Photo: EPA
'Why are we mothers failing to protect our children from passion of sword and its destruction?'
Photo: EPA

From a Jewish mother to an Arab one

Op-ed: Connection between mother and son is an important characteristic of Arab culture. So why doesn't mothers' love serve as a shield against growing violence?

I am 56 years old. As the years go by, I fine myself less and less forgiving towards phenomena which I saw in the past as natural phenomena: Unchangeable, ancient like human history and engraved in us since its inception.



The main phenomenon bothering me at the moment is the ongoing killing of young people for the sake of initiated wars. As a person living in the Middle East, I am regularly exposed to an unshakable ethos that young people should sacrifice themselves in order to expand the border or influence of a state, religion, group, people, land, etc.


My criticism is not over an attacked society's need to defend itself. As a daughter of the Jewish people, this matter is clear and requires no explanations. I am interested in the initial world of concepts which justifies the act of initiating a war and sees it as a legitimate human act.


I wish to question this legitimacy.


Among other things, I would like to find out whether the fierce wars throughout human history were simply the result of the fact that the world has been controlled by men so far. I wonder whether the gap between the feminine and masculine experience in terms of giving birth and raising children is at the core of the manly willingness to sacrifice men's lives in a much easier manner than women's lives.


I am basing my comments on the thoughts of American feminist Carol Gilligan, who laid the foundation for the idea that women have a different moral perception than men in her books.


Why every mother knows how long and complicated the pregnancy process is; how difficult, painful and dangerous it is to give birth to a child; how much effort, talent and creativity are needed to raise every girl and boy; and how many hopes, prayers and dreams are tied to them.


It is precisely for this reason that we cannot endure the inconceivable gap between the heroic effort involved in carrying, delivering and raising every child, and the amazing lightness of the act of killing, which is – so many times – an incidental act.


Moreover, it's impossible to understand the lightness in which allegedly normative, sane people send their people, members of their religion or group, to an act of mass killing, which crushes in a stroke the weariless efforts of mothers and fathers from all groups, religions and nations to raise children who will implement in their lives all the love, creativity and effort invested in them and pass them on to the next generation.


The Arab and Jewish cultures are filled with knowledge about the value of an individual's life. The Koran says, "If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people."


Maimonides, in Tractate Sanhedrin, believes that "a single person is created to teach that if any causes a single life to be lost, it is on him as if he has lost a whole world, and if anyone saves a single life, it is on him as if he saved a whole world. Therefore every man must say 'for my sake was the world created.'"


Every person is an whole, full, unique world,. There has never been and there will not be anyone else like that person.


For years I have been curiously observing the Arab families living alongside us in the State of Israel, and I have noticed that the emotional connection between Arab mothers and their sons is very strong – much stronger than in the West, in my opinion.

I see the connection between the mother and her son as an important characteristic of the Arab culture.


This is where my query comes from: If I am right, how is it possible that the mothers' love does not serve as a shield against the growing violence? Why are we, Jewish and Arab mothers, failing to protect our children from the passion of the sword and its destruction?


פרסום ראשון: 06.21.14, 11:26
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