Revisiting Sha'ar Binyamin, My Jewish-Arab Workplace

Batya Medad ,

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לבן ריק
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Batya Medad
New York-born Batya Medad made aliyah with her husband just weeks after their 1970 wedding and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Political pundit, with a unique perspective, Batya has worked in a variety of professions: teaching, fitness, sales, cooking, public relations, photography and more. She has a B.S. in Journalism, is a licensed English Teacher specializing as a remedial teacher and for a number of years has been studying Tanach (Bible) in Matan. Batya blogs on Shiloh Musings and A Jewish Grandmother. ...

Revisiting Sha'ar Binyamin, My Jewish-Arab Workplace

Yesterday, I shopped in Rami Levy, Sha'ar Binyamin. I hadn't been there for a very long time. For close to six years I had worked in Yafiz in the commercial center. I worked with Arabs. It's definitely a Jewish-Arab Workplace. I sold to Arabs. I got to know some of the Arab staff in Rami Levy.

When I had been asked to join the Yafiz staff, nobody told me that I'd be entering an entirely new world. Nobody told me that there would be fellow staff and lots of Arab customers. I honestly don't know if I would have taken the job if it had been described that way.

At the time I began working in Yafiz, we really needed the money. Not that I got decent pay in Yafiz; it was minimum wage. But even minimum wage is better than no wage at all.

On the whole my experiences with the Arabs, fellow workers, including at Rami Levy, and customers was very pleasant. I gained a certain confidence for sure. When Arab (men, of course, women didn't) tried to bargain with me to get a lower price, I made it very clear, in my firmest teacher's voice, that nobody, ABSOLUTELY NOBODY got discounts. All customers paid the same price. I even learned a few words of Arabic to help me.

Many Arabs used to love to come and talk to me in English. There were those who said that coming to Yafiz reminded them of America.

An elderly Arab woman used to shop for clothing to send to her grandchildren in Egypt. Jordanian businessmen used to tell me that they loved the selection of children's clothes we had. There was even a time when Arab tourists used to come in vans for "shopping tours."

Yesterday I was surprised at the friendly greetings I received from workers and customers there, Jews and Arabs alike.

There are still many Arab workers, but one thing I noticed, even the last two years I worked in Yafiz, that there are fewer Arab customers. Apparently, the PA Police try to punish those who shop in Jewish businesses and confiscate their purchases.

I want to make something very clear. I'm what can be called an extreme Jewish Nationalist, who firmly and unabashedly believes that there is none and never has been a Palestinian People, Arab terrorists should be executed even without a trial if caught in the act and full Israeli Sovereignty must be declared over all the Land held by the State of Israel, even the Land that has been allowed to the PA-Palestinian Authority. But I also believe that one of the ways to develop peace between Jews and Arabs is to carefully give the Arabs a chance. At the same time there should be zero tolerance to any Arab who even hints at pro-terror feelings.