Mother of Israeli Arab Golani Soldier: Those Who Don’t Accept This State Should Move to an Arab Country
by Deborah Danan
Anett Haskia, an Israeli Arab hair stylist and self-proclaimed social activist from the city of Acre, was interviewed on Israeli radio on Thursday and practically shouted at the interviewer when asked whether she identifies as a Palestinian.
“I want to ask you, Anett, many Israeli Arabs say ‘I am an Israeli-Arab, Palestinian.’ Do you also identify as a Palestinian?” host Gabi Gazit of 103.fm asked her. “Has vehalila,” Haskia answered, using a Hebrew phrase that roughly translates as “Good Heavens, no” and – incidentally – one that originates in the Babylonian Talmud.
Haskia, a mother of three who claims to be a proud Israeli, runs an active Facebook page with hundreds of followers. An avid user, she posts pictures with Hebrew status updates encouraging Israel’s soldiers to “keep on fighting in Gaza until total victory.” Among her photos is one of her three children, two boys and a girl, all in IDF uniform.
The interview took place while her son, a Golani Brigade infantryman, was engaged in battle in Gaza. Golani, an IDF infantry brigade that became legendary for the courage and ferocity of its fighters, suffered heavy losses when 13 of its men were killed in battles in the neighborhood of Shujiaya last week.
“I have a son in Golani who was in the middle of a [military] course but didn’t want to leave his comrades alone so he gave up on completing the course and went there. He wanted to be with them, to protect his homeland,” she said.
With a worried tone in her voice, Anett added, “He is now there, in that inferno. I have not spoken with him for several days.”
Since Israeli Arabs are not sent slips to report at IDF recruiting centers, Anett said her son went voluntarily to the Tiberias recruitment center and requested to be enlisted.
Haskia then went on to berate the host for what she called Israel’s discrimination between Bedouin, Druze and Christian Arab citizens.
“My dear, the time has come to change your view,” she said. “What happens here is that Israel’s PR is not good. If they would let me speak out, they would know it’s not just Anett’s son, there are many Muslim soldiers in Golani, many Muslims volunteer – even in combat units,” she said.
“My son is an Israeli, the son of an Israeli mother. We are proud of being Israeli and we are proud of the state. It doesn’t mean there’s no discrimination and racism but that can change.”
Addressing herself in the third person, she continued, “Anett Haskia cannot bring about the revolution on her own, she needs to have the backing of the Jews of Israel, and the Arabs of Israel – the loyal ones. I mean those who call themselves ‘Arab Israeli’ and not Palestinians.”
“My son grew up in Israeli society. He is a son of the state of Israel, and he went and joined the army and today he is inside Gaza. And to all those who chant ‘Death to Arabs’ you should be chanting ‘Death to Terrorists’. I say to them: Calm down! You make us laugh, because many, many Arabs are now going into the depths of inferno.”
“You should call to change the constitution,” she continued. “You should legislate to strip citizenship from anyone who harms the security of the state, whether Arab or Jewish. Start respecting us and looking us in the eye.”
Anett stresses, “we are not residents of the territories, we are citizens of Israel.” In an apparent jab at Israeli Arabs who hold the Palestinian cause close to their hearts, she said “whoever does not want to accept the state of Israel is welcome to go to an Arab country.”