The subway wasn’t all that crowded but I was close enough to peer over her shoulder nonetheless. Instagram pictures in rapid succession flashed by on the women’s cellphone. A pretty girl puckering her lips with floating hearts; a cat wearing a hat; balloons on a beach.
Then the images stopped. A phone call came in. It read simply: “KIDS DAD.”
There was no name. The person had no identity. Just a label.
She would not answer the phone.
The woman returned to viewing pictures. And the phone rang again to the same reaction: no engagement.
The man was presumably her partner at one point in time. They were intimate in a way that she was not with most of the world. But that’s long gone.
The only tie that keeps them connected now are cherished children. They each want the children to be cared for but have very different visions of what that means. They may even believe the other person is no parent at all, but bound by blood to the child and nothing else.
If this woman will engage with the “kids’ Dad,” she will do so with a lawyer or mediator. She cannot talk to him without screams and shouts, finger pointing and cursing. The past cohabitation is a relic of ancient history. The future will forever include third party counselors as long as the children are minors. One day, once the kids are old enough, they will decide on their own with whom to engage.
So it is with the State of Israel.
These countries view the Jewish State as a temporary entity with whom to reluctantly deal with, only because of its connection to something they hold dear. Just as the woman may be forced to deal with her kids’ father, so the Arabs and Muslims begrudgingly deal with Israel.
But the hatred harbored in the holy land is often much deeper.
While the children’s mother may have claimed in court that the father beat her in an effort to gain sole custody, she likely never denied that the man was the father of the kids. But the Arabs do both, claiming they are innocents slaughtered by the Israeli army, and that Jews are Khazars, European invaders with no connection to the land. The Palestinian Arab leadership even flatly refuses to recognize Israel as the Jewish State because of what it might suggest for the land and people it believes Israel wrongfully occupies. Arabs become apoplectic, as though the ex-spouse converted children away from Islam, in an act of apostasy worthy of death.
Bring in the United Nations. Call the dozens of fellow Arab and Muslim nations to punish and isolate this “Zionist entity.” Collectively, they contend they can end the injustice.
But this land will never end its 18-year period of being a ward of parents. So the hated partner must be labelled an outsider, an interloper, a thief and a murderer. Whatever arguments can swing the court of world opinion to grant sole custody.
The Israelis and Arab/ Muslim world repeat a dance which can be seen in family courts every day. Sometimes calm, but most often contentious, parties fight over cherished children.
But the allegory is not that accurate.
The Jews are the actual natural birth mother of the holy land. They are the people who gave the land its sacred nature. Judaism is the only religion with a connection to a specific land, a land they lived in for thousands of years before the Muslim Arab invasion.
The Muslims and Arabs are not even foster parents of the land. They are conquerors who swept over the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Like Boko Haram which kidnapped hundreds of girls in Nigeria, the Muslims swept up others to be their brides against their will.
Like the Nigerian parents who got their girls back, the Jewish people have reclaimed their holy land. They have brought prosperity with them, together with freedom of religion and press not seen anywhere else in the MENA region. Remarkably, the Israelis welcomed hundreds of thousands of Arab residents to become Israeli citizens when it declared a state, a group which now accounts for 25% of the country.
But the word “Israel” and “Israelis” still cannot pass their lips, as Arab and Muslim countries call it the “Zionist entity” and Israeli Arabs prefer to call themselves “Palestinian citizens of Israel.” They will not acknowledge the Jewish State nor engage with it without mediators. A mindset for perpetual animosity in a tug-of-war over a parcel of land.
This relationship cannot yield peace with the current Arab mindset, only a bitter divorce with two parties forever fighting over children who will never grow older.
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