Family 1: A Palestinian home
Ahmed: A young Palestinian boy about 12 or 13. Deeply religious, he believes that if he is martyred, he will go directly to heaven. Since he was a baby, he has been told that the Israelis are evil. He has seen the rioting and would like to join in.
Miriam: The older sister of Ahmed. She was to be married, but her fiancee was killed in a riot by Israeli soldiers. She considers herself to be a widow. She is very angry and bitter towards the Israelis.
Abdullah: The oldest son of Muhammed. He is a member of Al Fatah. He is deeply religious, and has committed terrorist acts towards Israelis. He is wanted by the Israeli police.
Muhammed: The father of Abdullah, Miriam, Mustafa, and Ahmed. He was born and grew up in the refugee camp. His father was killed in the 1949 war with Israel and his family home was burnt down. He does not want his children involved with the demonstrations. He too is very religious.
Serapin: Mother of Ahmed. She is troubled by the violence and does not want any of her children hurt. She wants to move to America where her brother lives and is prospering.
Family 2: An Israeli home
David Rothberg: An 18-year-old Israeli citizen. Currently serving in the Israeli army, he believes all Arabs want to destroy Israel. He is not very religious, but he is very proud to be an Israeli soldier. He has never been in any of the rioting. He has just been assigned to riot duty in the Gaza strip.
Ben Rothberg: David’s father. Born in Israel, his parents were both survivors of the Holocaust. He is a true believer in the country of Israel as a Jewish state. Deeply religious, he has been trained as a Rabbi. He runs a small grocery store and his employees are all Arabs. He always complains about how lazy they are, yet he pays only the minimum allowed by law.
Sarah: Mother of David. She immigrated from the United States. She hates the violence. She is afraid for her son and wishes he had a safe job. Not very religious, she mostly goes along with whatever Ben says. Her American upbringing and ideas conflict with those of Ben and her neighbors.
Judith: Younger sister of David. She worships him but doesn’t want him to know. She is planning on following him into the army when she is old enough. She is extremely bright and could go to the university if she wants to.
Mariam: David’s girlfriend. She was raised on a kibbutz and her parents were killed in a terrorist attack. She professes to hate all Arabs. She says she is glad David has a chance to kill Arabs. She wants all Arabs out and only Jews living in Israel.
1- As the simulation shows, Muhammed’s father was killed by the Israelis in their war of independence, as they attempted to defend their state and enforce the boundaries established by the UN. Although this was an international decree, all Muhammed witnessed was his father’s death and the loss of his family home as the land of his forefathers was taken to make room for what many Palestinians viewed as the “occupiers.” If you were him, how would you react? For example, would you blame the Israelis for hurting your father and taking your land, and then pass on this hatred to your children so they would know never to trust the Israelis? Would you seek revenge for your family and people? Or is there a chance that you would accept the new conditions of the UN resolution because it was in the best interest of the people of the world? What about simply seeking strength in your religion and guiding your children away from the hatreds of the past in an effort to protect them? Please put some thought into your answer and provide at least 4–5 sentences as you explain it.
2– Within the Israeli home, Ben knows from the horrors faced by his parents what can happen when there is not a state of Israel in the world. He thus supports his state and will do anything to defend its claim to this region. How does this differ from Muhammed’s stance?
3-What do Muhammed and Ben have in common?
4-Judith and Ahmed are the youngest members of their respective families. What do they have in common?
5-Given what you have read and what you know about the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, what is the likelihood that the children will continue the cycle of violence in this land if nothing radically changes?
6-What impact has the violence in this land had on the legitimacy of the Israeli government?
7-Abdullah has admittedly committed terrorist acts against Israel. According to your text, does terrorism work?