November Report from Yishuv Alon

> Weather

It has not rained yet. But the first seasonal rain is expected soon. All the stuff that people left outdoors for the summer, is being gathered up and carried back inside. Dryers and heaters are being reconnected. I can't wait for all the dust on everything to get washed off!

> Kids

The kids here grow up for the most part with much more independence than other kids. The four year olds (and up) routinely walk themselves to school or the bus stop. They show up at their after school programs without car pools or parents walking them. The kids 6 and up, walk to the Makolet and purchase food on their parents' accounts, by signing their names. It is funny to see their "signatures" done all in "block style" or capital letters on the account card.

Some members of the yishuv (me included) like to bring the kids who go to  morning prayers, to the makolet afterwards for treats like chocolate milk etc.  Last week, my friend's son (4 years old) showed up barefoot in his pajamas right  at the end of prayers just so he could get his prize.

I was not even sure that his mother knew he had arisen and left. Morning prayers are from 6 - 6:30, so it is certainly possible he just went himself.

> Our Kids and School

The kids have been in school for three weeks now. As far as I can tell,
they still do not understand much of what they hear. Nevertheless, to their
credit, they seem to be having little emotional difficulty.

Zosh, in first grade, leaves at 7:30, has "AruHat Eser" (10 AM meal) at
school, comes home at 1, eats lunch, does his "homework". He tells us that
school was fine no matter what we ask. Yair, in pre-K, has pretty much the same
schedule, but he doesn't get homework. He just plays with big blocks, the
computer, and likes snack time. They both are enrolled a couple of afternoon
"clubs" (fitness, soccer etc). Here too they cannot understand what the leader
is saying, but they imitate the motions just fine. They participate in birthday
celebrations, with Yair virtually yelling the songs whose words he barely knows.

The classes in school are large. A class can be as large as 40 kids. After that
it can be split into two small classes of 20 each. Zosh's Class has 38 boys and
girls. The teacher has a couple of assistants at Different times.

One day a week their main teacher is not there, and they have a combination of
arts, electronics (yes - really!), music, sports and a visit from the "emotional
health" teacher.

> Teaching Early Math

They teach math in a way that I do not understand or appreciate. They
give a set of colored plastic "girders" to each kid, with 9 different
colors for the digits 1-9. There are many copies of each girder, each
of whose lengths is proportional to the number it represents. There are
many copies of each size girder. For example, the length 1 girder is
white, the length 8 is brown. The kids ALL know which number is which
color by HEART. Even Zosh knows this already. I was so skeptical that I
quizzed him over and over until I was convinced.

They do addition by putting the girders together end to end and "measuring" the
result. I really don't get it. Maybe the idea is to take the abstraction out
of addition, and make it more concrete. Anyway, Zosh seemed to feel great about
knowing which colors were associated with which digits. SO at least on the level
of motivation and self esteem, it works.

> Kids' Absorption

Surprisingly, our kids do not ask for TV or VCR much at all.  This is fortunate because we have no TV or VCR, although these items were virtual hobbies back in MA). They sometimes watch TV
at friends's houses. The time they do spend - ( I would say maybe 3-4 hours/week) is well spent - since they watch a lot of kids' shows in Hebrew, which helps with their language skills. The shows for kids range from ReHov Soomsoom (Hebrew Sesame Street) to weird stuff like "HaBoobot Hapsoolot Miseebot Shonot" (A show about the
"lives" of dolls are broken in the factory for various reasons)... The
stuff is a typical collection of kid stuff - similar to the US.

They spend a lot of time playing board games, coloring, reading with
us, going wild on the playground and playing fanatasy games with their

They are used to having lots of friends, and since of course they don't
have as many real friends yet, I feel like this must bother them.
However, the people here and nearby have been generous with their invitations
for play dates etc, and this has made the boys feel more at ease.

I try very hard not to let them know that I feel sorry for them. This
is very comical at times. Zosh told me the other morning that he did
not want to go to school. I was waiting for this ... actually expecting it
sooner or later ... so I took a deep breath and prepared to give my
planned "pep talk" about how tough it is to make new friends in a new language
etc. and how this is no reflection on him ... Well I managed to keep my mouth
shut long enough to let him elaborate -- and he continued to say that he
prefers kindergarten because they let him play like his brother,
while in first grade, they make him work.

I saved my "speech" or I should say that he saved me from making it! I
am very proud of how his is managing.

