Israeli TV Personality Lucy Aharish Tells San Diego Students How Pride in Muslim Arab Heritage, Patriotism Helped Her Overcome Obstacles in Jewish State
A celebrity Israeli anchor who hosts a morning current-affairs program told an audience at San Diego State University (SDSU) earlier this month about the parental lesson that has stood her in good stead where confronting the challenges of being a Muslim Arab citizen of the Jewish state is concerned, the campus paper The Daily Aztec reported.
Lucy Aharish of Israel’s Channel 2 said that on her first day of school, her mother made her promise always to “be proud of the fact that you’re Arab, that you’re Muslim and that you’re Israeli.”
Aharish – the first Arab newscaster on an Israeli station to present in Hebrew — recounted entering kindergarten in her hometown of Dimona and repeating the mantra. By the fourth day, she said, “I started getting beaten up.” That was when she was five years old.
Thirty years later, she still sees that experience as pivotal. Refusing to allow bullying by her peers to disrupt her education, she said, she made it her mission to excel. “I participated in every single thing in school. And I was the best in every single thing in school.”
The one thing she said that did cause her to wish to avoid going to school was the anti-Arab response of her classmates to every Palestinian terrorist attack – which were numerous during the first and second intifadas. But her parents forced her anyway, saying, “If you won’t be able to face the world now, you won’t be able to face the world in the future.”
“I used to say that kids are mean, that kids are bad,” she went on. “[But] kids are not mean. We are educating kids to be mean. We are educating kids to hate. There is no such thing as a kid who is born and says to himself, ‘Oh, I hate Palestinians.’ Or there is no such thing as a Palestinian kid that is born and says to himself, ‘Oh, I hate Jews.’ It doesn’t work like that.”
Aharish’s lecture was hosted by the SDSU chapters of Students Supporting Israel, Christians United for Israel and the Society of Professional Journalists.