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The Other’s Other

Reflections and Opacities in an Arab College in Israel

Helen Paloge

A challenge, a mission, a hope for a better life for all in an embattled country. This was the author’s vision in The Other’s Other. The challenge turned out to be greater and different than imagined; the mission more exasperating; the hope, more complicated. The book offers a new perspective on the problematic encounter between Jewish and Arab Israelis through the experience of a Jewish lecturer at an Arab college in an Arab city in Israel. The author’s unique insights into Arab Israeli culture gleaned from conversations with staff and students, students’ work, and everyday contact offer a window on the often conflicting feelings; the ambiguities, ambivalent identities, and layers of reality; the questions, doubts and dilemmas that mark the struggle of Arabs and Jews living in one country. It is also a meditation on the rewards and difficulties of discovering and accepting the other – and oneself as the other’s other. Of coexistence.


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It was one of the better career moves I made when I decided to begin teaching at the college. I thank my husband who prodded me in that direction. I thank him for his support and his encouragement as well as for his professional critiquing of the manuscript as he read, and reread many a draft. I am grateful for the feedback of my other readers: Arthur Krystal, Barbara Sachs, Laurie Sapir, and Tzvi and Mechal Sobel. Special thanks must go to my students and colleagues at the college over the years, who welcomed me in their uniquely hospitable fashion, moved me, challenged me, enlightened me and, whether they meant to or not, changed me. * * * Names of people and places have been changed to protect the innocent, and the guilty.

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