Talking With Abdul
By Mark David
My father called me. He asked me to fix a leaking
kitchen drain pipe in his apartment building on the northwest side of
. I agreed to work on it that afternoon. I enjoyed plumbing jobs. They
gave me a sense of satisfaction of a job well done, and they paid real
I drove my van to the apartment building, arriving at
about 1pm. I rang the doorbell to the apartment on the 1st floor. Vicki, a
beautiful Puerto Rican woman, opened the door. I explained I was here to
fix the leak. Her husband, Abdul let me inside.
I remembered seeing them before. I first met them
when they came to see the apartment when it was for rent. I was painting
it when they stopped by to look at it. I remember how quiet Abdul was Ė
almost too quiet.
I started working on the kitchen sink pipes. I removed them and started
cutting new pipes to fit. Abdul sat down by the kitchen table. Vicki left
and didn't come back while I was there.
As I worked, Abdul watched. Soon, Abdul started
to talk to me. At first his questions were about my father and what kind
of business we had together. Abdul knew I was a Jewish American. I
wondered when the hatred would leak out of his mouth. Then the questions
and talk moved to where he was from and what family he had.
Abdul told me he had a brother in
, another brother in Kuiwait and a third brother in
. Abdul's parents lived in a
refugee camp. Abdul left
when he was in his early 20's and he never came back.
We started talking about the Israeli-Arab conflict. Abdul assured me he
was Palestinian. I asked him why the Arabs donít want to live in peace.
's Arabs are the best educated, and has the highest living standards of
all the Arab world. Why don't the Israeli Arabs live in peace with Jews
the same way many ethnic groups do here in the
With a wave of the hand and a smile, Abdul said,
"We Arabs come from a long history of conquest and domination of
Islam over all others. We cannot get used to living with dhimmis as
What are dhimmis I asked? I already knew what they
are, but I wanted him to tell me.
Abdul said, "dhimmis are slaves, second class
people." He smiled big and said, "You Jews were dhimmi slaves in
our lands for a thousand years. You Jews had to pay a tax to us Muslims.
We simply can't tolerate dhimmi slave Jews ruling over us Muslims.
's very existence is poison in our eyes."
As I worked on the pipes, I said to him, "we Jews had to tolerate you
Arabs, when you conquered
and built your mosques on our sacred Jewish Temple mount. Arabs let the
land go to waste, and we Jews had to tolerate your people building Arab
squatter towns and ghettos on our sacred land. The Turks cut down all the
, turning the land into desert."
Abdul countered by saying, "we Arabs came from
the Philistines and have a deep connection to the land going back
thousands of years."
That was too much for me to stand. I kept working, but said, "Oh
really? If you have a deep history in the
, then tell me what are the names of any Philistine kings, or any
Philistine history? Can you show me pictures or books of any coins, any
stamps or any kind of proof that you Arabs had any history in the
? Or is it that you Arabs came as conquerors from Arabia and have no
Abdul was silent. But not for long. Ignoring my
questions, he said, "We want what is our land. We will not stand to
live under the Jews. Itís our Arab land. We conquered it and we own it.
Our mosques stand as witness to it being our land."
Working faster, I said, "Your mosques stand as
witness to your conquest of the
. Not ownership of it. Arabs settled into the land in the last 100 years.
Before that, there were very few inhabitants in the
. There were mostly poor Jews and various other peoples scattered around
the land. Never did any of the over 20 conquerors ever establish an
independent country there. Only the Jews established 2 independent
. Jews have never left the land, even though the
was conquered over 20 times in the last 3000 years. Only the Jews have a
4000 year old history in the
. Only the Jews have kings, prophets, 2 great
, holidays and holy bible stories of us Jews living on the
. For 4000 years, since the time of Abraham, Jews have always returned to
. No matter how many times we were killed, enslaved and deported, we Jews
always returned back to the
I continued talking as I finished the job.
"You've yet to name me one Palestinian king, one Palestinian prophet,
one Palestinian story from the bible. Could it be that you have no
history, no stories to tell of your history in the
? Could it be that your attachment to the land is because Jews love it so?
Could it be that you've been taught lies to claim my land, my
, when you have no right to it?"
Again, Abdul was silent. There was nothing for him to
say. He had not imagined that a 'Jew slave' would talk back to an Arab.
Abdul had nothing to say to me. I finished the job and left.
On the way out, I told him, "Now the tables are
turned. Jews are the landlords. You live here as our tenant. Jews owns
this building. Jews own this land. We set the rules. We are the landlords.
Be respectful. We will let you live here if you pay the rent on the 1st of
each month. If not, then we will have to evict you."
The same applies to
. Truth cannot be argued with. The Bible tells of all our Jewish stories
. Our Jewish holidays are woven around the
and its events. When Israelis stand up as the true landlords of the
that we are, then the Arabs will have nothing to say.