> Language Acquisition

There is a notion that younger children learn language faster than older
ones, and MUCH faster than adults. I have been watching the kids and
Andrea carefully for changes in their language abilities.

As for myself, I feel very fortunate to have suffered 15 years ago
Fulfilling my job lecturing in Hebrew. By now, I feel as good as I had
been when I left 15 years ago. My comprehension is 99%, speaking is
almost fluent, but not as nice as to what I am used to in English.
Certainly, simple social interactions are not any problem, but for complicated
ideas and feelings I prefer to use English.

It seems to me that there are at two important factors that explain why
the younger ones learn language faster, neither of which has to do with
an alleged neurological difference in "mind"

1. Adults are not able to enjoy the environment of
a child, where food is provided, day to day issues are taken care of,
and the only thing they need to do is socialize with other people their
own age in a learning and playing environment. Can you imagine moving to
a new country, where you are given a place to live, fed and regular
times, put together with 20 other people your age with whom you play and
study all day. I believe that adults in this environment would learn the new
language more quickly, than adults who must make a living, clean the
house, and otherwise engage in all the various responsibilities that
adults engage in.

2. Compared to children, adults have MUCH greater capabilities and
power of expression that are very subtle.
This is not simply a matter of vocabulary and grammar but a whole
absorbed culture about how to discuss certain issues. For example,
think of the experience necessary to use language in say negotiating the
price of a car or home, visiting and comforting someone who is recently
bereaved, asking for a raise, telling someone you love them. The
ability to really manipulate language to one's needs is a subtle complex
skill. Because of this skill and experience, the expectations of an
adult user of language are incomparably greater than that of a child.
Hence adults are too afraid to really try, because they see the road
ahead too long and hard. Who wants to "relearn" all their conversation
skills (sense of humor, negotiation etc) all over again?

SO ... while Yair gets simple books read to him all day with pictures
showing the meaning of the words that are being spoken, Zosh is being
told to do relatively complicated tasks like reading and writing, and
Andrea gets to sit at a dinner table with 6-7 adults discussing
politics, money and yishuv gossip using expressions and subtleties that
no child could ever comprehend. Which one do you think will have an
easier time learning the language. And what does learning a language
mean for a 4 year old, versus a 6 year old versus a 32 year old?

> Trips

We went for Shabbat (Friday/Saturday) to YerhoHam, a development
town in the Negev. It is remote and industrial, but has started to get
a new influx of younger couples. We enjoyed the trip since it went by
the Dead Sea. We travelled the length of this amazing body of water,
stopping once for snacks and a quick dip of our toes.

The sea itself is really dead. It is filled with a huge concentration of salts
and minerals, and there is no fish or plant life at all. The water is very
dense, so humans float in it much better than they do in fresh water. There are
a number of big factories that extract chemicals from it, and are simultaneously
draining it dry slowly but surely. There is also one strip of 5 star Hotels for
spa vacations. There is a nature preserve at the point where 2 Wadis empty into
the Dead Sea, through a narrow canyon. There is also Massada, a noticeable high
spot, where a small sect of Jews held out for a year finally committing suicide
(one theory) before succumbing to a year long Roman siege. The ruins on top are
a big tourist spot.

It is the lowest point on earth -400 meters, and is surrounded by a wall of
mountains on either side (Israel and Jordan. I can never stop wondering what it
would be like to run a canal to it from the Mediterannean Sea. The huge
resulting recreation area would stir the economy, add housing, cool the desert
via evaporation, and give good hydroelectric power. It would give Jordan the
same economic boost. An added bonus is that another 17% of the disputed areas
between Palestinians and Israel goes under water! Actually, the whole city of
Jericho would go under. But I guess one could build an 800 ft. high wall around
the city. The only downside I can see is the destruction of a world class
natural resource, and the loss of ancient sites including Qumran cave (home of
dead seas scrolls), Jericho (and the new casino), and Massada :)

Yair went on a field trip to the village 5 minutes away where Zosh goes
to school. They went to pick olives of olive trees. (You know, in Hebrew one
uses a different word for "picking" olives and a different one for picking
grapes etc) Anyhow, they also went to check out the local "zoo" - some person
who has lots of chickens and cats in their yard.

> Bezek - The Phone Company

The phone company here is very good, especially in comparison to its
previous long standing reputation of keeping people waiting for phone
connections for months at a time. Now, our phone was connected in a
matter of days, and what's more is that there is a small monthly fee
($2) to set up an automatic "answering machine" through Bezek. This was
very convenient, the only drawback being that one cannot listen to who
is calling before deciding whether or not to pick up.

