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Comments made by tbzohar

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

My review of the current status of Israeli Arabs will not be complete without mentioning their participation in the defense effort. Started at the establishment of Israel in 1948, and emphasized after the 6 day war, various Israeli minority have been diligently serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. While it has been common knowledge that the Druz, Cherquesie, and Bedouin communities have been faithfully participating in Israel armed forces, forming battalions and brigades of their own, the Arab community's participation has been somewhat kept in the dark.

For decades a steady trickle of Israeli Arabs has been volunteering to serve in the military, some making it higher on the officers' ranks. Most of these volunteers are Christians from the prosperous cities I have mentioned in my review of the Israeli Arab status. Apparently quite a few of them agree with my assessment of their situation to the point of feeling obliged to give back and contribute to the Israeli society who embraces them as equal brothers. However, a new phenomenon is reaching the global media, and general awareness. Muslim Israeli Arabs are starting to realize that they should be making the ultimate contribution to the state that gives them so much, and they chose to volunteer. One case, who is featured in the following Ynet correspondence, has made this decision, and took it the furthest. No special terms, no unique minority unit, but rather the most famous Infantry 51st batalion of Golani. here's what he said:

"Some friends were shocked and others asked me why I would waste three years of my life, but I explained to them that I live in a country where if you want to receive you also have to give," he said. Horani did not settle for "regular" service in one of the units staffed by minority groups, but rather from the start he went for one of the units that most strongly represents the IDF's character: Golani's 51st Battalion.

"At first it was weird. I was asked over and over about my decision, but at no point did I feel any racism," Horani explained. "I am enjoying every minute with the gang. I completed basic training and the company commander's course with honors, and even during my toughest moments, after my mom passed away, I chose to shorten my time at home and go back to being with my friends in the unit."

Here's the full article on Ynet:,73...

As to the treating of Arabs in Israel, Horani has been invited to represent his "Jewish" Golani 51st battalion at the chief of staff Hanukkah, an event that mearly a few distinguished soldiers have had the privilege to attend. Can't see that happening to a Jew in any Arab Muslim country. Can you?

September 24, 2010 at 9:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

As an executive in one of the most prominent Insurance conglomerate in Israel - Clal Insurance - I've had the opportunity to work closely with hundreds of Arab insurance agents, Agencies, and off course Arab clients. I would frequently visit them, plan and present, and go out to sales and business meetings. I was almost a household resident with the largest Israeli Arab insurance agency - The Baranse Agency. From their offices in Nazareth and Jerusalem, Said and Walid Baranse ran a successful network of agents to such success that they became the national model for all agents and agencies Jewish included. The Baranses and their representatives joined all other qualifying agents on the company's incentive trips to Europe and the far east, and were awarded and honored with all of the others at the annual events and gala dinners.

As any other western nation, Israel has been in a constant struggle to enlarge its middle class, and improve its residents' standard of living. The standard of living in the Arab dominated cities that I mentioned is considerably higher then in Jewish towns such as Shderot, Yerucham, Migdal Haemek, Beth Shean, Etc'. The gap between urban and rural areas is no different within the Jewish or Arab communities, as it is around the globe. There is no restriction on Arab building and expansion with the proper authorization, so there is no request for "freezing" any Arab building in Israel. Considering the fact that Arabs all around this little state has been threatening Israel with elimination for decades, the Arab population in Israel is extremely well taken care off. Even though there is a much smaller ratio of tax payers in the Arab community, Arabs are eligible for social security benefits as every other Israeli is as well.

In summary, contrary to the general propaganda driven impression, Israeli Arabs are treated in Israel as equally as any population is treated across the free western civilization. Moreover, contrary to outside conceptions coexistence withing the Israeli borders is a daily reality, and dialogue it a natural way of life. As I mentioned many times before, the Israeli Palestinian conflict is not a result of the lack of interpersonal communication, but rather of a global Islamic agenda. On the personal level Israelis, Arabs, and Palestinians, are interlaced daily, and conduct business and social interaction regularly. This is why all direct peace talks have never succeeded and never will. We all know how to define "repeating the same behavier expecting different results".

September 23, 2010 at 10:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

As you mentioned, Israeli Arabs are considered full citizens, and there is no difference legally or otherwise between them and any other ethnic or religious group. As you know there are both Muslim and Christian Arab citizens of Israel, which makes the Arab community diverse as well. Israel has enacted its own affirmative action programs during the 70s and 80s, achieving greater participation of Arab students and researchers from all walks of life.

