Esor Ben-Sorek

My Brother Abdol

After reading 839 of my published articles, readers by this time are well-acquainted with my sentimentality, my emotions, my opinions and my stupidity.

My late beloved wife who was my inspiration and who, in her dying months encouraged me to keep on writing, respected the first three qualities but not the fourth. She would always tell me to write from the heart and the mind, but always to avoid stupidity.

She and I frequently disagreed on several difficult opinions. One of them was our attitudes regarding Arabs. She had childhood memories of being harassed by Arabs every day as she walked from her home in the Shchunat Montefiore section of Tel-Aviv, crossing the fields of Sarona on her way to school.

She remembered the tragic murder of the friendly Arab watchman at her family’s textile factory in 1945 at the hands of pro-Mufti Arabs who revenged themselves on Arabs who were friendly to Jews.

My only Arab acquaintance was Raffoul Ghawi, the Building Superintendent of Jerusalem’s world-famed YMCA opposite the King David Hotel.

While I vote in elections, I prefer voting for individuals rather than for political parties. I respect an individual rather than a political group. With the group there are too many fallacies whereas with the individual the qualities are known. I prefer to see the individual as an equal to me.

All this brings to my heart and mind a brilliant and positive article which I read three times yesterday (with tears of great joy) written in perfect English in TOI by a young Arab man from Abu Ghosh, only 6 kilometers from the center of Jerusalem.

In his article, “My Name is Abdol” the writer, Abdullah Abed Al-Rahman, described with passion his ideal hopes for peaceful and friendlier relations between Arabs and Jews, all citizens of the State of Israel.

He proudly wrote of his love and loyalty for his country… the State of Israel And of most important details to the readers, it should and it MUST be recalled and forever remembered that his home village of Abu Ghosh was the only Arab village in Palestine which NEVER attacked or assaulted Jews.

When the roads to Jerusalem were blocked during the 1948 war by the Jordanian Legion, the Arab villagers of Abu Ghosh did everything possible to help the Jews, even providing them with food that was almost impossible to buy elsewhere.

It is therefore no mystery why Israeli Jews flock to Abu Ghosh for the world’s best hummus and Middle East delicacies. It is our small way of thanking them for their great kindness and friendship to us.

Because I eat kosher food, I have never tasted the kebabs of Abu Ghosh but their hummus with freshly baked pitot is the best in the world and won its fame in the Guinness World Book of Records

Abdol (Abdullah Abed Al-Rahman) and I have never met. He does not know me nor do I know him. He may never read these humble words of my gratitude.

Nevertheless, I call him my brother. I embrace his name and hope for the day when I can embrace him, brother to brother.

His love for Israel is more cherished and valued than by the thousands of Israeli Jews, sabras and immigrants, who never stop finding criticism in all the cracks and corners of our democracy.

I have loved the Druze community passionately , (a people different from the Palestinian or Israeli Arabs but united by a common language) since I first arrived in Daliyat-al-Karmil in 1956 on a cross-country motorcycle trip with my dearest friend in Rishon.

By some “accident” we arrived in that Druze village at the time of a wedding. We asked only for water. Instead, we were invited to be guests at the wedding. I have never for a moment ever forgotten the warm reception and immense hospitality the Druze villagers gave to us.

A kindness from one heart enters into other hearts. Maybe one day I will be blessed to break bread (pita) with my brother Abdol in the Lebanon restaurant or in the Abu Ghosh restaurant (where I have eaten before) on my way to Jerusalem.

But this time it will be different. Rather than just stopping for a dish of hummus in Abu Ghosh, I would like to stay for a full day or two in one of their local hotels in order to better know the beauty of the village and its people.

Perhaps I can share a dish of hummus with my treasured brother Abdol Perhaps I can share an embrace.

Abdullah’s beautifully-written article brings hope to the heart. If only there were many more Israeli Arabs who shared his views, peace would be born among us and we can all break bread (pita) together.

Insh’Allah ! Toda raba Abdol. Shukran achi Abdullah.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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