I was in Israel last year in 2013 during Ramadan, and saw scenes more or like this at the beach between Tel Aviv and Yafo in the evening around iftar. This is what I remember it looking like. The caption from Activestills, an Israeli based human rights and activist group, reads” Palestinians from the West Bank enjoy the Mediterranean Sea on the last day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, Tel Aviv, August 11, 2013. (Activestills.org).” What I remember from last year resembles what you see in the picture, people on the beach, the easy mix between groups of people along the edge of the water.
The photograph accompanies an essay by Maisalon Dallashi, which you can read here. Her bio describes Dallashi as a sociologist and a researcher at Tel Aviv University, where, she works on the politics of language and translation in the asymmetric relations between Jews and Arabs. Maisalon rebukes novelist Sayed Kashua who has written that he’s giving up, leaving the country for good. Her words on Ramadan are a prayer for a better place, for justice, for a better life than the one we see now –“a world without borders or checkpoints, where no one wishes death upon another, where people empathize with the suffering of the other nation and succeed in seeing some humanity in them. A world with enough space for all religions, without any of them being more correct or right, a world where people cry from the pain of a neighboring nation.”
Last year, I was in Israel for about six weeks. I took a lot of pictures in places like Acco, East Jerusalem, Kfar Birem, Ramle, Yaffa. I wanted to look at these kinds of places as normal ones, part of, not separate from the national fabric. There were a lot of West Bank Palestinians that year who got permits to make it to Al-Aksa, or to the Mediterranean. And there were the usual currents of racism and tension, also normal to the place. Especially in Tel Aviv, almost everyone I talked with spoke about the current status quo as a bubble. That was all a year before new things like the kidnap-murder of teenagers, fascist swarms out to lynch Arabs in the streets, attacks on a synagogue in Paris by human rights activists, stomach churning anti-Jewish, hate speech, and more rockets, and the same old bloodletting.