Aug. 30, 2019
- I Embrace My Israeli Arab Identity – Ali Adi
The Arab citizens of Israel will admit that they prefer the Israeli government to an Arab one, even if from their comfortable positions at Israeli universities they prefer to call it “the occupation.” My “Arabness,” the language, the music, and the tradition, are an inseparable part of my identity, and I would like to be proud of and feel connected to them. But governments in the Arab world are tainted by corruption and tribal alliances.
So I embrace my Israeli identity: I am an Israeli Arab because it’s important to me to distinguish myself from the wider Arab culture. It’s important to me to turn my back on what is happening in Syria and what happened in Lebanon and the story of Egypt’s tragic fall. Because when I’m Israeli, I can feel proud sometimes.
Recently, I have seen archived material about the First Lebanon War. Despite the fact that stories about a war don’t exactly warm the heart, I am filled with pride to hear and see Lebanese residents, including Palestinian refugees, express faith in Israeli soldiers and ask them for protection from other actors in the civil war. The truth, which the entire Arab world already acknowledges, that the Israeli army is more humane and considerate than the Arab armies, fills me with pride.
I am Israeli and these are my values. Valuing human life, liberty, dignity, and people’s ability to support themselves are values that I would want to see expressed in my name, from Israel to the rest of the Middle East, and beyond it. We have an opportunity to build shared values with the Jews, ones that will make us stand out from the rest of the Arab world. We owe that to ourselves and should do so proudly, standing straight, with our heads held high. (Israel Hayom)