Talking With Abdul
My father called me. He asked me to fix a leaking kitchen drain pipe in his apartment building on the northwest side of Chicago. I agreed to work on it that afternoon. I enjoyed plumbing jobs. They gave me a sense of satisfaction of a job well done, and they paid real good too.
I drove my van to the apartment building, arriving at about 1pm. I rang the doorbell to the apartment on the 1st floor. Vicki, a beautiful peurto rican woman, opened the door. I explained I was here to fix the leak. Her husband, Abdul let me inside.
I remembered seeing them before. I first met them when they came to see the apartment when it was for rent. I was painting it when they stopped by to look at it. I remember how quiet Abdul was. Almost too quiet.
I started working on the kitchen sink pipes. I removed them and started cutting new pipes to fit. Abdul sat down by the kitchen table. Vicki left and didn't come back while I was there.
As I worked, Abdul watched and surprisingly started to talk. At first his questions were about my father and what kind of business we had together. Abdul knew I was Jewish American. I wondered when the hatred would leak out of his mouth. Then the questions and talk moved to where he was from and what family he had.
Abdul told me he had a brother in Egypt, another brother in Kuiwait and a third brother in France. Abdul's parents lived in a Gaza refugee camp. Abdul left Gaza when he was in his early 20's and he never came back.
We started talking about the Israeli-Arab conflict. Abdul assured me he was Palestinian. I asked him why don't the Arabs want to live in peace? Israel's Arabs are the best educated, and have the highest living standards of all the Arab world. Why don't the Israeli Arabs live in peace with Jews the same way many ethnic groups do here in the US?
With a wave of the hand, and a smile, Abdul said, "We Arabs come from a long history of conquest and domination of Islam over all others. We cannot get used to living with dhimmis as equals."
What are dhimmis I asked? I already knew what they are, but I wanted him to tell me.
Abdul said, "dhimmis are slaves, second class people." He smiled big and said, "You Jews were dhimmi slaves in our lands for a thousand years. You Jews had to pay a tax to us Muslims. We simply can't tolerate dhimmi 'slave Jews' ruling over us Muslims. Israel's very existence is poison in our eyes."
As I worked on the pipes, I said to him, "we had to tolerate you Arabs, when you conquered Israel and built your mosques on our sacred Jewish Temple mount. Arabs let the land go to waste, and we Jews had to tolerate your people building Arab squater towns and ghettos on our sacred land. The Turks cut down all the trees in Israel, turning the land into desert."
Abdul countered by saying, "we Arabs came from the Philistines and have a deep connection to the land going back thousands of years."
That was too much for me to stand. I kept working, but said, "Oh really? If you have a deep history in the land of Israel, then tell me what are the names of any Philistine kings, or any Philistine history? Can you show me pictures or books of any coins, any stamps or any kind of proof that you Arabs had any history in the land of Israel? Or is it that you Arabs came as conquerers from Arabia and have no history in Israel?"
Abdul was silent. But not for long. Ignoring my questions, he said, "We want what is our land. We will not stand to live under the Jews. Its our Arab land. We conquered it and we own it. Our mosques stand as witness to it being our land."
Working faster, I said, "your mosques stand as witness to your conquest of the land of Israel. Not ownership of it. Arabs settled into the land in the last 100 years. Before that, there was very few inhabitants in the land of Israel. There was mostly poor Jews and various other peoples scattered around the land. Never did any of the over 20 conquerers ever establish an independent country there. Only the Jews established 2 independent commonwealths of Israel. Jews have never left the land, even though the land of Israel was conquered over 20 times in the last 3000 years. Only the Jews have a 4000 year old history in the land of Israel. Only the Jews have kings, prophets, 2 great Temples, holidays and holy bible stories of us Jews living on the land of Israel. For 4000 years, since the time of Abraham, Jews have always returned to Israel. No matter how many times we were killed, enslaved and deported, we Jews always returned back to the land of Israel."
I continued talking as I finished the job. "You've yet to name me one Palistinian king, one Palistinian prophet, one Palistine story from the bible. Could it be that you have no history, no stories to tell of your history in the land of Israel? Could it be that your attachment to the land is because Jews love it so? Could it be that you've been taught lies to claim my land, my Israel, when you have no right to it?"
Again Abdul was silent. There was nothing for him to say. He had not imagined that a 'Jew slave' would talk back to an Arab. Abdul had nothing to say to me. I finished the job and left.
On the way out, I told him, "Now the tables are turned. Jews are the landlords. You live here as our tenant. Jews owns this building. Jews own this land. Jews set the rules. We Jews are the landlords. Be respectful. We will let you live here if you pay the rent on the 1st of each month. If not, then we will have to evict you."
The same applies to Israel. Truth cannot be argued with. The holy bible tells of all our Jewish stories concerning the land of Israel. Our Jewish holidays are woven around the land of Israel and its events. When Israelis stand up as the true landlords of the land of Israel that we are, then the Arabs will have nothing to say.