9 April 2015

Interviewer trying to impose a religion on me

A telephone survey on the theme of Haifa city:

Interviewer: Are you from a Jewish, Muslim, or Christian family?
Me: Atheist
Interviewer: You have to choose from the three categories: Jewish, Muslim, or Christian?
Me: I already answered you. I’m from an atheist family.
Interviewer: But I have to indicate... ok, what’s your ethnic group? (she uses the word eda in Hebrew, which can also connote religious affiliation).
Me: Palestinian.
Interviewer: And the family background? Muslim or Christian?
Me: You can’t force a religion on me. I already answered your question.
Interviewer: But I have to indicate one of the three options. Jewish, Muslim or Christian?
Me: Listen, lady. I already responded to your question several times.
Interviewer: Your family. What background? Muslim or Christian?

At this point I informed her I was not interested in continuing the survey. I totally understand the need for categorization, especially if the survey’s goal is, for example, about mapping the needs of different groups in Haifa. But religious categorization doesn’t add any value. Yes, I would like to see the results of a survey with division according to Jews and Palestinians, as the needs of the Jewish society would be different than those of the Palestinian society in Haifa. But to do the division according to religion doesn’t contribute anything. It is another attempt at dividing the Palestinian society, nothing more than that. A gender categorization, for example, would be much more important, as the needs of women are unique and different than those of men. And with the current categorization they are forgetting that Haifa has more groups than the three offered. Have they forgotten that Haifa has a not so insignificant number of Bahai? What about those belonging to the Druze religion? Would she also try to force a Muslim/Christian choice upon them?


  1. Same happened to me but in airport security. Then it became, what festivals did your parents celebrate. Nothing.... how about your grand parents....

    Say hello to people in in Haifa. I'll be reading your book and reviewing it in Arabic for the folks. There is some demand for such a thing, though my impression is that people seem to think it is not fiction.

  2. thanks Rabee. Do let me know where the review will be published. regarding people thinking it's not fiction - that's what happens with political fiction usually. Of course the characters and story-line are fiction, but the themes are very real.


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