Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oh oh! Arabs and Israelis Having a Cultural Exchange-Like "Dugri"

Nadene Goldfoot                            King of falafels and Queen of falafels compete in Israel 

Israelis are having a cultural exchange with the Arabs.  There's a Hebrew word - "dugri", which roughly translates as "frank" or "down to earth". It's also an Arabic word meaning "straight" or "straight ahead". It was used famously by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the UN that only by talking "dugri" could they achieve peace."  Is this why Abbas is afraid of sitting down and talking about peace with Netanyahu?  He knows that Netanyahu will be a straight-shooter, something many people count as a fault with Israelis.    After that, Israelis liked the phrase so much, they started to wear it on T-shirts.

Arabic and Hebrew share many similarities.  Both are read from right to left horizontally.  The alphabets are completely different though, but share similar names to start, like A is called alef and alif;  B is called beyth or baa.  Salaam and Shalom mean hello, good-bye and peace.   Shalom aleichem and Salaam aleikum  or   Peace be upon you.   This happens when you live closely with another culture.  Languages are full of examples. Jewish tribes lived in Medina, Saudi Arabia at the time of Mohammad and trading in goods went on between them.

TV is used as a Hebrew word, borrowed from the USA. Instead of McDonald's,  Israel  has McDavid's for a place to buy a good hamburger.  The USA has lots of things in Israel; coca cola, for one, music, but no American soldiers.

Hebrew and Arabic go back to the same root over 1,000 years ago, probably stemming from the  Phoenicians.    The following video will go over numbers, body parts, people in a family, students, and a common verb like "eat" and "gold".  as well as "peace."
Perhaps this is what the surrounding Arab nations are afraid of,  a cultural exchange.  Israel is unique, made up of so many former Westerners or Ashkenazi Jews who come along with democratic ideals.  That they are a Jewish nation is really  not so different and threatening to Islam.  Both believe in one G-d.  Are they trying to tell us that the values of Islam are so terribly different from Judaism, then? That's the way it's coming across, but really isn't so.  There are those Muslims who are all for peace and good will with Jews, which includes Israel.    The governments are radically different, though,  and it might give their populace ideas, and this must be the fear.  However, I don't think that they can blame the Arab Spring onto Israel.  More likely  we can give credit to President Obama of the USA for that.  His first act as president in 2008 was to go to Egypt and make a speech that must have led to it.

In Israel, all  students study Hebrew and English, and then have a choice between studying Arabic or French. I have seen students sitting together and helping each other with their Arabic and Hebrew studies.  It brings them together.  Signs are in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Bagels are not bagels in Israel, but you can find bagelas, which are just a little different. That was my experience in 1980-85 and I see it's true in 2008 as well.   Pita is the most popular and everyone eats felafels for breakfast, lunch and dinner when they want.  Middle East cuisine rules.  Shopping is done in outdoor markets called Shuks.  That's where one can use their bargaining skills over prices.  Then you know you're not in the USA.

I imagine that the biggest fear of all is intermarriage, and this does happen once in a while.  It's been happening since the beginning of time.  It was Ruth, the Moabite,  who married into the Jewish family of Naomi's son Mahlon. He died and Ruth then married Naomi's kinsman (probably a cousin once removed) Boaz.    She became the ancestor of King David. And where was Moab?  It was a country in south Transjordan or where Judea and Samaria (West Bank)  and Jordan are today.  They were kindred to the Israelites, descending also from Lot.  Their language was like biblical Hebrew.  During the Exodus, their land was ruled by the Amorite monarch, Sihon.  After Joshua conquered the territory,  the land was occupied by the Israelites and was the object of contention between them and the Moabites and Ammonites.  King David wound up conquering Moab.  There are probably quite a few Jews with a few Moabite genes.

 Usually the woman takes on the religion of the man,  unless the husband is not involved in his own religion, and in Israel,  most men are very much involved, Muslim or Jew.


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