Monday, June 05, 2006

Shalom Freedom…

My neighbors, in the building where are I live, are a Jewish family. I know because the mother sometimes wears the Kippah. The family has an almost two-year old adorable son who is very handsome. I cannot help but talking to him whenever I see him; like hi, how are you and in most of the cases he responds by staring at me.

Usually, I do not have the time to talk to the parents when the little boy is around because he is our center of attention.

Two days ago I was in the elevator with them, I said how are you to my little friend. Then I started chatting with the parents exchanging names and I was expecting the most popular question. Where are you from? SURPRISE, Egypt. But luckily they did not ask me. We went to our apartments and the dad asked my friend to tell me Shalom…. (calling my name). I said Shalom…(calling his name).

I said to myself what will be the reaction when they know that I am an Egyptian, knowing that the Israeli and Egyptian peoples do not have fully normalized relations except at the official, diplomatic and political levels. Despite the fact that many Egyptians do not really bother about having relationship with the Israeli people, the media are still stereotyping the relations and not letting it take another shape that fits 17 years of peace with Israel.

It is so funny that Islam and Judaism are so close in every aspect, however many on both sides fail to see similarities. Muslims and Jews circumcise their boys. Muslims eat Halal meat, Jews eat Kosher food (both have slaughter traditions, one is called halal and the other kosher). Muslims and Jews do not eat ham. They both fast in relation to the sun movements. Fasting in Jewish practice means complete abstinence from all food and drink, including water like Muslims. The question of women’s purity during their monthly period is the same in Islam and Judaism. The tradition of abstaining from sexual relations for a married couple during the time of a women's period and for seven days thereafter is important to traditional Jews.

I guess we are closer than we want to admit...


At 6:48 AM, Anonymous 3amzooo ThE GrEaT said...

Heya...nice blog there...anyway...i dont believe the conflict that arabs and israeli people have is a matter of religion... it's a matter of existance...and I'm saying that Israeli people(not jewish people) want ou palestinian brothers to stop it's a conflict of existance not religion...and I've been thinking about how it could be solved...but i came up with no solution...coz when it comes to can't compromise you existance no matter what...

At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Don Cox said...

It is because they are so similar that there is such an intense conflict. A person with beliefs almost the same as yours but slightly different is much more of a threat than a person with completely different beliefs, who you can dismiss as simply crazy. I see very few attacks on Buddhists by Muslims.____You see the same thing among socialist parties - they are for ever splitting up into factions, and the closer the factions, the more they hate each other. Underlying all this is an inability to live with doubt, a need to be 100% right and 100% certain.

At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Don Cox said...

"Israeli people(not jewish people) want ou palestinian brothers to stop existing..."_____And the Palestinians want the Israelis to stop existing. However, the Israeli Arabs and the Israeli Jews seem to manage to coexist - not quite in comfort, but they do get along somehow.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

My wish is to have a real peace with Israel not only on paper. I am not talking about Jewish people.

I was asking myself why was I a bit worried about my neighbours asking me where are you from, though I have no problems at all dealing with any nationality or faith. I think the answer is that Egyptians had never been able to build confidence with the Israeli people despite the fully normalized relations at the official level with the government.

I hope I ll be able to see the day of co-existence in peace before I die.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Hanan Cohen said...

Shalom from Israel.

Just saying Hi because I read Toot regularly.

Reading blogs of each other is a starting point towards peace and regognition of the other side as a human being and not just "them".

You are most welcome to the Israeli equivalent of Toot - English-writing Israeli-bloggers

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, there is little if any commanality when it comes to the monthly cycel between Judaism and Islam. In Judaism is it considered punishment for the woman.

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my third comment today on your blog. I must be crazy:))
I am just writing about an experience I had at my work. At the place I work in, I was assigned a new secretary who was hard-working and sharp. After a while, I learned she was Israeli. I had my intial fears but overcame them upon daily working together. Now, she is my right-hand at work.
There, that is how people should learn about each other.
Egyptian in Germany

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Aya said...

I think that one of the biggest problems between Jews and Muslims is that they don’t have direct contact with each other. Most of what they see and hear comes from the mainstream media and is rather negative and almost always related to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However, there are many Jews and Muslims who are working towards mutual understanding, peace, justice, etc. and some organizations cater to and support such initiatives.

Coming to the US, I had the chance, for the first time in my life, to meet and become friends with many Jewish students and teachers. This led to many valuable exchanges and discussions. Although we don’t have to agree on everything, it is imperative that we see each other as humans. I encourage you to go the extra mile and introduce your self to your neighbors. You never know what could come out of it.

At 3:11 AM, Blogger Tsedek said...

Being an Israeli I confidently can say that everybody - no matter where they're from - is looked upon friendly by the majority of Israeli's, when approached in a friendly matter. I have never, ever seen a muslim been treated with disdain or whatever, when approached friendly or on a level of equality. Israeli's are curious people :)

3amzooo the great: Isreali's do not want Palestinians to stop existing, they want them to stop wanting the Israeli people to exist.



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