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MITA'AM - A Review of Literature and Radical Thought, Edited by Yitzhak Laor


STEEPED : In The World of Tea. A Literay anthology



Who is afraid of Tali Fahima, and why?

If a good girl of Kiryat Gat and a Likkud voter thinks that the occupation is a catastrophe, who knows, maybe more people will awake from the coma and find out we are all being screwed? What if tomorrow some more Tali Fahimas will get up and start thinking independently?

Lin Chalozin Dovrat

7 Sep. 2004

Tali Fahima, a Mizrahi Israeli woman that grew up in a south immigration town Kiryat Gat (formerly the Palestinian villages of Faluja, Iraq El-Manshiyya) voted for the Likkud party in the last elections in Israel. During the last violent outburst between Israelis and Palestinians, Tali acknowledged that in order to fully understand the conflict and to comprehend the other's side opinions she should better get acquainted with Palestinians. After reading about his positions in the Israeli press, she contacted Zakariya Zbeidi, the commander of the ElAqsa regiments in Jenin, and soon after started a humanitarian project for the children of the refugee camp. Now she is detained for the second time, this time on the false allegations that she was involved in terrorist action. Tali has refused in the past weeks to be recruited by the Shabak, AKA General Security Service, as their informer. The last detention period included a full week of harsh interrogations that ended upon her release by an Israeli court...

There are many reasons to be afraid of Tali Fahima. Truly, there are. First, if a good girl of Kiryat Gat and a Likkud voter thinks that the occupation is a catastrophe, who knows, maybe more people will awake from the coma and find out we are all being screwed? What if tomorrow some more Tali Fahimas will get up and start thinking independently? Women? Mizrahi? Disenfranchised? Should we shoot live ammunition at their legs that will accidentally reach their heads? It is not Palestine here, and above all it's really impractical. What if people will start to get extremely annoyed by the budget the ministry of finance plans for next year? What if these people will strongly oppose the fact that several people that earn a thousand times the average salary and close down dirty deals will eat their pensions?

How will the state be run then?

Secondly, if a Tali Fahima can reach Zakariya Zbeidi, talk to him and find a mutual language based on trust - this could be a disaster. It may even distract the public attention from the new coalition talks, that apart from several political party members, interest no-one – and why should we be interested? We have long ago understood that we are overlooked, and that this is really all about few people exchanging seats every now and then. That is why, it is very important to push the uninvited Tali Fahima out of the political arena. The best way to do this is to hint a few journalists day and night that Tali Fahima is a bit deranged, and fancies Zbeidi. This way we can leave the musical chairs game at the headlines and push Fahima to the back pages, along with the personal ads.

Thirdly, there is another issue that should not be brought up, and above all should not be discussed in depth. The state of Israel has been busy for the last few weeks in eliminating from the ground, air and sea anyone that endangers the enlightened regime of the one declared so many times before irrelevant – Yasser Arafat. For some obscure reason, the state finds it difficult to eliminate a certain Zakariya Zbeidi, who has, like quite many others in the middle east, blood on his hands. What is common to him and to Fahima is that they won't keep their mouths shut. His advantage over her is that being not only a man but an armed one, he does not fit easily into the gossip and social columns. Zbeidi has caused lately a lot of trouble to the Raïs, and currently anyone causing trouble to the president aka as the Irrelevant, is becoming highly relevant to the Israeli targets. That might bother the decision makers a bit more than the fact that he has blood on his hands. Or maybe we would like to think that the security organizations keep the demagogy with the spokespersons, and at internal discussions maintain a more rational tone. We would like to think that the harsh infringements of international law and of any moral code are at least done with certain finesse, in a chic manner, while delving into thoughtful discussions concerning the balance of forces in the region and what is the Israeli interest in all that.

But frankly, who cares for the Israeli interest? The Israeli people's interest? Maybe its interest is, god forbid, justice, equality, peace and livelihood to everybody? Maybe its interest is a few more Tali Fahimas that will think independently without leaving the heart, human dignity and compassion at home?

It is difficult to like Tali Fahima, that's true. She says exactly what she thinks and feels and is not bothered by what other people might say. This, it seems, may be too dangerous to too many people, especially if they have money and power, and especially if it becomes suddenly fashionable to be minded, to check out for oneself if relationship of trust and respect, without prejudice, can be built, regardless of the latest uttering of our military commentator.

Did I frighten anyone? Relax. This is what secretive apparatuses are for. The system has not yet collapsed; the chairs are not yet rocking. There are still emergency regulations and secretive prisons. There are guns and tanks and sieges and closures and collaborators and unmanned planes and home demolitions and assassinations. There are secretive meetings and coalition negotiations and good relationship with the media and many detailed articles in the State budget nobody can understand. There are party power centers and party lobbyists, so there's nothing to be worried about. There are still too many people afraid of loosing their jobs, that cannot risk their children, and that are concerned by what is going to be said about them and where shall they live tomorrow. Whilst there is fear, terror and despair, one can breathe deeply and relax. Tomorrow, again, nothing will be changed - the sun will keep on rising on the world order of silence and silencing.


Lin Chalozin Dovrat is an activist in the Women's Coalition for Just Peace. This article was published in Hebrew on 12 Aug. 2004 by