Fair Trade

By now it's a mantra: Arab men are threatening daughters of Israel; or more accurately, Arab men are threatening sons of Israel by taking daughters of Israel from them.

By now it's a mantra: Arab men are threatening daughters of Israel; or more accurately, Arab men are threatening sons of Israel by taking daughters of Israel from them.

I heard it on the news from Jews in Acre, Safed, Jaffa, Jerusalem and Carmiel. In Jerusalem there are already organized gangs of young Jews who viciously beat young Arab men who are with Jewish girls. The central slogan in the recent anti-Arab demonstration in Bat Yam was "Safeguard the Jewish womb." The impression is that what really frightens Jews about the proximity of Arabs is not so much the decrease in real estate values, ostensible cultural differences and the need to preserve the state's Jewish character, but the issue of Jewish girls and the preservation of the purity of the race.

I have to say that I am very disappointed in the sons of Israel. Since when do you feel so threatened by Arabs who lack tools of warfare, and what exactly has happened to your self-confidence? Do the daughters of Israel know dark secrets about you that leave them no choice but to run for consolation into the arms of the noble Arab? Be men and fight back - after all, you ate people like that without salt for years, so why are you chickening out now? What's with all this whining in demonstrations, this new legislation, these prohibitions and rabbis' letters? When did you become whiners?

"It's not fair," you yelp, "they must not be allowed to be here, it's not right." What's all that about? If you're interested in a daughter of Israel, rise up and do battle for her, sacrifice yourself, make an effort, try harder; and if at the end of the struggle she prefers an Arab to you, then challenge him to a duel. In cases like this, only death can wipe out the shame. "Don't let them get close, they are taking the girls," you say. And I say, shame on you. What exactly has become of the New Jew, erect of stature, who strides ahead with confident step? If necessary, go back to wearing the kaffiyeh, gallop on horseback and sing the songs of the pioneers - but take into account that the New Arab drinks macchiato these days and has ditched Turkish with cardamom.

And what is happening to the daughters of Israel, who, as we can infer from the testimonies of the demonstrators and the young Israelis, can no longer bear to compromise and will always prefer the Arab guys? Is it some late Shakespearean influence, with all of them, like Juliet, aspiring to forbidden love? Or have they discovered that Arab men are irresistible charmers? When did we become the princes of their dreams? Or is it that you are painting the Arab men as wolves with smooth and seductive tongues who leave kosher Red Riding Hood no choice but to fall into a trap they have cunningly laid?

You know, until now I was certain that the role of preserving the honor of women and shackling them with male bonds was something you had designated for us Arabs. What has happened that you enlightened types no longer trust in your daughters' ability to distinguish between good and bad? And why are you treating them like feckless, frivolous types whom Arab men can easily entice and lead astray?

Illustration by Amos Biderman
Amos Biderman

There is nothing to be done: that's how it's always been. In the eyes of a racist majority, the inferior minority will always have a gilded phallus. He's primitive, animal-like, closer to nature - and therefore necessarily more sexual. In your eyes, apparently, women can be beautiful, but will continue to be primitive, led by passion alone, and will be seduced by the animal's caressing voice to taste the forbidden fruit. Never mind the daughters of Israel, who, according to our demonstrators and the bearers of our racial purity, are waiting in line to fall into the robust arms of Arabs.

What worries me is the Arab daughters, the unfortunate daughters of Palestine who according to the theory we are considering can only make do with the leftovers rejected by the daughters of Israel. In the end, there will be no choice, you know. True, it might be tough in the first years, what with the usual patriarchal restrictions and tribal structure, but gradually these barriers will be shattered on both sides. The sons of Israel who have been abandoned and the Arab daughters left to their own devices will have to cooperate for the sake of the continuity of the human race.

I feel sorry for them, those who will have to compromise on all kinds of unwanted commando fighters, rejected fighter pilots, established high-tech men, not to mention marketing vice presidents, development managers and intelligence personnel who will start to court the daughters of Palestine. It will start with spins around the Arab neighborhoods; then they will go to the movies in Tira, Taibeh and Kalansua; gradually they will take out subscriptions to the opera and the Cinematheque and will insist on shopping exclusively in the Arab malls. In short order they will also want to rent apartments and some will want to shop in the heart of Arab villages.

But we will want to preserve the character of the Arab communities. We will not let anyone reduce the density or improve the education system, and we will view every attempt to built industrial parks or hospitals as a blow to the delicate fabric we have woven for years. Many Arab communities will draw up charters setting forth conditions for Jews who want to live in them, and a major demand will be for every Jewish candidate to be an Arab.

Then our side will produce militants who will claim that the Jewish men are threatening the Arab womb and tainting the sacredness of our virginal women. A sheikhs' letter will be written, we will demonstrate against young Jewish men who are pestering our girls, and some Jewish journalist who knows Arabic will write a cynical critique about it in one of the more liberal Arab newspapers. Many reader comments will be hurled against him. He will be accused of self-righteousness and unfairness because he is not willing to admit simple, true facts, namely that races must not be mixed, nations must not be mixed and divine laws must not be messed with.