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What People Don't Get About Israel v Palestine? It's Not About Race

Spend any time in the Shook (the massive marketplace in the city of Jerusalem), and you'll quickly learn two things. One, that most Israelis are very serious about business and business dealings; and two, that Israel is as much a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country as any other modern state.

In the Jewish quarter (the shook is divided loosely into four quarters) you have an Orthodox Jewish shop, but right next door is a fully secular Jewish shop. Oh, and on the other side of that? A Christian (or Messianic) Jewish shop.

Continue down the way a bit and you hit the Arab quarter. Please note, I didn't say Palestinian quarter, I said Arab quarter. These are Arab Israelis, they aren't Jews, but they are Israelis.

In this quarter you'll find Egyptian Coptic Israelis, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Turks, and all manner of other ethnic backgrounds. You'll even find some shops owned by those who consider themselves, "Palestinian," whether Israeli by nationality or not.


Here people hustle and bustle about, attempting to make a living and to care for their families. Jews, Arabs, Coptics, "Palestinians," and tourists all move freely about the shook and buy from, and sometimes sell to, everyone. The Dollar, or more appropriately the Shekel, is king.

Interestingly enough, you'll also find the same dynamic everywhere you go. Sure, there are some places where different ethnic groups live in community, similarly to everywhere else in the world, but I never once saw anyone being asked for papers or be accosted by police while I was in Israel proper.

I watched people who were clearly Arab Muslims (their dress is a dead giveaway) walk right down the same street as an Orthodox Jew. I stood in the middle of the city and heard the Muslim calls to prayer, nobody batted an eye when the Muslims bowed down to pray. Those who weren't Muslim? They just went on about their day. No grumbling, no cursing, no spitting. None of the "evil" and "racist" "apartheid" type behaviors that people have been led to believe happen in Israel.

In fact, the only "racist" thing I saw happen was when our tour guide was refused entrance into the Palestinian controlled area of Bethlehem because he was a Jew. No, I'm being quite serious, in 10 days, that was the only restricted movement of our entire tour team which consisted of one Jew, one Arab, and one Russian Jew who had immigrated.

You could also tell a difference in how uncomfortable our Arab guide was. He was an Arab Christian, and he was clearly on guard the entire time we were in Bethlehem. Other than that, he was one of the nicest and most easy going people I've ever met.

Which leads me to my point. People attempt to make this about the Jews vs. the Arabs, but honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. This is about a multi-cultural and secular Israeli government being rejected by religious zealots from Hamas who want to see Sharia Law forced on the state and to be the controlling power who will create an Islamic State. The Israelis, Jews, Arabs, Coptics, Turks, Russians, et al, don't want that, and are generally happy with the job that the government does of creating an environment where all Israelis are welcome, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

This isn't the "good guy" Palestinians fighting for cultural rights or their ethnic identity against the "bad guy" Jews who want to push them out and set up a theocratic state. That's LITERALLY 180 degrees from the truth.

Is there a faction of the Jewish people who want that? Yes, but they are a very small minority compared to the multitude of others, and they generally are not well accepted by the Israeli populace as a whole. Hey, every country has their extremists.

This is all about the Palestinian's ability to bring Israel under Sharia Law and to add it to the "Muslim World." That's what it was in the 1920s, it's what it was in the 1950s, it's what it was in the 1990s, and it's what it is today.

Remember, when you say Israeli, you're not talking strictly about the Jews, Judaism, or Jewish culture, but when you say Palestinians, you are talking about a generally, single ethnic, monotheistic (Islam), and solo-cultural group.

They want to take Israel backwards. The people don't want it, and that's why they fight against it.

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