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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Peace & War : Poverty & Urban Development

I am a lucky Arab

While on these pages many call Israel an apartheid state despite its population being diverse both racially and religiously. Here is a story of an Arab man and his family that did not flee in 1948 despite the calls on the radio at the time by Arab leaders to do so. Let me remind indymedia readers that Israel today is 20% Arab-Israeli and these Arabs vote and full citizenship rights. Nor are they required to convert to Judaism. This is just one story, though sadly, the author it unknown.
My grandfather, Mohammed, traveled on foot from his home in Iraq in the early part of the last century looking for work. Jews had come to British controlled Palestine in the thousands, joining the Jews that had always been here, buying up land from absentee Turkish Muslim owners, and they needed many workers to help them build the land. He married, raised a large family,worked hard, and lived quietly.

I live in Haifa in Israel. In 1948 when Israel declared its independence, Arab armies from surrounding Arab states attacked with the intention of destroying the new state. I was about 15 years old and remember well the radio broadcasts from Arab states telling us to leave our homes and move eastward temporarily while the advancing Arab armies wiped out the Jews. They told us we would then return in triumph to our homes and would have the joy of taking over all the Jewish assets: their homes, farms, shops, cars, and bank accounts.

My father, Ibrahim, was a very wise man, a learned man, and a man of peace. We had good relationships with our neighbors, Christian, Jew, and Muslim. He gathered the entire family and explained why he did not believe it wise to flee, that he did not believe the Jews would mistreat us.

We stayed put. We are still here.

Today I still live in my father's old stone house with my wife and the youngest of our eight children. My older children and my many grandchildren all live nearby. We have never been mistreated, and we are much better off than those Arabs who fled and who ended up in miserable refugee camps being supported by the UN and charities.

I want you to know what my life is like as an Arab citizen of Israel.

I was educated in Israeli schools and universities. I became a pharmacist and worked in a large pharmacy in Haifa. I was paid the same salary, and received the same benefits as my Jewish colleagues. Now I'm retired. I receive two
pensions; one based on the investment plan to which my company and I contributed. The other comes from the Israeli government National Insurance plan.

I have eight children. Every month I received child allowance payments from the government until each became 18. I know of no other country where this happens, certainly not any Arab nation.

Our entire family is covered by the National Health Plan which provides good medical care. All my children were born in hospital, my wife received excellent ante and postnatal care. All medical and surgical is covered from the first Shekel from birth to death, and when we die even the cost of burial is covered!

My children went to school with Jewish children, they were members of the same sports clubs and the community center, and they all received university educations, some with state scholarships.

I pray in a Mosque, which was built on land donated by the Jewish National Fund.

I am a citizen, I have a passport, can travel anywhere, anytime. I vote in local and national elections, and we have a number of Arab members in Parliament.

I have a very good life, and so has my family.

I feel for those Arabs forced to live under Arafat, for they are being used and abused badly. I long for the day that Arafat is no more, that a real peace treaty can be negotiated with Israel, so that the Palestinian Arabs can have a better life also.

I long for the day I can travel to visit cousins in Ramallah without fear of being called a collaborator and executed.

I thank Allah my grandfather came here. I thank Allah my father did not leave in 1948. I thank Allah my children were raised here, in the only free country in the Middle East.

We are very lucky Arabs.
 
 


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Comments

pathetic

this is pathetic becky.

i don't believe this crap for a minute.

why don't YOU actually interview REAL people instead of linking to some bullshit letter on a racist website.
 

Saying Arabs are treated well in Israel is racist?

Reply to Not a Racist: I suppose that any article published here that paints Israel in a positive light is "racist"?

While I cannot verify the source for this article, the specifics are basically true. Many Arabs from many different countries (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.) DID migrate to Israel to get good jobs in Israel's burgeoning agricultural industry.

As for radio broadcasts in 1948 which urged Arabs to leave their homes so the Arab armies could exterminate the Jews, these did occur.

Not all Arabs fled. Israel is currently 19% Arabic, mostly from Arabs who did not flee in 1948. These Arabs who stayed put were NOT mistreated by the Israelis.

All Israelis, including Arab-Israelis DO have national health insurance. Even the Palestinians had Israeli health insurance until the signing of the Oslo accords. The PA does not provide health insurance. No one here talks about that.

The Israelis do provide free and subsidized education. The Israelis are some of the most educated people in the world.

The Arabs do have representatives in the Knesset.

Arabs who are called "collaborators with Israel" are lynched, shot, and murdered in the street. These are often the Arabs who are calling for a peaceful settlement with Israel. Do you doubt this? Shall I post some grisly articles of public lynchings by the Palestinians?

So what part of the above article don't you believe?

Perhaps you are not a racist but you certainly are an anti-semite.
 

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