Do phone companies in the states offer this service? I do not remember
if they do.

Many people here have cell phones. Much more per capita than the US.
Presumably it is easier to unify the service reliably in a country the
size of NJ. The big players are Motorolla and CellCom. We just
got one, for emergencies, so Andrea can drive the old car through
remote areas without fear.

> The Mall

I bought this phone at the Jerusalem Mall, which is a very large US
style shopping mall, hundreds of stores and a big food court.
The main difference is that they check your trunk here
before they let you park. The phone took 30 minutes to purchase and
will end up costing about $200/year with moderate to little use. This
is an amazing difference from the old wait of 6 months for a phone line.
Perhaps it was the "Pele-Phone" (literally wonder phone) people that put
the fear of God, competition into Bezek!

The stores here are modern and western. They have a bunch of kids toy
cars they rent as strollers that the kids love. I havent seen this too
much in the US. They all take american credit cards, as do most of the
auto-teller machines. We are actually existing without any bank account
here. I am now typing this is the food court of the mall, where I was
visited by a deaf man who wanted money for a hearing aid - I tried to
sign to him that my wife was an audiologist and I wished to donate a
free hearing test. I have no idea what I actually signed, so I started
spelling things which I CAN do. In the end, I gave him 10 shekels. I
am not sure what he would do with a free hearing test anyhow! I learned
that the deaf community here - (unlike that in the US) is not so well
organized. In fact, in the US it is a real mistake for a deaf person to
try to strive to be a "hearing" person. The culture is deep and
private! Here, however, it is considered normal for deaf people to try
and hear as well as possible, and not to HAVE to sign.

I have another little visitor - a 4 your old boy named "Gal". His
Mother keeps telling him not to disturb me; I keep telling here that he
is not. He is intrigued by the laptop.

I dont know what I would do without this laptop. My research and all
communication to friends and colleagues depend on it. I remember 15
years ago sending proofs of theorems to my advisor by snail mail.
Waiting up to 8 weeks for his "approval", only to find an error myself after 6
weeks! Well as you can tell, progress on my Ph.D was slow that year!

> Hiking

It is NOT considered safe to go hike in the desert here
without a gun or guide or both. This does not mean it is very dangerous. It
just means that the common wisdom is NOT to take such a risk. Doing so, would be
similar to walking in bad US inner city area at night. My sense is that the
dangers and risks are similar.

> Another Perspective on the Yishuv

I just met a young couple the other day in the Math department, who
told me they had applied to be members of the Yishuv, but thay they
decided against joining. I asked them why. The reason, they said, was
that the committee interviewing them, stressed the "mixed" (religious
and secular) nature of the yishuv so much, that they were suspicious of the
possible conflicts this represented. They themselves are secular, having grown
up "naturally" with religious and secular in their communities in the city, and
it seems they thought the yishuv was "protesting too much". So they were not
impressed with the "uniqueness" of the place here.

The yishuv now has a Falafel stand that literally rolls into town on
Thursday nights. It is run by on eof the Yishuv families. It is quite
a popular social spot, where I see people that I never see during the
rest of the week. There is no restaurant outside of this - so it isa
real treat for both kids and adults a like. The falafel is not bad

> Car

We finally have a car. The used car market here is quite well
developed. There is a publically sold monthly magazine listing all
types of cars and models going back 15-20 years. In general the prices
for autos both new and old are higher here - because there is
approximately a 100% tax.

The prices are listed from which negotiations usually begin. I bought a
1982 Subaru, for $2000. I had it "checked" at a business whose job it
is to check used cars before purchase. They gave it a passing score. I
then drove it back home from Holon (near Tel Aviv) where I bought it, to
a "discovery zone" play area near Jerusalem, where I left Andrea and the
kids with some friends. The good news is that they has a great day!
The bad news is that the car broke down a few kilometers from where I
left the family. I had to get it towed and eventually put in another
1-2 thousand dollars getting it to work. It turns out that if I want, I
can sue the "checking before buying" place for not finding the obvious
problem with the engine's cooling system. I dont plan on it - ... Unless
one of you has a real itch to learn the intricacies of the small courts
system here... :)

Well, it actually gets worse, when it was parked at the garage to which
it was towed, it was broken into by the locals who stole the stereo.
Talk about being kicked when you're down. Well the bright side is that the
sound of the stereo was fuzzy anyhow ...

