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Shades of oppression

I was born in Nazareth, but spent five years of my childhood in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, where my father was the Anglican priest. In some ways, living on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea was idyllic. I remember with joy road trips to Nazareth and fishing excursions with my grandfather. But I also remember having to speak my mother tongue, Arabic, in hushed tones on the street, lest we attract unwanted attention from our Jewish Israeli neighbors and always sensing that somehow, we might be seen as different.

Hebron is a community important to Christians, Muslims and Jews

Osama (last name withheld) is a licensed Palestinian tour guide. He recently stood with one of his tour groups in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron with his head bowed and his expression troubled as a group of Israeli Jewish tourists walked through. The last person in line was an Israeli guard carrying a machine gun. It is a traditional sign of respect for visitors of any faith to remove their shoes and for women to cover their heads. This group had done neither. “No respect,” he said quietly. “No respect.”