User:Jacob J. Walker/Education for Americans about the Culture of Arab Israelis Project
The Education for Americans about the Culture of Arab Israelis Project is being created to help teach Americans about the culture of Arab Israelis (1948 Arabs) and Palestinians. This project is not meant to be political in nature, and will not focus on the conflicts.
The Arab world and the United States of America are linked to one another in many ways. Economically the two worlds are tied tightly to each other with oil as the bond. Technologically the present day Arab world benefits from many of the advances developed in America, but these advances are built upon much of the mathematics whose roots lead back to the Arab world. Further there are 3,500,000 Arabs living in the United States, and many Americans living in the Arab world.
Yet, with the bond that exists between these two worlds, the population of both do not have a good understanding of the other. Most Americans do not have a good understanding of Arabs. This is primarily caused by Americans seeing only a small distorted view of the Arab world through their media.
No place is this phenomenon greater than with the Palestinians and Arab Israelis (“1948 Arabs”). The American media, which focuses on the suicide bombers, the political conflict, and a few key political leaders, usually ignores the cultural history of the Palestinians and Arab Israelis. In fact less than 0.5% of the articles about Arab Israelis deal with “Arab Israeli culture”, compared with 85% of the articles that deal with “Arab Israeli conflict”. In fact, there are less than 5 books that focus on the culture of the Arab Israelis or Palestinians, and all of these books are academic texts that the general American populous are not likely to read.
President George Bush Sr. once wisely said, "Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education."  This could not be more true than with the problems and challenges shared by the United States, the Arab world, and specifically the problems and challenges faced in Israel.
Most Americans do not realize that over 20% of Israelis (not Palestinian by Israeli legal definition) are Arab. Further, most Americans are not aware of the diversity of beliefs and religions that Arab Israelis have. For example while a little over two-thirds (68%) are Muslim, there are a large minority of Christians (7%) and Druze(7%).
While most Americans have heard of Nazareth, most would be surprised to learn that Nazareth is primarily an Arab city, and that nearly one third of the Arabs living in Nazareth are Christian.
Most Americans are not aware of any of those facts, nor do they know about the culture of Arab Israelis and/or the Palestinians. Further, many Americans have misconceptions about parts of Arab Israeli culture. Most Americans know little about the art of Arab Israelis, with a few more knowing about the customs.
More Americans believe they know about the clothing and culture of Arab Israelis, but there are many misconceptions. One of the primary misconceptions center around the Hijab, or head scarf that may be worn by Muslim women. In Nazareth, most Arab women do not wear a Hijab, and those who do, usually do so because of their own choice and will, not unlike how a Catholic nun may choose to wear their Habit. Islam is practiced in a variety of ways, with only a small minority practicing more fundamentalist forms.
It is still being determined whether this project will require outside funding. If it does need outside funding a grant proposal is being created:
- "Search for "arab israeli", "arab israeli culture", and "arab israeli conflict"". Google. Retrieved 5/19/2007.
- "Search for "arab israeli culture" and "palestinian culture"". Amazon.com. Retrieved 5/19/2007.
- "What Work Requires of Schools". United States Department of Labor. April 18, 1991. Retrieved 6/30/2007.
- "CIA World Factbook, Israel". U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. May 15, 2007. Retrieved 5/31/07.