What another terribly marred Passover and Easter week. Now I know why so many Israelis and some Palestinians turn their eyes away from the constant tragedy and pretend it isn’t there.
My Facebook page is raging with anger between Palestinians and Israelis. “Friends” insist on posting notes about how the “other side” is responsible for everything.
“Terrorists.” “Racist Zionists.” Hateful blather. Yes, I know that people are killing each other and frankly I blame both sides. Of course, depending on whose side you are on determines who is to blame for the latest skirmish in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF entered Gaza and Hamas responded. So many were killed. And then the hate speech ramps up from both sides.
peace, incidents like this won’t happen. In peace, IDF soldiers will
cross into the Gaza Strip with permission from the Palestinians and,
instead of firing on them, Palestinians might ask what they are doing.
MY wife (who is Jewish) and I are here in the United States planning
for our annual “Passter” dinner, watching helplessly as the situation
in Israel and Palestine deteriorates further.
“Passter” is a term you all in Israel and Palestine might not be too
familiar with in these days of continued conflict, name-calling and
blame. It’s something that can only come from peace. A combination of
Passover and Easter.
My wife and I argue about the typical
things Israelis and Palestinians seem preoccupied with these days, like
the continued bloodshed, violence, fight over land ownership, targeted
killings, terrorist attacks and the growing political division between
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama.
we don’t yell and scream. We don’t call each other names or spend our
time planning revenge. No, we look at the people in Israel and the
Palestinian territories and we shake our heads. A bunch of unruly kids.
Okay. With weapons. They should all be sent to their rooms. Disarmed.
have other important things to think about. Sunday was Palm Sunday, a
very important holiday for me as a Christian. Monday night was
Passover, a very important holiday for my wife and son as Jews.
celebrate our religious holidays together. On Palm Sunday, we decorate
eggs and then have a big dinner. Palestinians like to use one color –
purple – to reflect the “Passion of Christ.” Americans like to decorate
eggs with different colors reflecting the excessive commercialization
of a holiday. (Ah those Americans. It’s all about money!)
Relatives drop off palm fronds symbolizing... well, I don’t need to explain it again, do I?
Passover, we celebrate with a Seder. I like the way Arabs and Jews
focus on food at holidays, as well as religious prayers and custom, of
IN MY comedy routine, I like to riff on the fact that
Jews really don’t have much in the way of a food menu. That’s why the
Israelis “stole” our land. To get the food. Humous. Falafel. Stuffed
They do have a dish called cholent, I’ll give them
that. You know, it’s something Jews start cooking the night before and
eat the next day. Arabs have a similar dish. It’s called “leftovers.”
Of course, the Passover meal has many more sacred food items than my
Arab menu; matza, wrapped in a napkin; maror
(bitter herbs), which is usually horseradish that opens my sinuses; haroset
(apples, nuts and cinnamon. We Arabs and Jews have a lot of nuts among
us); the boiled egg (is it cheating to use an Easter egg?); and the one
thing we all enjoy as Arabs and Jews – roasted lamb.
the two holidays together because they often overlap and they are
really so very close. Just look at the Arabic, Hebrew and English
words. They may have the same origins, but surely sound similar.
Passover. Pessah. Passion. Purple.
We call it “Passter.”
mixing of Israeli and Palestinian words is a tradition in my
Jewish-Palestinian home. It was started by my son, Aaron (that’s what
my wife calls him. I call him Abdullah, of course). He was trying to
learn the words “Shalom” and “Salam,” more example of similar-sounding
Arab and Jewish words and he came up with “Shalam.”
Why not? It’s better than some of the words I have been reading on my Facebook page.
do have that one moment at the Hanania “Passter” dinner table when
Passover and Easter collide in a mini Arab-Israeli skirmish.
That’s when my wife always looks at me and tells my son, “Aaron, ask daddy to pass the Israeli salad.”
And I always respond with, “Abdullah, please tell mommy that we don’t
have Israeli salad. We only serve Arab east Jerusalem salad.”
Can you blame the kid for scratching his yarmulke? And then grabbing
the bowl of tabbouleh and dividing it equally, 78 percent for my wife
and 22 percent for me?
Well, Happy Easter, Hag sameah
and a happy “Passter” from the Hanania household; what the future of
Palestinian-Israeli relations might someday look like not just in our
home but in Israel and a future Palestinian state.
(God willing). And yes, yehi ratzon
(same in Hebrew). I like to cover both bases.Named Best Ethnic Columnist in
America by New America Media, the writer is a Palestinian-American
columnist and peace activist. He can be reached at www.YallaPeace.com