Schneider Aviel

Outside the Spotlight Everything Looks Different

Palestinians also know how to enjoy life

Arab women on the beach in Tel Aviv. Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Palestinian society is also divided into several classes, but this is hardly reflected in the foreign media. Abroad, the Palestinians are generally perceived as refugees or as a people who generally suffer from Israeli oppression. But in Palestinian networks and other Arab sources, the Palestinian population is portrayed as very diverse. Israel Today would like to present you with just a handful of reports from the Palestinian networks, reports that even the Israeli media doesn’t carry, but which provide a lot of insight into the real life of Palestinian Arabs. What appears on these social media and other channels is often more real than what can be seen in the mainstream media. That’s why we often rely far more on a number of local Arab sources that give us a much better picture of reality. We often share updates from these sources on our Israel Today Telegram channel.

Most will certainly not have heard much about the Palestinians’ class society. At the bottom are the Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, followed by the Palestinians from the so-called “occupied territories” of Judea and Samaria, and at the top is the Arab population of Israel, who are seen as part of the Palestinian people. These can also be divided into further classes, for example in Judea and Samaria. Bethlehem is at the forefront there, partly because of the Christian population. Hebron and its environs are at the bottom of class society.

In recent weeks we have seen frequently on social media how one thinks of others within the Palestinian population. During the Islamic holidays, thousands of Palestinians from the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria enjoyed Israel’s coastal beaches from Ashkelon in the south to Haifa in the north. Israel issued permits to enter its territory via checkpoints; others may even have illegally entered through holes in the fence. But even then, Israel usually turns a blind eye during the holidays. In a video clip published to social media, a Palestinian from the territories complains about paying 50 shekels for a pita with shawarma in Jaffa. Back where he lives, it would cost just 10 shekels.

But the most eye-catching video came from Jaffa Beach, where thousands of Palestinians from the eastern mountain range bathed during the Islamic holidays. On the beach near Jaffa’s popular Manta Ray restaurant, an Arab lifeguard called over the loudspeaker for a mother named Sahir. Her little girl Tima was alone and looking for her mother. The Arab lifeguard shouted: “Sahir, come out of the water. Shame on you! Your child is alone.” The Arab who captured the entire episode on video added his own commentary:

“Unbelievable, the visitors from the territories embarrass us. They forget their children on the beach. What an embarrassment, embarrassment, embarrassment (Fadichot in Arabic)!”

This video went viral, and many Palestinians from Judea and Samaria felt insulted by it, with some even threatening a lawsuit for libel.

At the same time, another video clip from the Gaza Strip was also making waves on Palestinian social media. A fine dinner with loud music, where men and women sat together around the tables, was criticized as “corruption of morality.” Even if the singer performed in a hijab (headscarf), this was not a model of traditional Islam, especially not in the Gaza Strip, where there the fundamentalist Hamas rules. But in addition to the criticism, there were also young Palestinians who welcomed the approach that evening: “This is progress and openness towards the West.”

In another case, a Palestinian celebrity named Huda stated that another way of life also exists in Gaza: “There are quite a few people who can afford a luxurious life in the Gaza Strip.” Money influences everything, including Islamic regulations. By the way, this dinner was recorded at the popular Cedar Restaurant on Cairo Street in the Gaza Strip, just 100 meters from the beach. According to Google ratings, the Cedar Restaurant received an impressive 4.5 stars in a total of 56 reviews.

In Tel Aviv, Palestinian paparazzi caught their Governor of Hebron, Jabrin Albakri, sitting in an ice cream parlor. This was also judged both positively and negatively on social media. At home in Hebron, Palestinians criticize Israelis for their behavior, but on the other hand they too know how to enjoy life in Israel. And not just the governor.

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