During my recent trip to Israel I spoke with an Australian Jew about the challenges of raising his children on the West Bank.
Moishe Feiglin, who moved from Australia to live in a Jewish settlement, said his attitude toward Palestinians had definitely softened, having gotten to know them.
“People talk about the Palestinians. Well who are these Palestinians?” he said.
Moishe told me that when he understood Palestinians as individuals living alongside him, rather than as a group to be feared his entire attitude changed. His teenage children, however, had different views.
“I don’t want to be overwhelmed by fear,” Moishe told me.
“Do I love them (Palestinians)? I’ll sit and have coffee with them. Will I let them babysit my children? We’re not there yet. That’s not the reality I’m living in. Would I want to? Sure. How realistic is it? I have no idea.”
But Moshie said his 14-year-old daughter had grown up having rocks thrown at her by Arabs. And that experience had given her a more rigid perspective.
“She wants to become a combat solider,” he said. “She’s ultra right-wing. She tells me: ‘You’re not from here. You didn’t grow up here.’
“So even in one family, we have two opinions.”
“I grew up somewhere else (Australia) so I can have one mindset. But she grew up with the trauma of living here. And it is real. She goes to school in a bulletproof bus. It’s f--ed up. It’s complicated.”
As Moishe showed me around the contested land in which he lives, he explained his hopes and fears, not only for his own family, but for the Palestinian families he hopes to call friends.