Sunday, June 15, 2003

Me unskillfully interviewing the girls, having just woken up from an unplanned nap (me not the girls)
This afternoon I lay myself down on these Indian mattresses things we have on the living room carpet, just for a few minutes, while I waited for the plumber (This is not going where you think it is. You should be ashamed of yourself!). It's the building's plumber, not mine. He has to do something with the building's pipes that run through my apartment. An hour later I woke up to find he hadn't arrived. It goes without saying that when we made this date I forgot to take his phone number. I'm very busy all this week and his not turning up is very inconvenient, because he'll probably just arrive some other time, when we least want him. In the waking up fuzzy brain mode these thoughts hazily passed through my mind.

Then I started thinking about the debate about Israeli kids hating Arabs that went on here in response to this, which I only discovered because Jonathan Edelstein linked to me and it turned up on my sitemeter. I've been thinking I should write about it, but it's such a tiresome subject.

I donned my serious journalist hat (just kidding, I don't have a serious journalist hat and even if I did my girls wouldn't be taken in for a second) and asked Eldest (nearly 12) if she hated the Arabs (I'm not sure if I asked about the Arabs or just Arabs). She said she hated Arabs who kill us and Arabs who want to fight us and want to kill us and want to throw us out of here. She said she didn't hate Arabs who want peace. She said that not all Arabs want to fight us and kill us. Then she said that on second thoughts maybe they do. She continued to develop this line of thought, in a far more eloquent fashion than I have managed to recreate, demonstrating her understanding of the complexity of the question. I think the bottom line was that she didn't hate Arabs; she hated people who wanted to harm us. Eldest is a very gentle child. I felt no real hatred in her voice or manner. I doubt if she is capable of a burning hatred. She was very matter of fact about it, checking her views in a serious grown up manner (I often think she is far more mature than I am). Then she asked in a giggly voice if this was for the blog. I asked her if it was okay for me to publish it and she said it was.

Then I asked Youngest (8) if she hated the Arabs. She asked me indignantly what sort of question that was. Then she said that if it was for my blog she refused to answer. Clever kid.

So there you are. Never underestimate people just because they are shorter and younger than you. And don't jump to hasty conclusions based on silly newspaper articles.

Being a mother in Israel with two reasonably sociable daughters, I know one or two or a few dozen (at least) Israeli kids, other than my own, quite well, and I am quite secure in my assertion that the newspaper article quoted in Ampersand's post is one of the silliest I've read in a while. The title of the article - "Psychological Study of the Mentality of Jewish Children" is particularly silly. Even in this hazy, post-afternoon nap fuzzy brain state I am in, I fail to see how serious bloggers, or even silly bloggers, could read such tripe and take it seriously.

And now, if you don't mind, those Indian mattresses things are beckoning. I say flow with the haziness. When hazy, nap some more.

You can quote me on that.