In an op-ed appearing in Ynet, Yoram Ettinger deals with the phenomena that Arabs prefer being Israeli citizens than palestinian ones.
In fact, recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Libya, Syria (and you ain’t seen nothing yet…) have enhanced the craving in the Arab Street for the liberties and benefits of Israel’s democracy.
For example, Israeli ID cards have been sought by senior PLO and Hamas officials and their relatives, such as the three sisters of Ismail Haniyeh, the top leader of Hamas. They married Israeli Arabs and migrated from Gaza to Tel Sheva in Israel’s Negev. Two are already widows, but prefer to remain in the Jewish State, and the son of the third sister serves in the Israeli Defense Forces.Akrameh Sabri, the top Muslim religious leader in eastern Jerusalem, who delivers anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist sermons, retains his Israeli ID card as do Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO, Muhammad Abu-Tir of Hamas, Jibril Rajoub’s wife, etc.
Some 150,000 non-Israeli Arabs, mostly from Judea and Samaria, married Israeli Arabs and received Israeli ID cards between 1993 and 2003. In addition, scores of thousands of illegal Arab aliens prefer Israeli – over Palestinian – residence.
A significant wave of net-emigration – 30,000 Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza annually – since 1950 was substantially reduced in 1968, as a result of access gained to Israel’s infrastructures of employment, medicine and education, and of Israeli construction of such infrastructures in these regions. The level of annual Arab emigration subsided during the peak years of Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel), since Arabs were heavily employed in constructing the absorption infrastructure.
Israeli Arabs vehemently oppose any settlement – such as an exchange of land between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which would transform them into Palestinian subjects, denying them Israeli citizenship.
Wow, Haniyeh’s nephew serves in the IDF? I assume not this one.
The idea that his own nephew serves in the IDF reminds me of this famous scene:
Needless to say, I imagine family gatherings are a real blast (no pun intended).
I have not been able to find out anything else on Haniyeh’s nephew, but I did manage to track down this 2006 article on his sisters.
Israel regards Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Hamas prime minister, as an enemy of state. But three of his sisters enjoy full Israeli citizenship, having moved 30 years ago to the desert town of Tel Sheva.
Some of their offspring have even served in the Israeli army, the force responsible for decades of Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, an occupation that the Islamist movement, Hamas, was founded to fight.
The Daily Telegraph tracked down the Haniyeh sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah, to a town in southern Israel. That they live in Israel is a closely guarded secret and nowhere is it guarded more secretly than Tel Sheva, a town inhabited mainly by Israeli Bedouin on the edge of the Negev desert.
“There is no reason to speak to my wife,” said Salameh Abu Rukayek, 53, who married Kholidia. “It is private business and you are not welcome asking questions about my wife.”
Blind since birth, Mr Abu Rukayek sat on a thin floor cushion and said he was happy living in Israel. “Our life is normal here and we want it to continue,” he said.
Perhaps he felt discussion of his wife’s family links might jeopardise his relatively comfortable lifestyle.
Bedouins form a small and poor minority in modern Israel, descendants of desert nomads who roamed the Holy Land in ancient times, living in tents and travelling by camel train. Some Bedouin have settled down in towns such as Tel Sheva and many make a good living, often running transport firms across Israel.
Although they regard themselves as separate from Palestinians, links between the two communities are nevertheless close. Both share the same Muslim faith.
Another member of the clan, Yousef Abu Ruqia, 50, who works as secretary in the municipal council, explained how the Haniyeh sisters came to Tel Sheva.
“In a small community like ours there were not enough women to go round, so some of the men would go and look for wives elsewhere,” he said.
“The Haniyeh sisters were Palestinians living in Gaza. Back then it was possible for people to visit Gaza easily, so Kholidia was the first to be married and move to Tel Sheva, and then Laila and then Sabah.”
He said he remembered the time, 25 years ago, when their younger brother, Ismail, would come to visit his sisters.
“There was another brother, Khaled, who came here to work laying tiles and each year, at the holiday after Ramadan, Ismail would come and visit his brother and sisters.”
Laila and Sabah are both widows but remain in Tel Sheva, apparently reluctant to give up their Israeli citizenship. It is not known when the Haniyeh sisters last had contact with their brother. As he is a Hamas prime minister, contact with him could, under Israeli law, be illegal.
How poetic it would be for nephew to fire the bullet to end his uncle’s life.
Heck, I don’t care who fires the bullet. Just make it happen soon.
About the AuthorAn Australian immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave has been blogging since early 2003.
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