My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XVI. Friendship and Politics

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XVI. Friendship and Politics

One of the major difficulties in our friendship is without doubt its political context, which burdens the friendship in many ways. For an Israeli, the social toll of friendship with a Palestinian can be very high. For a Palestinian Bedouin to befriend an Israeli is highly complicated as well. I will discuss here my side only. It took me many months to recuperate from the following incident, which for many Palestinians would not be anything out of the ordinary. After that I will expand on issues related to cognitive dissonance and deviations from social norms.

Stories of Friendship: Crossing the Border

Israeli/Palestinian border, October 2008. I gave Bashar, a ride, so that he would get in time for his driving test. The ride was between two Arab villages, one of which is considered by the Israeli authorities as Israeli and the other as Palestinian. The car was stopped at a checkpoint between the two villages. Both of us were detained, Bashar for being in Israel without a valid permit, and me for giving a ride to someone without a permit. We were taken to a nearby military police base. I found it hard to believe that this was real, and not a movie. I always thought of myself as a law-obeying citizen. It was a shock to be suddenly behind bars, considered a criminal. What had happened to me? Bashar was interrogated, and after about half an hour I was interrogated as well. Bashar was released without condition, since he was considered “clean” by the security forces. My fingerprints were taken and my car was confiscated for a month. I was released on grounds of bail and informed that I will be charged in court.

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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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