Drawing the Line at My Front Door
We are sometimes asked to host people for a meal in our home, which we accept gladly.
At least most of the time.
Awhile ago westbankpapa received a request. A famous left-wing personality, who had been hosted himself in America, was now hosting both a Christian American and a Palestinian American (Muslim). They asked him if he could arrange to meet a "real settler".
This request always puts me off a bit. I mean, really, we are not museum pieces or attractions at a freak show, we are normal human beings who happen to live in an area that some find controversial. At the same time, this is what being an official spokesman is all about - making a good impression on people who are unfamiliar with those who live in Judea and Samaria.
Westbankpapa told me about the request, and we were working out some logistical arrangements, when he casually mentioned the name of this famous left-wing personality.
I remember bursting out, completely without thinking, the following: "I will not let that man step foot in my house!"
Westbankpapa was shocked. In the past I have had Palestinian Arabs, fundamentalist Christians (including the pastor), and European reporters in my home for meals without batting an eyelash. I believe that communicating with people on a one-to-one basis is the very best way to break down stereotypes.
This time was an exception, though. The person in question was personally responsible for telling vicious lies about our whole community, and literally causing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of others to hate those of us living in Judea and Samaria without cause. I just couldn't bear the thought of him in my home.
Of course, after I said this, I started to feel a bit guilty. Most women are taught to "be nice" no matter what. Having guests in your home is a fundamental part of being an Orthodox woman. And, the insidious little voice of egotism started to speak. "Maybe when he meets us he will change his mind about settlers, and realize that we are not so bad after all"....As if my recipe for brownies (as good as they are) will somehow tame the savage settler hater into a more objective and reasonable person....
Of course a few minutes later reality set in - and I figuratively shook myself and thought "NOT GONNA HAPPEN MAMA. This guy has an agenda and your hospitality will not change it."
Westbankpapa made arrangements to speak with the three visitors in the yishuv but not at home, and he said it went well. This small group left the yishuv never knowing that they missed out on my delicious brownies. And I reaffirmed a feeling that I have had for a long time.
I do not have a lot of clout in the traditional sense. I work part-time at two very low paying jobs, and I do not come from a wealthy or a powerful family.
But within the four walls of my home I am the queen, and I choose who gains entrance to it and who does not. Although not opening my home to this man made absolutely no difference in the cosmic sense, it made a big difference to me.