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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 9: Reflections


The Other’s Other160 4 The Second Intifada, or uprising, broke out in September 2000 in response to provocation by a six-member Likud Knesset delegation led by the then-leader of the opposition Ariel Sharon when they decided to visit the Temple Mount, an area known to Muslims as Al- Haram Al-Sharif. The policemen in charge at the riot that broke out in Sakhnin, and who were implicated in the shooting were brought to trial. Not surprisingly, the policemen were exonerated. No one was punished. 5 The survey was conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs of the Statistics Department of Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the company Sample Project. (Ha’aretz, June 9, 2010.) 6 Our subjective feeling is that the country has taken a definite turn to the right, but the attitude of the younger generation today echoes that of Israeli youth in 1980. A poll taken then also caused alarm among liberals and leftists. The 1980 survey “indicated a stereotypical tendency among Israeli youngsters to view all Arabs, anywhere within the state of Israel and beyond, as a menacing and ill-intentioned collective. It also exposed a worrying level of support for legal and administrative measures which, if ever implemented, would curb the freedom of Palestinian citizens of Israel, limiting their civil and even human rights.” (Rabinowitz, Dan. “Natives with jackets and degrees. Othering, objectification and the role of Palestinians in the co-existence field in Israel,” in Social Anthropology (2001), 9, 1, 65–80.) 7 This ethos has been somewhat altered with...

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