Moshe/Musa who led us into the Land of Israel after the Exodus.
    Josh, it’s in your BLOOD (& NAME) to lead Jews to the Holy Land, though we won’t hold our breaths. The ‘aliyah/immigration to Israel from America is almost exclusively religious because it takes idealism to leave comfort & pursue truth (though I do see at least traces of that in you).

    Agav, what do you think about the DNA thing w/Israeli Arabs???
    It actually turns out that their DNA is more similar to, SURPRISE, ASHKENAZIM who were exiled LATER than Sefaradim (what a sense of humor HaShem has as far as the Kuzari claim).

    chanuka sameach,
    Ra’anan
    Jerusalem

  15. Josh, are you named after a fairy tale?
    Like “Josh” is really, what, Tinkerbell?
    Due to your lack of Jewish education you might be confused.
    Suras are from the Qoran, not from the Torah & are NOT scripture.
    I hope that you’ve never gone up to read the blessings from the Torah, have you???
    That would be quite inconsistent of you.
    How do you know that quoting scripture is lacking in rational thinking?
    What evidence do you, as a student of secular studies, have to support your claim?
    I only quoted the Qoran to show you how STUPID it is for you to claim that Qoran-believing Muslims would go against their own religion which explicitly states that the Holy Land was given to the JEWS & NOT to Bedouin who are colonialists from Arabia.
    It’s sad that you are not able to answer ANY of my questions, yet blindly hold onto your RELIGIOUS FAITH of anti-Israelism (& you don’t even have scripture to back you up, just total blind faith).

    Do you tell your Muslims buddies that their Islam is really just fairy tales?
    Did you tell the Bedouin that, too?
    Did you tell that to your Jewish hosts in Yemen?

    What in the world right do YOU have to come to Israel?
    What connection do you have to it?
    Without Torah as a historical document of ownership, then what in the world made you think that you could have ANY right to being here?
    The secular nationalist Herzl?
    If so, that begs the question as well because what right did HE have w/o Torah?

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