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Is anyone watching the Israeli TV show 'Avoda Aravit'? It is a comedy written by Sayed Kashua about being an Israeli Arab. I think it is brilliant but wanted to see if anyone (particularly on the Arab side) has seen it and what you think.

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Dear Corey,

I have not watch this TV show, but here is below what I read about it in french Newspaper "Le Monde". Maybe you'll find some help to translate it if you live in Canada ;-). I'm convicted that Israeli Arabs are THE KEY for the resolution of the conflict 'cause they can think both in arabic and in hebrew. They need help and same rights than others israli citizens... I read a few yeras ago a wonderful universitary research about it, in french. Do you want the title ? I forget it but i can find it. In this article below, they said that arabic press don't like this tv show. Kashua is treated at least like a "collaborator", at worst like a "kafir". I have an unpleasant memory of this word... When i lived in Saudi Arabia, this is the word that use many Saoudians when they called me, specially the mutawa'ins, members of the incredible religious cops in this country...

Sayed Kashua : un Arabe d'Israël en prime time
LE MONDE | 08.01.08 | 15h18 • Mis à jour le 08.01.08 | 15h18

C'est l'histoire d'un journaliste arabe israélien parti interviewer un politicien juif d'extrême droite. Au cours de l'entretien, il apprend que le premier ministre vient d'adopter le plan de son interlocuteur visant à faire passer sous souveraineté palestinienne certaines localités arabes d'Israël, dont son propre village. Ce scoop le plonge dans des insomnies à répétition. Que faire ? Rester au village et perdre la nationalité israélienne ou bien déménager plus à l'ouest et la conserver ? A bout de forces, il finit par consulter un psy dont le diagnostic est sans appel : "Vous souffrez d'une pathologie rare mais bien connue qui s'appelle l'Arabe israélien et avec laquelle vous devez apprendre à vivre car il n'y a aucun traitement efficace."

L'infortuné s'appelle Amjad Elayan. Il est le héros d'une sitcom drolatique intitulée "Avoda Aravit" ("Travail d'Arabes"), la première série diffusée en prime time à la télévision israélienne dont les protagonistes appartiennent à la minorité arabe. Prisonnier de sa névrose identitaire, Amjad est le double du journaliste et romancier Sayed Kashua, le scénariste de cette série sacrilège qui passe à la moulinette tous les tabous des Palestiniens citoyens d'Israël.

Le premier épisode commence à un check-point en banlieue de Jérusalem. Vexé d'être systématiquement identifié comme Arabe et donc arrêté, Amjad somme sa femme Bushra et leur fille Maya de boucler leur ceinture et de ne parler qu'hébreu. A peine le soldat se penche-t-il à la fenêtre de leur voiture que l'espiègle Maya le salue dans le plus parfait arabe, au grand dam de son père, obligé de se ranger sur le côté pour subir une fouille en règle.

Les huit épisodes suivants sont à l'avenant. Métaphore burlesque de l'aliénation culturelle des Arabes israéliens, Amjad remplace sa vieille Subaru par une Rover d'occasion, supposée faire davantage juif. Anxieux de faire bonne figure au Seder, le dîner de la Pâque juive auquel les parents d'une amie de sa fille l'ont invité, il fait répéter à toute sa famille la Haggadah, la prière traditionnelle lue autour de la table.

En retour, Amjad invite ses hôtes à célébrer l'Aïd chez lui et invente pour l'occasion un folklore similaire à celui du Seder, avec une rengaine du crooner égyptien Farid Al-Atrash en guise de prière musulmane. Dans son quartier, où il est le seul à rouler avec la ceinture, il est la tête de turc de ses voisins, persuadés quand ils le voient ainsi harnaché que la police rôde dans le coin. "Pour écrire le scénario, je me suis inspiré directement de ma propre vie", raconte Sayed, un jeune trentenaire dont les chroniques pleines d'irrévérence font les délices des lecteurs du quotidien israélien Haaretz. "Mon frère, par exemple, refuse de monter en voiture avec moi dans notre village natal, où je suis le seul à mettre la ceinture. Il a l'impression d'être assis à côté d'un homo."

Contre toute attente, ce jeu de
I can read French and get the point so please send the article you referred to.

I love this show. It is funny, humanizing without being preachy, and shows the racism, stupidity and backwardness of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians. With a few minutes of comedy and many awkward moments of having to feel what it is to be an Arab in Israel, I hope this show has an impact on both peoples.
According to the french article, you're right (you have it in my message on a link Le Monde Newspaper). Do you know if it's possible to watch it with internet ? Have you the link ?
It can be downloaded through http://www.idown.tv/ but the site is in Hebrew only. You can probably find it on eMule. I found the following English news story on the show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgTLXgWy7RE

The other issue is that the subtitles for the show are in Hebrew and Arabic only.
i saw just a small part of the program and didnt continue (probably because it wasnt so interesting) and another thing i can say is that just from the name 'avoda aravit' u can learn abut the negativ connotation and if u want 'racism'
I would give it another chance. That is the point of the show- to show Israeli Jewish and Palestinian racism and stupidity. I saw the show with Israelis who once hearing the same stupid phrases they use (negative about Arabs) really had to think about what they are saying and how it effects Arabs. I think this will help change our society to be more equal. and that's the goal right?
i don't think that a comedy will change something 'our' society and equal is far away of beeing justice.
I get the feeling that unless whatever is done to promote peace is on your terms, there won’t be peace. It takes two groups, each with it own views, to accomplish that.

Or did I not understand what you want to say?
what i want to say (and there is alot but for now this will be it) is that 'our' society composed, as a palestinian (and yes we are and i hope that the Israeli Jews will start to feel les threatened by this definition), from the 'Arad Israeli' as well as the palestinians in the occupied teritories and those in the diaspora. however we are not forguten that due to some cercumstanses we are obtained, against our wills, another status.
i belive that as long as the situation in the occupied teritories will continue to be unhuman (and this is the simple way to describe it ), etc... then we can not talk abut jusice (or equality as you say) and fortheremore, even inside the israeli society, composed from as the palestinians within, you can not talk abut equality unless you will talk first abut our origin, accept it and respect as as we... without this ther are no foundations for equality or justice......
If this helps: I personally view Arab Israelis as very definitely Palestinians. I believe that Israel within the 1967 border must have equality for all its citizens and a Palestinian state in the West Bank/Gaza must exist. The word Palestinian does not threaten me. It is when it is used to threaten my well being that I am threatened (the minority who don’t believe I have any right to be).

I believe that Israeli Jews have done a terrible job of including Palestinian Israelis into Israeli society. I know many exceptions but overall, Israeli society is like a club that Arabs and immigrants feel unwelcome and unwanted. I believe that is a terrible mistake. My hope is that some day Palestinians living in Israel will feel both Palestinian and Israeli and feel comfortable with both identities.

My concern with what you said is my concern with how both our sides always react: until you do X, I can’t move forward. You are saying that we cannot talk about justice until the occupation ends. I agree it makes it very difficult but I don’t believe that one side has to demand that the other change in order to give. Telling the other side what it has to do in order for there to be peace doesn’t seem to work. Peace and co-existence requires both sides to be involved, negotiate, compromise, understand each other, etc so both peoples have what they need to move forward. So I believe that shows like Avoda Aravit are incredibly important as are web sites like this, etc. We have to start somewhere. It doesn’t look like our politicians are doing the job so the regular people have to work together to find solutions.

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