Jews and Arabs Refuse to Be Enemies
Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies, the placard reads January 05, 2009 An anti-war march, Saturday, through the streets of Tel Aviv. Pro-war shouters collect like flies along the side of the route … Read More
Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies, the placard reads
January 05, 2009
An anti-war march, Saturday, through the streets of Tel Aviv. Pro-war shouters collect like flies along the side of the route – the Magav keeps them surrounded, but sometimes they’re a nose-distance away, fist-thrashing and enraged. We move from Rabin Square along Ibn Gvirol to the Cinemateque, Arab and Jewish Israelis, side-by-side. Stop the killing. We want a different future for our peoples – a future of peace, we chant.
Sometimes an Arab teenager has to be restrained by friends as the mob on the sidelines provokes, with a Death to the Arabs! or Your mother is a whore! Hadash party stewards stand between the groups, trying to keep them apart.
By the Cinemateque square, crowds of pro-war demonstrators are baying to be let in. But the Magav won’t allow them near us. They’re not even letting the residents through – ‘I have to go, I live there,’ argues a woman in a black winter coat.
Two teenage girls who’ve been sitting on the Cinemateque steps suddenly burst into a chant: It’s our country! It’s our country! Somehow, they managed to slip through. Within seconds, a group of Arab boys confronts them, only feet away. Police hustle the girls, modesty protected by skirts over trousers, out of the square.
It’s dark. It’s getting late. People are standing around, and a crowd wrapped in Israeli flags has gathered at the top of the street. It feels ugly but the police hold them at bay.
‘What’s going to happen now?’ I ask Uri. ‘Oh probably a few beatings and then everyone will go home,’ he says.
We walk through the side streets, away from the march. Men are running towards it, shouting, leaping and waving Israeli flags. Uri zips up his jacket, covering the Hadash logo on his vest. A bald-headed guy in a white T-shirt comes at us, punching the air. ‘We have only one country!’ he shouts.