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Finally, embracing the Israelis on the other side

Sara Al-Nuaimi
Israel Hayom – 24 August ’2020

Our relationship with Israel is one of timeless harmony. My caring for Palestinians means urging to stop trying to destroy Israel and instead come to terms with it.

It has always been my dream to visit Israel, the mystical, forbidden, and imaginative place. What would it feel like to enter a synagogue, to see a candle-lit menorah, to hear the psalms, to get inspired by a new language, to allow new words and new creative emotional experiences to take place? To sing, dance the horah, and celebrate with Israelis the remarkable turn of a new millennium?

As an Emirati woman, in the past, some would react with, “Are you okay? What’s wrong with you?” Perhaps the oddest response I have received was, “Are you a Shiite?” (I am Sunni.) Thinking of all the positive aspects of Israel in a way disintegrated all the false beliefs pounded into society that limited my immersive being.

When Arabs deny the Holocaust, they in some way deny my own existence that upholds an identity that wants to be everything Arab, but also everything new, expanding, global, universal. There is an elated feeling of inspired hope, of love and freedom when parts of an old traditional construct start to melt away, yet there’s also a safe deep current of satisfaction in knowing that Israel’s narrative is also built on traditions like our own, and there’s no more the fear of having to cut cords with our past in order to look ahead.

Our relationship with Israel is one of timeless harmony. The richness in knowing that we are larger than belief is the greatest richness in life. This is what acknowledging Israel means to me. Carrying a heart free of enmity is the most meaningful thing in life. I marvel at the possibilities and the consequences. If only I can stand right in front of an Israeli bakery right now and enjoy a freshly baked bagel.

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