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...