Car works okay now, except it looks a little like the kind of car one
Would smuggle goods in - old but reliable. So Andrea got stopped by a
cop for a random check the other day ... I guess the infant in the back seat
and the list of "papers" for insurance, registration anmd the like -
made him ease off.

I have to say that since it has proved itself reliable I have developed
a real liking for the car. I even feel kind of proud when every poor
slob looking for a jalopy asks me if I am selling it. I tell them to
take a number and get back to me in a year.

> Pets

Lots of people on the Yishuv have dogs - which officially are not
Allowed to roam, but in practice, they go everywhere. Virtually no one
has a housecat, probably because there is such a large population of stray
cats that live off garbage they can scavenge. This cats are very timid, but
relentless in their pursuit of food. Many have a strange mutant like
appearance, almost as though the cuts, injuries and disfigurements of living in
the wild, has passed onto the offspring.

> Radio, TV and Newspapers

We can see many Jordanian villages from the Yishuv and are 600 meters
below Jerusalem, so we get plenty of Arabic radio stations and have to
try hard to tune into a few Israeli stations. Also, we get 2-3 TV
stations, depending on the weather.

There is cable TV here - but I dont know much about it.

There are many Hebrew newspapers, and there is the Jerusalem Post. I always
thought the J-Post was just an English language Israeli newspaper, but in fact,
it is really a newspaper for displaced US citizens. For example, it runs
reprints of the NYT op-ed page, and reports on the US sports scene. We buy
Yediot, a typical daily newspaper, because that is the only paper they sell on
the yishuv. It reads like a US tabloid (NY Daily News, Boston Herald etc).
Because of this I found a week late, that the Yankees swept the World Series.

> Our Life

We have settled in easily to a routine and have stuck to it. I wake up
early (5:30), prayers at 6:00, makolet at 6:30, back at 6:45. Andrea
meanwhile gets the kids dressed and fed, and she leaves at 7:00 (2x week) for
swimming at a nearby settlement that has a health club (15 minute drive
each way). I walk the kids to school or the bus, and wait until she returns.
Then I go work (writing mainly) either at the university or at home. She takes
care of the day to day living stuff, bills, shopping etc. She goes in one day
to a hospital for audiology work, and I stay home that day with the
kids in the afternoon. Kids are in bed by 7:30, us by 10:00.

> 5.5 Day Week

The work/school week here is Sunday – Friday. But Friday is a preparing day for
Shabbat, so many people work half days or not at all. In fact, it is often hard
to get the required 10 people for a “minyan” for morning prayers on Friday.

> Hobbies

I play Bridge one night a week in Jerusalem with an old character named
Herzl Sokolov. The name is a conjunction of two famous Zionists. He himself
speaks 4-5 languages, with a sense of humor in at least the two that I
understand. He is an easy going moderately good player who is the bridge maven
of the city. He runs many of the games in town, and told me confidentially that
he is considering opening up a 7 day/week place - but that I shouldnt tell
anybody yet... I hope this doesnt get back to him!

It is rumored that the best bridge players are in Haifa, then Tel Aviv,
and lastly Jerusalem.

There is a go club here that I plan to attend - but it meets just once a
month. In the meantime I have been "training" a woman named Tamar Ziegler, who
is 2-3 stones weaker than me. She will be the Israeli representative in the
upcoming amateur woman's championship in Japannext week!

The Japanese asked her to please where the official uniform of her
country. Well she inquired, and was told to go ask the folk dancing
groups. They told her that there was no uniform, and she just make
something up. Well they are paying for her trip, and it is quite an
exciting thing for her (and her husband who will be home with their 4
month old cheering her on).

It is worth living in a small country!

Her goal is not to lose all her games. Luckily for her there are a few
other small countries entered.

> My Research

I go in to the university 1-3 times a week. I spend time between the
Math department and the rare book room of the library. It is exciting
to look at old manuscripts. It is kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark
without the adventure.

I have gotten a good amount done. Last week I finished a long (27 page) paper
for one journal whose editor was encouraging. The journal is oriented to
pedagogy. I am now working on my next paper for a research oriented journal, and
this should take a good 3 months to finish.

I am really pleased with the work, not only because everyone has been so
supportive but more because I am always learning new things and the variations
and extensions can keep me busy for many years.

