A MAN sleeps on a highway, perchance to dream.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
At nine p.m. the nurse at Hadassah Mt. Scopus gave me a strong painkiller. Just before that hallucinatory medication took effect, I heard the prime minister say something like, “If Arabs can live anywhere in Israel, certainly Jews can live everywhere the land of Israel.” That velvet voice must have triggered my dream, or was it perhaps even a vision? Actually, it was a series of dreams, or even visions.
Dream One: a convoy of 12 heavily laden trucks with an Arab father wearing a kaffiyeh, and Arab mother in dark robes and a dark headscarf, six or seven children of various ages and sexes, all seated on the household furniture, enough for a four- or five-room home. It is two a.m. An owl hoots. A clock sounds the hour.
The convoy halts in front of a tall apartment building in Ramat Aviv Gimmel. Tenants from the building and many others from neighboring buildings line the street as the hairy movers begin unloading the furniture. They carry each piece with care, taking each truck load to its specific apartment.
Lead by our former president, Shimon Peres, the inhabitants are all singing “hevenu shalom aleikhem.”
They throw rice and candies and red and white rose petals at their new neighbors and shout “brukhim habaim,” “mabruk” and other expressions of welcome.
The Arab and Jewish children exchange toys. Cameras flash and newsmen and women in a bevy of languages stand before their cameramen earnestly reporting the event. One or two local men jeer. The New York Times headline: “Jews Jeer while Arabs Move in the Dead of Night.”
Dream Two: a convoy of 12 heavily laden trucks with an Arab father wearing a kaffiyeh, and Arab mother in dark robes and a dark headscarf, seven or eight children of various ages all seated on the household furniture, enough for a four- or a five-room home. It is two a.m. An owl hoots. A clock sounds the hour.
The convoy enters Mea She’arim. The police are there by the dozen. A few hundred Neturei Karta members, bearded and side-locked men in golden and silver kaftans, welcome them with open arms. Their rabbi shouts: “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! Less Zionists.
Hate the State.”
A howling crowd of young boys and girls wear black shirts with gold-embroidered labels which say in Hebrew: “Community Watch.” These young unwitting (?) supporters of Kahane throw pellets and stones. “No mixed marriages” they yell, “no Arabs in any of our neighborhoods.” A young yeshiva student turns to their leader and says in Yiddish, “Mixed marriages, are you crazy? We don’t even marry Sefardim.”
The young stone-throwers are backed up by longer- range artillery: hundreds of Reb Arehle’s hassidim, throwing firecrackers and squibs. Somebody fires up a garbage bin.
The police are trying to figure out who is doing what and to whom. The mounted police wait for orders, their horses restless and nervy. The Arab children wince. The word “racist” echoes from the microphones of delighted reporters. Again, the Israel they love to portray.
Dream Three: a convoy of 12 heavily laden trucks with an Arab father wearing a kaffiyeh, an Arab mother in dark robes and a dark headscarf, eight or nine children of various ages all seated on the household furniture, enough for a five- or six-room home. The young girls wear headscarves too. It is two a.m. An owl hoots. A clock sounds the hour.
At the settlement of Afteret, Rabbi Avriel and Rabbi Diskin stand in their talitot and top hats bearing platters of bread and salt, the traditional Middle Eastern welcome. Around them, the town’s elders and council members distribute letters of introduction to the community and its bylaws. They are printed in Hebrew only. Fifty shouting hilltop boys and girls link arms – of course separately – and dance a hora around the 12 vehicles shouting: “They shall not pass. Ils n’y passeront pas. No passeron.”
The Gush Emunim local security men conduct their new neighbors to their homes. All are wreathed in smiles. A group of American immigrants stand outside the new neighbors’ homes. They sing “This Land is your Land, this Land is my Land.”
At 6 a.m., as usual, the nurse woke me. Someone had a TV set blaring. I heard the velvet voice of our prime minister saying... .The author held senior positions in the offices of prime ministers David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol. He served two terms as world chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA and as a member of the Jewish Agency-WZO executives. An author, his latest book is fiction: A Tale of Two Avrahams.