February 09, 2008

Palestinian posed as Israeli for love (or possibly not)

I've been given very good reasons for thinking that this story is bogus so please go here to see what they are. Sorry to those who have run with the story or who commented. What follows here is what I originally wrote.

This is a monstrous story that has appeared on the Ma'an News Agency Website. It tells the story of a Palestinian man from Ramallah who posed as an Israeli Jew so as to continue his relationship with the Israeli woman with whom he had four children.
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Yaneef Elyazer, a twenty-five-year-old reserve officer in the Israeli army, was extremely surprised and embarrassed when he was called to the Mesofim police station in Tel Aviv to find out that his father, whom he had known all his life as Rami Elyazer, is actually called Jibril Al-Arabi. He had moved from Ramallah to Tel Aviv 30 years ago and married Shoshana Elyazer and decided to keep their story secret.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves," the father screamed when he saw his son, "you're revealing to my family that their father is an Arab and not a Jew". The police officers shot right back "you're the one who should be ashamed. You lived a lie and had you not lied to the officers at the checkpoint you would've continued to lie to your family."

The son, who started to show signs of confusion and distress, couldn't believe what he was hearing, "I can't believe that my father is an Arab from Ramallah. He's a great family man" he told the police officers.

According to the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahranot, the story started 30 years ago when Jibril worked in reconstruction in the Tel Aviv area and started to go out with Shoshana. He then married her and had four children with her.

At the beginning "Rami" told Shoshana that he was an Arab Christian from the north, but had to tell her the truth after they had their first baby. They agreed that he should adopt her family's name and change his first name from Jibril to Rami. They lived with this lie as an ideal Tel Aviv family that went to the beach on Saturdays, attended graduation parties and military training camps for 30 years.

Because the records at the Israeli Interior Ministry do not have a "Rami Elyazer", Shoshana decided to register herself as a single mother to protect her husband's identity. "Rami", in the meantime, lived without having any kind of identification under his new name.

The plan worked without any incident until he was stopped two nights ago at a random police checkpoint on Road no. 412 in a Tel Aviv suburb and was asked for his identification card. "Rami" told the police officers that his name was Gibrael Soul and he had left his identification card at home. What "Rami" did not know was that his travelling companion, who was being questioned by another police officer on the side, had told them that his name was Rami Elyazer and he had been his neighbor for 16 years. The officers became suspicious and decided to take "Rami" in.

His neighbor quickly called his wife and informed her that her husband had been arrested. She and her son Yaneef, rushed to the police station to find out that he had already revealed his Palestinian identity to the police officers.

He was released on bail the next day after the court charged him with illegally staying in Israel and lying about his identity.
This recalls so many of the stories of petty apartheid in the old South Africa. It reminded me at first of the story told by Israel Shahak about the sabbath goy who turned out to be Jewish. But there is a profound personal tragedy here arising out of Israel's racist nature and the racist attitudes it fosters and encourages towards Arabs generally and Palestinians in particular. Is the son dismayed at his father's deception or his Arabness? Did the father betray the Palestinians by enjoying a better life in Tel Aviv than he would have in Ramallah? Did the Israeli system have to persecute the father for falling in love and being a dependable parent? No one comes out of this covered in glory but it does serve as yet another exposé of zionist apartheid.


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