My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: III. Our Friendship at a Glance

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: III. Our Friendship at a Glance

Daniel Weishut, Psy.D.

Initially Bashar and I were distant friends. Occasionally he would come and visit me at my home in Jerusalem and I occasionally visited him at his place of work. I took pleasure in his warmth and spontaneity, his manhood, the – for me – exotic stories he told me about his life, his different perspectives and his intent to make the world a better place. I admired his success in finding a way to move beyond the primitive desert life, in spite of tremendous hardships and his excellent skills in making contact with people of whatever background. He found me different from other Israelis he had met and appreciated my points of view. He also enjoyed my sensitivity, my interest in him, the way I plan life and the fact that I do what I say I will. During the years, we became closer, and we became motivating forces in each other’s lives. In recent years, he was much less able to enter Jerusalem, because of the closure of the separation wall. Simultaneously, my visits to his village and his family became more frequent. Nevertheless, we mostly meet in public, like at the place where he works (wherever that is; recently at the garage), or at “his” university, the AlQuds University.

When we meet, which is in the last year about once or twice a week, we usually have Bedouin coffee or tea, and later we drink more coffee or tea. We often have something to eat. We talk about the daily things of life, the garage, our work, our studies, and our concerns; we communicate mostly in Hebrew, though we may use some Arabic or English. We refrain from talking politics. During my visits, I may join him in errands. He regularly seeks my instrumental support, while I tend to call on him for emotional support. We introduced each other to activities that are part of our respective cultures. I tried to learn Arabic and he knows a few words of Dutch. We do not “go out” in Western terms (like to a movie, performance, museum, etc.), but we do once a while go to some place outside (like a mountain or desert) and make a barbecue together with company. Infrequently, we dine in simple restaurants; when we are hungry, and not as a pastime.

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About the Author

Daniel Weishut

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations.Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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