This is a speech given by my friend Yoni Sharon, an Israeli musician who also happens to be a right-wing religious Ashkenazi “settler” (yes I’m saying this on purpose) who lives in Judea, is fluent in Arabic and who has great relations with his Palestinian Arab neighbors.
Warning: This is not a Kumbaya story, but rather an intellectually practical one that many right-wing religious “settlers” like Yoni understand.
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Yoni is explaining how communication in the same language literally changes a lot of things for everyday life and improves relations between us, at least on a micro level.
A close friend of mine who is also fluent in Arabic does reserve duty in a special forces unit known as Maglan, and his role is to be a translator and mediator in Arabic. The moment he speaks with the Arab guys who are being dealt with, they relax, because he is speaking in their language with their nuances and understands their culture and mentality and so it cools situations fast.
I believe if our political leaders spoke and understood Arabic and the mentality, like our Mizrachi Jews do, things could actually improve.
Take what you will from the speech. It is an aspect that many people, on the Left and the Right, never considered.
By the way, here is the video that made him famous: