'Ahmed knows how to make a bomb' (Illustration)
A poem written by a 10-year old boy from Ness Ziona, in which he describes the life of a bomb-maker named Ahmed who specializes in killing Jews, was included in a booklet published by the city's municipality after it was accepted into a poetry competition. The poem offended the Israeli Arabs who saw it in the booklet, and following an appeal made by Ynet the municipality decided to remove it.
The poem reads as follows:
Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bomb!
What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.
Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.
We get blasted while they have a blast!
Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.
According to the Arabs who read the poem, it is racist and incites hatred among Arabs and Jews. Ibrahim Abu-Shindi, who manages the Arab community center in Jaffa, said the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the State and its leaders. "I'm not surprised by this story because all that Jewish children know from television is the Hamas man as a terrorist and a murderer."
According to Abu-Shindi, "the Education Ministry does not invest in bringing people together at all. There used to be a department for democracy and co-existence that did much to bring Arabs and Jews together, but it was cancelled. They send Jews to meet their Jewish friends from America through the 'Taglit' project, but they never get to know the Arabs that live only a few meters away."
The poem, in his opinion, creates a problematic state of events. "Placing this poem in a booklet is very serious, and encourages other children who think like this boy. If you want to bring people together you need stories about encounters and hope, otherwise you encourage hatred."
'Murmurings of an innocent child'
The booklet's editor and poetry competition director Marika Berkowitz was surprised at the protests. "This is the boy's creation and this is what he wanted to express. Of course there should be a limit, but I think the there is no racism here. 'Ahmed' is a general term for the enemy. These are the murmurings of an innocent child.
"There has been no intention of harming the Arab sector, but rather a specific terrorist – Ahmed. We didn't want to offend a specific population and I don't see anything out of order in this poem. We have had Arab students compete in the competition in previous years."
Due to the objections from the Arab sector, Berkowitz had 500 copies of the booklet recalled and the poem is to be removed from them. The Education Ministry responded by stating that "the local authority that published the booklet should have guided the students in a more correct manner through the schools. The district will investigate the issue with the local authorities."