Change Should Come From Within
I invited two friends to join a coexistence class with me. It’s for women in the Jewish and Arab sectors in Israel, and is based on learning the techniques of photography. They liked the idea but said they wanted to ask their husbands. “Ask?!!” I exclaimed. “Just tell them you’re taking it!”
The next day they told me the answer is no. One husband would not even leave the door open for discussion, and the other one grinned, and asked, “Why? And what about the kids?” and turned back to the television.
Frustrated, but not wanting to be the cause of a problem between husbands and wives, I dropped the subject.
I live with about 40,000 other people in an Arab city in Israel. The town changed rather quickly from being a village to a city, yet it remains a conservative society guided by tradition and religion. Few signs of village life remain. There are many educated men and women, beautiful homes, expensive cars, nargilla/coffee shops (traditionally for men), and many stores, yet few forms of entertainment, especially for women.
My friends do not work. They complain about boredom and the lack of opportunities in the city.
What disturbed me is that my friends are strong women. So why did they let their husbands make that decision for them?
This article does not allow me to discuss in detail the barriers but I believe they are:
POLITICAL - The Arab towns in Israel suffer from discrimination in many forms. The government does not allot as much money to the Arab sector as it does to the Jewish sector, resulting in a lack of facilities and proper services.
SOCIAL - In this close-knit society, no one is spared from curious eyes, and nosy questions. People’s actions are controlled by one question: “What will the neighbors/ the in-laws/ my parents, etc say?”
WOMEN – Sometimes women are their own worst enemies. Could it be that fear of being different stops us from growing? Why do we complain and allow others to control us? Shouldn’t we take the initiative and provide for ourselves?
Political and social barriers are harder to change. So why can’t we start with the easier barrier: women? Women should search for the beauty within themselves by learning and daring to be different.
My friend (mentioned above) - with her husband’s encouragement - and I decided to open a “club” for women. Our goal is to combat boredom by beginning the change slowly by teaching "fun" classes which can open doors for unemployed women. We will begin very small - starting with lessons in soap making, and then move on to other types of classes. We can sell the products and distribute a portion of the money to the Palestinian refugees.
Pulsewire offers many ideas from women who have overcome similar situations. Maybe my ideas will help someone. I might also be to obtain financial aid to help me fund the club.
I believe change should start from within.