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Working It Out

Hey kids! In case you live in a cave, you already know that Jews hate Muslims and Muslims hate Jews and the whole planet is probably going to implode in a black puff of dust because these fucking guys can't just suck it up and shake hands.
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Κείμενο Yaniv Edry
1.9.06

Hey kids! In case you live in a cave, you already know that Jews hate Muslims and Muslims hate Jews and the whole planet is probably going to implode in a black puff of dust because these fucking guys can’t just suck it up and shake hands. If we don’t get Heebs and Towelheads shooting the shit asap, we’re all in trouble. So we decided to go for an interaction experiment between Jewish Israelis and Arabs in Israel. Arabs in Israel, you say? Yes, out of about 6.7 million Israelis, 1.2 million are Muslim Arabs. We went to two areas about five minutes away from each other: Jaffa, the Arab part of southern Tel–Aviv and Florentine, which is… full of Jewish people, like the rest of Tel-Aviv. We took two Jewish kids to Jaffa and had them play with Arab children for a day. Then we took the Arab children back to the Israelis’ apartment to play there. MEET THE POSSE! John-John is an eight-year-old Jewish kid. He loves the Black-Eyed Peas and playing with his PlayStation. His sister Hadar is almost four. Jamil is Arab-Israeli and nine years old. He only listens to Koran music at home. Jamilah is Arab-Israeli and eight years old. She has the longest, most beautiful hair ever. Etaf is Arab-Israeli and eight years old. He was crazy about Hadar. Forbidden love much? Abed is Arab-Israeli and nine years old. He is Jamil’s sidekick. He can’t write, as he doesn’t go to school. PHOTOS BY YANIV EDRY, COORDINATED BY ALEXA KAROLINSKI & HECTOR MUELAS

8:30 AM: Jaffa is the Arab part of Tel Aviv. It’s a neighborhood filled with crime, unemployment, and racial tension. But the bad vibes were lessened a little when the girls said “Salam,” and “Shalom,” to each other. The Arab-Israeli girls immediately adopted Hadar into their group. So far, so good.

9:00 AM: The newly founded “Jew crew” on the way to Florentine. Although the Israeli kids spend a lot of time in Jaffa, interacting with Arab children is a first. Here they are mucking about in a van.

10:07 AM: Back in Jaffa. John-John said, “I was in Jaffa and I met Jamil and he introduced me to his friends and he showed me the neighborhood. Then he showed me where he plays and we traveled and we climbed.”

10:16 AM: Fucking leg it! Throughout the course of its bloodstained history, Jaffa has been invaded and occupied by such luminaries as Richard the Lionhearted, Napoleon, and of course lots of Jews. Scenes like this, where Arabs and Jews are clambering up rocks to get away from each other, have been repeated literally gazillions of times in Jaffa.

10:45 AM: Oh shit. It’s kicking off. They’ve only been with each other for a little over two hours and already they’re… oh wait… this is just an enthusiastic game of rock-paper-scissors in front of Jamils’s house. Older Jews and Arabs prefer to settle their differences with a game called sniper-bomb-on-a-bus-torture-execution.

11:25 AM: At John-John’s playing soccer on PS2, which is a first for Jamil and Abed. Arabs aren’t big on computer games because they make Allah mad and that means you have to burn in flames for eternity and forgo all the sex with multiple virgins. Not even a quick go on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is worth that.

12:30 PM: Back on the street for a real game of soccer. The girls were destroying the boys, score-wise.

1:05 PM: Back at the port of Jaffa again to watch the sea and catch some fish, or at least some debris from things that might have been set on fire, exploded, and bombed.

1:15 PM: Exploring the rusty ships at the harbor. This is the part of Jaffa that John-John has never seen. The kids wouldn’t know this as they don’t really watch the news but it looks like Gaza, which isn’t that far off and where more than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in under a month.

2:01 PM: The Arab–Israeli kids playing Alien vs. Predator in the hallway of the Jewish-Israelis’ apartment. Note Predator’s pais (AKA Jewish hair ringlets).

2:20 PM: Here we go again… Arab and Israeli boys fighting.

2:47 PM: The kids kept a diary of their experiences the whole day, the Arab-Israelis in Arabic and the Jewish-Israelis in Hebrew. John-John wrote, “I feel it is very good for them and they understand the games here and I am having fun with them.”

3:04 PM: This is Hadar’s new drawing buddy. The Arab children drew with tons of symbolism ranging from houses and suns to hearts and flowers. Hadar was more into abstract images, influenced by her dad who’s an artist. Pretty boring.

3:20 PM: Mmmm, that looks tasty. Living in a poor area isn’t much fun but fringe benefits like drinking water out of a piece of rubber piping lying in a pool of mud are manifold. As John-John slurps away, Abed is behind him preparing a fishing line—to garrote the unsuspecting Jew, his race’s sworn enemy. (Just kidding, just kidding.)

3:35 PM: Jamilah and Efaf loved Hadar’s Barbie collection, mostly because of the fact that Arab children are forbidden to play with Western thingamabobs like this by their parents.

3:44 PM: Efaf dressed Hadar up like a princess and then left her on her own so they could get on with playing with her Barbie dolls while she wandered around totally bewildered about what the kvetch was going on.

4:00 PM: More fucking around in abandoned burned-out stuff. John-John said, “The Arabs are very nice and they are good people too and they did not do anything to me or me to them, so there is no reason why we should not get along. Maybe there are people who are afraid and don’t like Arabs, but I don’t have a problem…”

4:30 PM: Check out the symbolism. A wall. An Arab. A Jew. Errr, blue sky with some clouds in it. Errr, the sky is blue for the Jew and the clouds represent the Arab? The Arab is raising his right hand in victory over the Jew and the Jew is in the part of the picture with the most clouds in it. Wow, metaphors are hard.

4:49 PM: As we draw near the end of the day, the kids start to go crazy and desperately try to eke out as much fun from this situation as possible before they head back to the grim reality of daily life. Jamil gasped, “I watched cable TV and I liked to play on the computer. They even have chairs, an oven, and a washing machine!”

5:00 PM: Last round on the PlayStation for the Arabs before they return to the spartan existence that their religion demands. In closing, Jamil told us, “I’m glad I met John-John and that he knows me the same way I know him. Thank you very much.” You’re welcome, world!