Arab writers call for learning from Israel’s technology, democracy and morality

Despite the fact that the Arab media often uses harsh and insulting rhetoric describing Israel or Jews, occasional articles by their intellectuals praise Israel for its achievements.

May 2, 2014 02:15
2 minute read.

Lawmakers gather for a session in the Knesset.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Despite the fact that the Arab media often uses harsh and insulting rhetoric describing Israel or Jews, occasional articles by their intellectuals praise Israel for its achievements.

Such articles mainly compliment Israel for its hi-tech and urge Arab countries to learn from it, explains a new report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which compiled these types of pieces over the past year.

Abdullah Bakheet, a Saudi columnist, tweeted last April that unlike the Arabs, “the Jews help create civilization and are not [merely] consuming it.”

“The culture [whose technology] we use to communicate, whose air conditioners we sleep under, whose hospitals we are treated in, and whose cement roofs we pray under, is the culture of the Jews and the Crusaders,” he said.

In February and March of last year, Kuwaiti writer Omar Altabtabaee published three pro-Israel articles, which explained how Israel gained superiority over the region despite its lack of resources.

“Have you ever asked yourself how the small entity called Israel managed to hold the entire world in its palm? Instead of continually cursing the entire world, have you tried to understand how Israel made all those achievements in all areas?” he wrote.

Israel attracts great Jewish minds from all around the world, said Altabtabaee according to the report, adding in another article that “Israel is an entity that lives beside us, has a climate similar to ours, and if we look a bit further we will discover that this entity has no natural resources – and despite all this, it surpasses us!... This entity knows that education is the basis of society and the basis of its culture and unity.”

Egyptian writer Ali Khamis wrote in the Al-Wafd newspaper during the rule of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, “Jewish revolutions are scientific and Arab ones are tragic. This is the painful truth and the bitter harvest that we have reaped from the winds of the Arab Spring that tore us apart.”

Iraqi writer Mahdi Majid Abdallah wrote an article, titled “Arabs and Muslims should learn from Israeli morality,” on the Elaph website last year.

“I have suffered and still suffer from emotional complexes I inherited from the Arab and Islamic society in which I have lived for a long time.

[These complexes] planted the idea in the heart of society that the Jews are the most lowly and cowardly people and that no one believes them; that they are traitorous, hypocritical, narcissistic, and strive to corrupt nations and peoples; [that they are] a people that anger Allah, and a jealous and resentful people that does not wish well for mankind.... As time passed, and after I met a group of Jewish men and women up close, the fog lifted and the basic assumptions that were solid facts in my mind crumbled and quickly became lies,” he said, according to MEMRI.

Abdallah goes on to mention that Palestinians get medical treatment in Israel. “Would any Arab country agree to treat Israelis this way? Of course [not].”

He also praised Israeli democracy.

“When you watch sessions of the Israeli Knesset, you can see the freedom that Arab MKs enjoy, [despite] their harsh criticism of the Israeli government and even the entire Israeli regime.”

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