Tuesday, October 20, 2015


In recent weeks tensions in Israel and adjoining Palestinians areas have ramped up because of random acts of violence. Israelis have been attacked by mostly young Palestinian men, stabbed and sometimes killed. This is the simple reality, although it would be simplistic to stop there. The underlying realities of a generation of Palestinian youth without opportunity and hope don't show up in the tally of attacks. Of course there is retaliation by the Israel government and the Palestinians suffer their own casualties.

There is no justification for this violence, as there is no excuse for the repressive regime under Prime Minister Netanyahu. However, what may ensue is yet another "initfada" an Arabic word literally meaning "tremor", "shivering", "shuddering". There have been a number of these uprisings or intifadas in recent decades and they are always ugly, violent and ultimately pointless. They are an expression of frustration and outrage and this time around it is being fuelled by social media.

Masked Palestinians surround a bonfire in Shuafat, East Jerusalem (05/10/15)
Last evening we went to the Empire Theatre in Belleville to see the film Dancing Arabs, a curious title for a pretty good flick about a gifted young Arab, Eyad, who is given the opportunity for education and advancement in the Jewish world. Dancing Arabs is set in the early eighties to early nineties and explores relationships, prejudices, and the "two solitudes" of Israel where about 20% of the population is Arab. There is also a "Romeo and Juliet" aspect to the film. There is also reference to an intifada during that time period.

Our United Church and many others have walked the difficult path of support for Israeli sovereignty while championing the plight of the Palestinians. The UCC and other churches have been vilified at times, and the previous Harper government was heavy-handed in its support for Israel without much sympathy for the Palestinians. Who knows if this will change under the Liberals.


If you have a chance to see Dancing Arabs it will be worth your while, even though it is a good rather than exceptional film. The acting is strong, and the story is timely.

Please pray for calm in Israel and Palestine. Another uprising will only result in violence and hardship. There is no doubt though that change must happen.


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