High school girls in the Israeli town of Kiryat Gat are being warned not to become romantically involved with Bedouins, via a program run by a social worker named Chaim Shalom. A 10-minute film called Sleeping With the Enemy cautions girls that Bedouins may shower them with gifts and then leave them pregnant and alone, or refuse to allow them to return to their families after ending the relationship. Despite a message that smacks of racism, Bedouins seem happy to have the Jewish girls stay away. Bedouin mayor Talal al-Krenawi had this to say:
"It hurts our families just like it hurts the Jews. It causes a lot of difficult problems and internal conflicts which often end in violence…If there are children as a result of these relationships, it becomes a burden on our society. The difference is that we oppose this just like the Jews, but we never used racist expressions…a person is allowed to live with whomever he wants. In any case, one can oppose something without presenting racist opinions."
Classic case of bad spin? The Jews and Bedouins actually seem to agree on the issue, but somehow the Jews haven’t been able to present their case in inoffensive terms. Here’s an idea: Teach girls about unhealthy relationships in general, and offer them good skills for dealing with men and dating, instead of just saying, “don’t date Bedouins.” Need I remind people that not all Bedouins seduce girls and then leave them alone and pregnant? Learn more about Bedouins in Israel here.
This awesome article first appeared on July 1, 2008 and has been republished as part of the series JEWCYEST WEEK EVER.