From the domain of her current affairs show Israeli journalist Lucy Aharish voiced publicly what many Israelis have been thinking for a long time. Namely that Arab Israeli politicians are selling out their country and their Arab constituency by fanning the flames of discontent among Israeli Arabs at precisely the moment when any responsible politician would be doing the exact opposite.
Watch her below, it’s quite something. This is just a couple of minutes from a show that lasted longer than an hour.
This was a pretty big moment for Israel and a courageous one for Lucy. She was voicing the concerns of an Israeli public who consistently watch the actions of Israeli Arab members of the Knesset with their mouths open in shock as to vitriol spewing from them against the state of Israel. Regardless of whether she is Jew or Arab Lucy was giving voice to the feelings of Israelis when she made her challenge.
It is beautiful to watch.
But not all Israelis think so. Writing in Haaretz Roger Alpher accuses Lucy of being a token Arab reading from a preprepared script not of her own making;
“On Channel 2 she has no choice but to be the Arab woman who has been neutralized. If she wants a career in Israeli television, she doesn’t have the luxury of being anything else.”
It appears that for Alpher an Israeli Arab journalist with an opinion that doesn’t accept unyielding the criticisms and tirades of abuse hurled at the state by the various attention seeking MKs of the Arab List is a liar. For Alpher the journalist isn’t Lucy Aharish, an individual with her own opinions, thoughts and feelings but “just” a traitorous Arab journalist either bribed into towing the line by the prospects of success or bullied into it by those who hired her not because of her individual talents but simply to be an Arab with a Jewish voice on Israeli television.
Of course what Lucy really can represent (if anything at all other than herself) is what successful integration of the Arab community into wider Israeli society looks like. Born and raised in the Negev town of Dimona, she went to the local predominantly Jewish school, she studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and lives in Tel Aviv.
Were any needed she is the living proof that apartheid is not alive here in Israel. Furthermore there’s an irony to another part of Alpher’s piece;
She has argued that if during the current tensions Jews are afraid to come to Jaffa with its large Arab population, or if they distrust Arabs, Israeli Arabs including Aharish herself need to do some soul-searching and fix their mistakes. That’s because Arabs have it good in Israel, she explained. They work, study and thrive. They should speak out against the wave of terrorism and show the Jews they have it good so the Jews won’t fear them.”
Surely Ha’aretz regularly calls on Israelis to “do some soul-searching and fix their mistakes” vis a vis the Israeli Arab community, Palestinians and just about anybody else who has an issue with Israel. Is it really so terrible that an Israeli Arab would have chutzpah to stand up and hold her own community to the same standards Ha’aretz regularly holds Israelis…or Israeli Jews anyway?