Two Hebrew Phrases for Two Different Nations

Let me be perfectly clear to begin with. The well-used Hebrew word “dugri” (which is really an Arabic word) is used constantly to indicate that the speaker is making very sincere statements. It is better known in Yiddish as “tuchess auf’n tisch”… more politely intended to mean placing all one’s cards on the table for all to see. Not casino-like cards which are concealed from the eyes of others but cards which can be seen by the eyes of all parties concerned in the specific matter.

For the prime minister of Israel I suggest the words “mazal tov”, good luck, and deservedly so in his successful efforts at negotiating peace with an Arab enemy whom we have never met on a field of war.

The legacy for which he so much dreams and drools will record his victorious efforts and will bring many good things to the State of Israel as well as to the people of the United Arab Emirates.

For the ruler of the seven emirates of the UAE, I suggest the wise Hebrew proverb “Chabdaihu v’Chashdaihu”, meaning “respect him and suspect him”.

These words are found in the ancient Babylonian Talmud. It tells the story of a man who came to the home of the great sage Rabbi Yehoshua. He asked Rabbi Yehoshua if he could stay the night in his home as he had no other place to go.

Neither of the two men had known the other. They were complete strangers. But Rabbi Yehoshua felt obligated to follow the Jewish laws of kindness to a stranger.

So he offered the man a room in the attic of his home but first he removed the ladder facing the window.

As it turned out in fact, the strange man was really a thief. He gathered up all the expensive goods he could find and wrapped them in his coat before heading to the window to escape. But since the clever Rabbi Yehoshua had removed the ladder, the thief fell to the ground where he was apprehended and the stolen goods were returned to the rabbi who proclaimed the two words regarding respect and suspect.

In American history, the very popular and beloved 26th president Theodore Roosevelt, offered very similar advice. “Walk softly and carry a big stick”.

The peace negotiations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will certainly benefit the governments of both countries. Business and industrial deals will profit them both. But very little if anything will change the lives of ordinary Israeli citizens.

We Israeli citizens have learned our lesson the very hard way. We are being led by a corrupt and indicted prime minister facing trial for three criminal violations and, if convicted, will have to serve a prison term.

In such an event, he might give some thought to fleeing to Abu Dhabi which has no extradition agreements with Israel.

We know only too well, sadly, that our prime minister is not a man of his word and does not always honor agreements which he makes and breaks. Ask Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in our weak and faltering government if Netanyahu’s word can be trusted. Every blind, deaf and dumb citizen of Israel knows the answer to that question.

We do not need a Rabbi Yehoshua to suspect. We all know who the thief is. And he has stolen our prized democracy from us while smiling at achieving something great to be credited to his legacy.

The leaders of the United Arab Emirates would be wise to heed the ancient advice of Rabbi Yehoshua:
“Chabdaihu v’Chashdaihu”. Respect.. yes. And suspect… absolutely.

And if they demonstrate their wisdom they will be deserving of a “Mazal Tov”… good luck.

Next in line is the government of Sudan in Khartoum. One of their spokesmen acknowledged that discussions are taking place. Another spokesman in their Foreign Ministry has poo-pood it. No arrangements have been made and, while they may be eventually announced, we have nothing to do but to wait.

If ultimately agreements can be reached between Israelis and Sudanese another page can be entered into the Netanyahu legacy to his deserved credit.

May our God have mercy upon His troubled and confused Children of Israel.

And while searching for the proper words to speak, always remember to speak them in the language of “dugri”. “Tuchess aufn tisch”.Nothing but the plain truth.

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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