To this very day, the academic affirmative action program is shaping the Israeli higher education face, achieving a much higher ratio of Arab students then their ratio in the Israeli general population. This successful affirmative action program led to a fantastic reality where in some cases the Arab professionals exceed their ratio of Jewish ones. As an example I would mention that certain hospitals, especially in the north and south of Israel, have achieved an almost equal number of Arab medical personnel (including physicians) as the Jewish. Universities all over Israel are full of Arab researchers and professors, and the business community is flourishing with Arab business owners. Contractors, Auto Shops, Restaurateurs, and financial professionals, are only a few of the more prominent ventures that are vastly held by Israeli Arab population.

From Nazareth in the north, to central Jaffa, Ramla, Lod, and Jerusalem, cities are not only displaying Arab integration and coexistence, but are latterly dominated by a thriving Israeli Arab population. As my own family is heavily residing around Haifa, I get to spend considerable time in and around that city. I can attest that during all my last visits most of our family celebrations and otherwise dinners out were held at Arab owned restaurants, located in the most lucrative places in the city. But the more important point is that most of the diners in almost all cases were Arab as well, so we are not talking of Arabs catering to the rich Israelis at all.

September 23, 2010 at 10:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

To understand the challenge we need to remember 9/11 and the dispute over the building of the mosque at ground zero. Regardless of your opinion in this matter you will agree that it has nothing to do with any dispute over land in the middle east. Notice how this local municipal dispute over a piece of land and a religious building evolved into a full flege national issue. It only took a few month to produce a few radical Americans who are threatening in 2010 with Kuran burning. This is the effect of radical Islam in conjunction with the destruction of an modern American western "sacred temple".

The new reality since 2001 should make it clear who actually holds the keys to peace in the middle east. One can easily notice that whoever was able to pull 9/11 off would not let that Arab Israeli dispute resolve. That would not be in their interest considering their obvious agenda. So all one needs to do to figure out the truth is examine the daily reality of contribution to the world. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors. You will not be able to figure out the Arab Islamic world, so give it up.

Just ask yourselves who put up the first medical tent and was the first to treat wounded civilians in Haiti? The Israeli team avoided flying the flag to avoid hurting anyone's feelings, while saving more lives then anyone else. Now ask yourselves why is there never a Saudi, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, or any of the Emirates medical tent? Do they not have medical staff? Do they not have tents? maybe they do not have the funds that Israel has for such a voluntary mission? You decide...

Tibi Zohar, T.E.A.M

September 20, 2010 at 7:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

It seams to me very redundant to seat comfortably in San Diego California in the air conditioned studios of KPBS and have a civilized discussion about the most complicated conflict in the world. Mr. Barghouti doesn't mind allowing the Jews the right to reside wherever they please as long as they are not governing. He is against religions all together so the Middle East should line up, give up religions, and live together happily ever after. Meanwhile the Californian audience is having its feel good moment of the day, and is wondering how come the two debaters can agree with one another while the actual sides can't get along.

We are talking about the same Californians that have one of the highest litigation rate in the world. Anywhere from disputes over a joint fence between two homes to disputes over Mal practice. All one needs to do in California is visit local courtrooms any day to be able to experience countless legal, moral, and ethical disputes daily. The courts are collapsing under the workload imposed on them by millions of "why can't they get along" Californians. For some odd reason they can't connect the dots when it comes to their petty rivalries.

Here's the unfortunate truth. It is not up to the Israelis and Palestinians to solve this dispute. The seemingly obvious dispute over land was almost resolved many time before, however when it came to implementation it was derailed by the fundamental Islam. Discussing peace with the Palestinians is no different then trying to close a deal with the cashier at the supermarket. They just don't have the authority to sign on the dotted line and implement it.

When one hears about the Hamas versus Fatah one might imagine two different and separate entities. The reality on the ground is that even though each governs a different Palestinian territory they are not separated that way withing the actual population. Families are actually torn apart throughout the West Bank as well, having siblings belong to different organizations. many of whom are represented in every one. Imagine your own family being torn apart between all these revelries to the point of daily siblings fatal clashes.

September 20, 2010 at 7:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )