Saturday night I had the privilege to stand with about 100 Israelis at HaBimah Square in Tel Aviv, against the recent hate crime in Yafo, and against the continued military occupation of Palestinian territories.
I took the 6:15 bus to Tel Aviv, and the 10:00 bus back to Beer Sheva, so it was a short trip. I met up with my friend M, who lives near HaBimah, and we walked to the rally together. A good crowd was coalescing, I’m bad at estimating these things, but I think 100 at its peak (and their . . . pets? Tel Avivians, I don’t understand you but I love you).
I didn’t agree with every chant or every sign. (I suspect the old man passing out socialist literature didn’t agree with the young anarchists leading some of the chants, although you never know.) Some chants didn’t take off, like the one calling the Palestinian hunger strikers heroes, but a different one calling for the hunger strikers to be treated with justice and equality, was shouted repeatedly.
But by far the dominant chant was “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” yehudim v’aravim mesarvim l’hiyot oyvim.” I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that while I didn’t understand the Arabic chants, the one that started with “Ism’a-il w-israe-il . . .” meant something pretty similar.
I’m not always sure what one does at a protest- my friend and I chatted, ate some belated hamentaschen, and worked hard at following the Hebrew. I took a few pictures.
After it dispersed, M was walking with me to my bus stop to get back to the central bus station to get back to Beer Sheva.
“Thanks for coming with me,” I said to M.
No, thank you for coming, said M, (who is not Jewish, and is one of my friends from school). You came all the way from Beer Sheva!
Yeah, I said, but I can’t get away from this, when jews beat up arabs on purim. You could just say . . . fuck it.
M shook her head, gave me a hug, and my bus came and I started heading home.