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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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Chapter 1: The Beginning


C H A P T E R O N E The Beginning The Second Lebanon War started on July 12, 2006 with the kidnapping by the Hezbollah of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, and the shelling of the army outpost on the Golan. Within a few days, events spun out of control. I was visiting from Israel with my daughter in Berkeley when I first heard the news of the kidnapping on CNN. I must confess I didn’t pay it much mind. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about what was going on. I worried about the soldiers, and wondered how Israel would respond. But years of unrest and tragedy had turned the awful, the previously unthinkable, into our way of life. My oldest daughter had been born about 8 months before the 1982 First Lebanon War. By the Gulf War in1990, she had been joined by her two siblings. They were all still young enough to think it was fun to run into the sealed room when the air raid siren sounded, and slip on their gas masks. My son was too small to manage his, and his older sister had to help him while I put my baby daughter into her protective tent. The Second Lebanon War in 2006 was my daughter’s third war in 24 years, not counting the two Intifadas. When it broke out, my son was already an air force reservist and my youngest had just finished high school. Enough time had...

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