Interesantísima entrevista (en inglés) al Subteniente Hisham Abu Varia, primer oficial árabe-musulmán del Ejército de Defensa de Israel
Oficiales no-judíos-ni-musulmanes hay muchísimos, incluso generales y diplomáticos, como tantos drusos, para quienes el servicio militar es obligatorio como para los judíos. Para los árabes y beduinos el servicio militar es optativo, pero pocos lo eligen y menos cumplen los 3 años. Este es el primero que decide llegar a oficial.
"The army is the entry pass into the Israeli society," Hisham explains. "The Arab sector thinks it's second rate here, but to get privileges one has to give and not just receive. The state protects its citizens even if they don’t serve – my parents live off income support. You must contribute to the country you live off. What other country would have an Arab Knesset member, who is being paid by the state, promoting the interests of the Islamic movement and screwing the promotion of the sector it is supposed to represent?" (...)(la hagadá es el libro que se lee en Pesaj - Passover en inglés)
'I Always wanted to learn Hebrew.' Hisham in Sakhnin
"Since the age of six I wanted to learn the language [Hebrew]. I love it. I also know Aramaic," he adds. "During officers' course we were sent to guard communities in Shvut Rachel and were invited to take part in a Passover seder. The hosts had no idea of my background and there I was sitting at the table reading from the haggadah. When they realized who I was they stood up and applauded me."
Recently Hisham returned from a visit to Poland, where he toured the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration camps. He became the first Arab-Israeli to visit Poland as part of an IDF program.
"I knew the word Holocaust, I knew that the Nazis murdered Jews but nothing more than that," he admits. "In Majdanek there was a moment I thought that all those involved in the Jewish-Arab conflict should come here to see what was done to the Jewish people and leave them alone."
In Birkenau, he says, he asked to pray in Arabic. "I had chills all over my body. I asked God to have mercy on all the victims. I didn’t expect what I saw there. An oven which was loaded with two men and a woman, because the woman had more fat, making it burn better.
Crematorium in Auschwitz (Photo: AP)
"I kept asking myself where was everyone? Where was the United States, the Arab countries? If the Germans had won the Arabs would have been murdered as well. I saw the photos of the victims and felt part of them. There was a Holocaust survivor with us who showed us where she was raped, where all her family had been murdered before her very eyes. She cried and we cried with her. It was a life altering visit."
Before we part ways, I ask Hisham about his plans for the future. "To reach the highest rank I can," he answers without hesitation, "and the get my masters in anthropology. It’s because of the service. In the army everyone is equal, but there is no other place that gathers such different people with such different cultural backgrounds who still manage to live together. That's what interests me the most."
El tipo es un mensch.