Thursday, March 23, 2006

Moroccans root for native son

Aside from idealising past relations between Jews and Arabs and exaggerating the numbers of Jews still in Morocco ( there are probably no more than 2,700) this AP report from Amir Peretz's place of birth of Boujad makes for interesting reading. (With thanks: Albert)

"Old-timers are aware that a native son is campaigning to become Israel's prime minister and are cheering for him. They also know that of the three leading candidates, he is the most dovish toward the Palestinians.

"We hope he does become prime minister," said Mohammed Zine Eddine, Boujad's top municipal official. "It would be good if peace comes from Boujad."

The warm ties between Arabs and Jews in the town decades ago could have been a model for a different Middle East, untroubled by religious barriers and animosity, living and trading with each other and baby-sitting each other's kids.

"We treated the Jews well," said Mohammed Aloumi, 68, who owns a hardware store in Boujad, and hoped Peretz would reciprocate in his treatment of the Palestinians.

"But Peretz is the underdog in the election, partly because his background is in trade unionism and he is seen as too left-wing and too inexperienced in security issues."

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