> My "Absorption" in Israel

I am feeling comfortable at the Yishuv, because at least there is a
Subgroup of people who go regularly to prayers, with whom I have a
bond. This is a group of maybe 20-30 men. The other socializing I do is
through invitations for meals on sabbath. All in all, I feel that the people
have been most welcoming especially considering that they know we are NOT
intending to stay. They could easily ignore us for the year.

More often than I expect as I meet people at the university and elsewhere -
someone wants to send regards to someone at the yishuv. It is a small country
so I guess more people than I expect no someone in this godforsaken hamlet on a
hill in the desert.

At the university things are a little more "universal" with the bonds
being through scholarship rather than culture, but this too overlaps.

Finally, as is the case anywhere in the world, I have the good fortune
of making new friends through the common bond of bridge and Go, whose
shared pleasure always transcends even the most difficult of language
barriers. In particular, when playing a complete game of Go with
someone, you can learn a great deal about them (and yourself) without
actually saying anything. It is like having a common language. (I know
it's just a game! But spend 5-10 years studying it, and then tell me if
you don't agree).

> Mail

All our mail seems to be getting forwarded despite the US Post Office
listing the forwarding address as if it were actually in Jericho! Thank
goodness the people can distinguish. Actually I guess I wouldnt know if
some mail was sitting in lonely bin in Jericho - would I?

> Our Apartment and the Caravan

The second floor apartment that our friends have been bulding for us
in anticipation of our arrival for 6 months is almost done. The
contractor promised it would be done by October 1, and it seems like Nov
15 is a better estimate. The reason for the delay seems to be 5%
because of the various "segers" - days the workers are not allowed into the
yishuv, and 95% a screwy contractor. It seems that the Israeli contractors
share the same faults with their American counterparts.

The "caravan" is a trailer with 3 rooms. Andrea and I share a bedroom,
the kids share another bedroom, and there is a large room in between
with a kitchen/dining area, and of course there is a bathroom. It is not
uncomfortable. However, it is disorienting to put effort into making
it home, when we will move again so soon. Nevertheless, Andrea has
worked hard to make it a very pleasant place.

> Politics

The "peace" talks are controversial - with some people thinking that
Israel has given all for nothing, and others who feel that they
have not started to bargain seriously at all.

On both sides are simple people trying to live their lives in peace, and a
smaller percentage of people on the fringes who have more marked agendas.

> Arab Workers at the Yishuv

Some days they can bring their cars all the way up to the house. Some days they
have to leave their cars at the gate - a 5 minute walk. Some days they
are turned back long before they get to the gate but that is very
unusual and would mean some "event" occurred which triggered a security
crack down. This event needs to be pretty serious or at least coincide
with known intelligence risks. The recent grenade attack that injured
28 people in a Beer Sheva bus station had no such effect, for example.
Someone, usually me if I am working at home, has to drive them back and forth to
get their tools, (they cannot walk around without an escourt).

How far they are allowed to enter, depends kind of randomly on which 20 year old
soldier is in charge at the gate that day. The workers, especially one feisty
guy, often gives the more stubborn soldiers an ear full. I am surprised at how
argumentative he is willing to get with someone who is holding a machine gun. I
for one, never argue with the decision of the gate guard no matter how

Once I was given a ride back with an Arab worker when I dropped my car off at
the garage. He has worked at this place for 8 years, and he is actually an
Israeli citizen (there are many Arab citizens of Israel) so everyone
trusts him. Nevertheless, as he parked in front of my house to drop me off,
someone who didnt recognize him, asked him very suspiciously what he was doing
here. The worker handled it in good humor - his Hebrew is about as good as
mine. I thanked him for the ride and he drove back to work at the garage,
where a member of the yishuv is the owner.

The general accepted practice for "bosses" here is to try and hire men over 30-
35 with families. These tend to be people who are more concerned with their
lifestyle, wife and kids than with a political agenda. Nevertheless, it is
easy to have a trusted worker who gets interrogated at work because his first
cousin just threw a grenade at someone.

I have gotten to know one of the fellows who works at our apartment
pretty well. He is young, handsome, strong, arrogant, fairly bright
(understands English, speaks and reads Hebrew fluently and can build a
house). He lacks the ability to empathize on any kind of broad scale,
(although he did seem to know how I felt when we discussed my stereo
being stolen). He seems to overestimate his own abilities and along
with that, underestimates his competition. He once told me that all
Arabs can understand Hebrew, and when they say they don't, they are just
doing so for their own benefit. Well... do you think he thought I
believed him? I wondered for a while about that. He got married a
month ago, and got divorced last week. According to him, there were
some "issues"; and his wife and mother kept having something to say
about these issues, so he got tired of that and kicked them both out of
the house. Again I wondered what he thought I thought of that story. I had
no idea what the story meant!

