The calls of the pre-dawn declare freedom

My father told me that as a small child, the first sound he heard in the mornings was the family cow, Rosanna, mooing and moseying her way down to the pasture. That's a pleasant sound; more pleasant than the first sounds I heard, shouts telling me to "get up for school" (we didn't have a cow).

My Dad heard different, less pleasant sounds, in the small Romanian village of his childhood – especially around Easter time. For me as a little kid, Easter meant a bunny and eggs, which although confusing – because I didn't think that bunnies laid eggs (what did we know in those pre-Internet days?) – wasn't particularly unpleasant. But for Dad – the church bells chiming on Easter told the faithful to scream: "Death to the Jews, the Christ-Killers!" It was the time of throwing stones at the Jewish houses. Had my father seen a poster, then or later in America, calling on people to "support Easter" – I think he would have shuddered, because of the association in his mind of Easter with anti-Jewish passion.

Today – people don't paste posters on a billboard anymore, preferring instead to "post" on the internet. Those who "post" on their FB page are "posters", but if their "post" is impossible to believe as true and moral – they should be called "imposters".

I recently saw an "imposterous" (an improper and preposterous "post" posted by an "imposter") calling on all humanity to "Support Ramadan!"


 Why should non-Muslims "support" a month of fasting by day and feasting by night? Although any reverent person would be pleased with the idea of a month of reflection and striving to be a better person – but in what way should I, as an Israeli Jew, "support" Ramadan? Not only do I not believe in it – but there are also incidents of violence, albeit scattered, that come along as a side effect. If my Muslim neighbors wish to fast for a month – they can do it fine without my support. It seemed to me a gratuitous and patronizing post, possibly inspired by an irrational yet commonly more widespread phenomenon of Islamaphobia-phobia.

Perplexed – I went to sleep the first night of Ramadan, pondering the ways that I could or should "support" Ramadan. The answer came to me in a dream – or more correctly: in a piercing sound that interrupted my dreams. At three in the morning I heard the loudspeakers calling the submissive faithful to arise and partake of the "suhur", the meal before dawn, before the fast begins. At four fifteen I hear further calls, for the first prayers about an hour and a half before sunrise.

I thought: "Gee whiz! Can't we get them to pipe down and be quiet? It's two and a half hours before sunrise!"

It was then that I realized how I – as a "settler" living close to my Arab cousins – actually already do "support" Ramadan: by not forcing them to turn off the loudspeakers!

You often read in the media about the "oppression" that Arabs in the Land of Israel supposedly suffer from the hands of the Israelis. On me – this claim of oppression makes no impression. I see happy Arabs and Jews walk the land side by side and realize that this supposed "oppression" is just an actual suppression of the true facts of life here. The Arab politicians may feel depression, because their obsession for power through suppression of Jewish national self-expression makes no impression on reality – but the regular people have a rather good life, better than in almost the entire Middle East. A glaring, or rather blaring example of this is the freedom of religion that Muslims, Bahais, Christians, Whatevers (especially them) and – of course – Jews enjoy in Israel.

So every morning now, when that three o'clock call goes out to wake up and eat before praying and fasting – I smile with the satisfaction that in Israel there is freedom of expression. That's how I "support" Ramadan – by allowing the pre-dawn call to meal and prayer supersede the moos of Rosanna the cow on the way to pasture that my father heard.