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A Tough Time to Live Here – Guest Post by an Israeli Christian Arab

[additional-authors]
October 28, 2015

Noora, an Israeli Arab, shares with Israelife's readers her thoughts and feelings during these difficult times, with daily terror attacks and nation-wide fear.

Hatred, violence, incitement, provocation and in the final analysis – murders, are the sad reality of my country these days. Israel is a peaceful country, where Arabs and Jews live in coexistence with common interests and mutual respect. It is wonderful to see how many rifts respect the different opinions and religions and how they coexist and live a secure life although they differ.

I, who have been born and raised in serene Haifa- a city characterized by its diverse rifts and religions that live happily and peacefully together; and I, who have always lived side by side with Jews, and have Jewish friends from childhood, the military and from university- find it hard to live in the midst of these awful incidents and to accept this awful situation forced upon us.

Israel's routine is calm; the daily life, at least in Haifa, is filled with harmony, acceptance and respect. Nonetheless, the conflict is always there, hovering over our heads. It is so easy to inflame and incite hatred in people's hearts around the country, to the extent that they forget the values of humanity and go as far as killing those who run a different lifestyle.

This current wave of incitement-led violence is intimidating.  For the first time in my life, I do not feel safe in my own city and I am just waiting for this scary situation to end. I'm avoiding leaving my house to not take redundant risks, because everyone can get hurt, Arabs and Jews, no exceptions! It is just hard to comprehend physically offending someone based on their appearance alone. This leads to a vicious circle of violence, where innocent people are being hurt because they're mistaken for terrorists. As a result, and as a try to hurt the other side based on physical appearance, the incident could end-up hurting people from your own side; same ethnicity or Israel's supporters.

War brings war. Peace brings peace. Politicians, on both sides, are hypocrite, they are supposed to lead and represent their people, but in fact, they incite hatred and violence, instead of inspiring love and peace. But it's not just the politicians who stir violence. It is also social media, where the voices of extremists are the ones being heard. Social media can be an outlet for us all to unburden ourselves, but it can easily be used as a tool to incite hatred and have a very negative effect on the peaceful and mutual living of Arab and Jews. As an Israeli Arab, it rips me apart to read racist comments online, generalizing an entire population.

I know that what is happening is terrible; no words can describe this unbearable living under daily terror attacks. We all live in a complex reality, which is sometimes being over simplified by the media. It's hard to live under attack, and even harder seeing the consequences in the form of incitement and hatred, but I strongly believe in Jews and Arabs co-existence in Israel.

I know that many people believe in this, like I do. And if you're like me, then you've probably noticed some cheering and supportive comments from both Arabs and Jews appearing on the news, between one awful news report to another. It is also encouraging to see messages calling to enforce coexistence, and love. Messages saying how Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.  And you know what? We do.

Therefore, I hope for a better future, since I truly feel that Israel is my home and that I can call “Israel” MY country.

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