He is kind of likeable, and I trust him to some extent. We do have
pleasant conversations and sometimes spend time working together to find
appropriate tools in the yishuv for the work etc. He does work around
the kids a lot of the day. But deep down, I am his "shomer" (guard) not his
friend. We hang out together because I HAVE to watch him.

He and I once had to drive to the village up the hill to hire a tractor. When we
arrived at the village, I asked someone who owns a tractor here? She told us to
follow and she would point out the house. We drove to the house, and asked them
if they had a tractor and whether they were interested in renting it or doing a
small leveling job. An older woman walked out on the 2nd floor porch and after
looking us up and down, and asking who we were and who we knew, send us on our
way saying she had no tractor. Oh well! As we were heading back to the car, she
turned again to ask me who the work was for, again I answered and she said the
equivalent of “wait a second, maybe we do have a tractor, let me check”. I
couldn’t help laugh out loud at this social interaction. After all, it is not
like a tractor is something one can easily misplace or forget about.

It shows one fact of life here – that people are legitimately nervous about
trusting, AND they do NOT consider it insulting to imply a lack of trust. She
quickly changed her attitude and invited in us for coffee as we made the
contract with her eldest son. We were in kind of a rush, so we did not stay and
chat. But she was clearly willing to kick us out just 3 minutes earlier – who
knows what changed her mind.

> Our address and phone:

Yishuv Alon
D.N. Aravot Yericho
ISRAEL 90618

(Make sure Yericho is on the 3rd line, not the fourth – I don’t want to have to
go down to Jericho to get the mail - )

Bezek phone: (011-972) 2- 997- 2403

Cell-Phone: (011-972) 51-593-734

Shai Simonson
Department of Mathematics
Hebrew University - Givat Ram Campus
Jerusalem, Israel

> Flames and Comments

Please feel free to flame me on this report -- Let me know what is
boring, what would be more interesting, what you want to hear more
about, and what you want to hear less about. I will try to oblige about
once a month.

> FAQ's

Here are some frequently asked questions that I received from multiple
recipients of this list last month, whose
answers I thought might be of general interest:

1. Is Yishuv Alon in a territory that is subject to be given to the
Palestinians as part of the ongoing negotiations?

Yes - but unlikely. Any territory outside the 67 borders is subject to
negotiations -- but some areas are more on the table than others. For example:
French Hill, East Talpiyot and Maaleh Adoomim, three very large (20,000 plus
population) settlements outside of the 67 borders, have virtually a 0% chance of
being returned. They are too integrated and entrenched into "Israel" proper.

Alon is much further into the territories outside the 67 border, and MUCH
smaller (500 people) But who would want it? It sits alone on a hill in desert.
It is neither wealthy, nor has resources, nor is it close enough to any Arab
village to be annexed. It is simply in one of the most unpopulated, least
fought over areas in the West Bank. Nevertheless, there is no accounting for
taste... (Someone with a lot of money might have a vision of luxury condos with
a view of the desert – who knows).

2. Why are there no Israeli laborers? Can a society of Arabs and Jews
coexist side by side, with one people being seen as laborers and the
other as white collar people?

These really are million dollar questions...
I dont think anybody knows the real answers to these questions. Here
are some responses to the first question that I got from local Israelis:

a. Israelis feel that it is beneath them to do the grunt work.
b. Once an Israeli learns the business as a worker, he/she goes
off on his/her own as a contractor. Why work for someone when you can be the
c. The Arabs are better workers.
d. The Arabs are willing to work for less money.

My own view is that (d) and maybe (b) have some truth, and that it is completely
an issue of economics and standard of living.

The tension due to economic class distinctions are apparent in any society. The
tension is compounded when the economic classes are correlated with religion,
culture, skin color, or nationality etc. It is tense here.

By the way there are Jewish/Israeli workers, but most are new (Russian)
immigrants, many under the same economic pressure as the Arabs.

3. Can a society of Arabs and Jews coexist side by side, with one
people being seen as laborers and the other as white collar people?

I don't know. There must be racial/economic parallels in the US.
The uneven distribution of wealth and power along lines of culture
or race is a worldwide problem, which causes tension everywhere
it exists.

Shai Simonson
November 5759