‘Day-a Keduma’ in the Muslim World

In Hebrew class today the teacher asked if we knew the phrase, “day-a k’duma.” I knew the phrase, but students are not allowed to simply yell out the word in English to prove that we know what it means. At this level of Hebrew we have to define Hebrew with Hebrew. Plus it is rude to students from Russia or South America. The easiest way is to use it in a sentence.

I spoke up, “Because of day-a k’duma the people of Egypt are protesting at the Israeli embassy.”

Before I clarify, let me tell you how she responded. She told a story of her son going to Cambridge to study English. In his class were non-native English speakers from all over the world—including an Arab young man. After they got to know each other the Arab said to him, “You are the first Israeli I have ever met and you are not at all like what I expected.”

Another classmate from Holland added that she heard of a course being taught in Holland by an Arab teacher and an Israeli teacher. Some of the students voiced their concerns about Israelis at which the teacher replied, “But of course, you all know that I am Israeli.” They replied, “Oh, we are not speaking of you.” The fact that she was the only Israeli they actually knew apart from propaganda and anti-Israel media didn’t seem to bother them.

By now you know that day-a k’duma is prejudice or pre-judging. And it is a huge problem in the Muslim world. From the time a child is born in Egypt, Syria or Saudi Arabia, he is taught that Jews are the enemy and want to destroy him.

anger1

Last week terrorists attacked Israel dressed as Egyptian soldiers. They fired on Israelis from Egypt. When Israel responded, some legitimate Egyptian soldiers got caught in the crossfire. Because the average Egyptian has been taught from a young age that Jews love to feast on the blood of Arab children[1], there was a tragic misunderstanding caused first and foremost by Egypt’s lack of control over their own border. (Picture: Angry Egyptians demand an apology and compensation as they surround the Israeli embassy in Cairo)

However because of the narrative taught about Israelis, the average Egyptian assumes the worst.  Knowing how the rumor mill works in the emotion-driven cultures of the Middle East, undoubtedly stories are circulating that the soldiers were executed or molested.

This culture of exaggeration worked for Israel during her fight for independence and in the Six Day War. Small victories by the tiny Jewish army would get blown out of proportion, as the stories would travel from village to village. Much like the childhood game of gossip, the final version would hardly resemble the truth and paint a picture of a Jewish mob, fixated on rape and murder. Whole villages fled for fear of these fictitious monsters.

The culture of lying led to Israel’s capture of the Old City and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in the Six Day War. Israel had sent messages to Jordan not to attack Israel and we promised not to attack her. However, when King Hussein believed erroneous reports of great Egyptian gains he decided that he wanted in on the action:

… King Hussein had already received a phone call from [President]Nasser [of Egypt]. This call was monitored by the Israeli Secret Service. Even though he knew that his air force was in ruins, Nasser told Hussein that Egyptian planes were over Tel Aviv and his armor was advancing on Israeli positions. Hussein believed him, and disregarded Israel’s plea. Had Hussein listened to Israel, the West Bank would still be in Jordanian hands. Instead he sent his troops in to the Israeli section of Jerusalem. Only AFTER its territorial integrity in Jerusalem was violated did Israel mount an assault on the Jordanian West Bank.[2]

There were indeed planes over Tel Aviv, but they were Israeli planes returning from Egypt. Nassar convinced King Hussein they were Egyptian. Jordan entered the war and in two days lost Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Even now in Libya, I just read a report from Qaddafi’s son:

Despite earlier reports of his capture, Saif al-Islam, Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s son, appears at a Tripoli hotel and says his father remains in the city and that the celebratory rebels have been lured into a trap. (foxnews.com)

Had the western media been a little more clued in on Middle Eastern culture, they would have assumed that the rebels report may not be true. Furthermore, they should take with a grain of salt Qaddafi’s son’s claim that Dad is doing great, still in the city and that this is all part of the plan. Remember Iraq’s minister of [dis]information?

On this background you can understand why two nights ago thousands of Egyptians surrounded the Israeli embassy in Cairo even after we expressed remorse and sorrow for accidentally killing the Egyptian officers. One man climbed up on the embassy and tore down the Israeli flag. I can only imagine that the Israelis inside were terrified, as the Egyptian police did not seem inclined to intervene.

And why not? If you have been taught your whole life that Israelis are intent on killing Arabs and want to enslave the Muslim world, of course you would react this way. Even intelligent Arabs buy into the nonsense. Palestinian President Abu Mazen wrote his Doctoral dissertation, The Other Side: The secret relations between Nazism and the leadership of the Zionist movement, on the assumption the Holocaust was a massive exaggeration. This man has his PhD!

The Solution?

That is a tough one. How do you combat decades of lies so deeply embedded in the Arab psyche? You can’t send everyone in the Middle East to Cambridge to meet a young, well-mannered, non-Arab-child-kidnapping Jew? However, in these days where the free flow of information via the Internet is becoming increasingly difficult for even brutal regimes to monitor or prevent, we must educate.

Western countries should fund government departments solely dedicated to reaching the average man in the Middle East, with the goal of changing his view of the west. While many cried foul when President Obama gave a speech in Egypt, I have no doubt that his motives were pure. In his humanistic mind he thought, “If I can just give a speech to them they will see that we don’t hate them.” I know that is a bit simplistic, but that, no doubt, was his thinking. I am sure he realizes now he was foolish to think it would be so easy.

No, you can’t go to the leaders who benefit from keeping the masses ignorant. You must reach out via the Internet to the common man. Having said that, as a Jew, an American and an Israeli, I can’t say that I am hopeful.

Sadly, day-a k’duma in the Arab world concerning Israel is probably here to stay.


[1] It has long been taught that Jews kidnap Arab children and use their blood in the making of wine or matzah during Passover. As crazy as this sounds, it is believed by a large number of people in the Muslim world. Matzo Of Zion was written by the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustufa Tlass in 1986. The focuses on how the Jews use the blood of Arabs in Jewish rituals, as well the usual theme of the Jews control the world.


[2] The Six-Day War: Israel’s defensive pre-emptive strike, David Meir-Levi

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Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this my blog. I am the GODTV Israel Regional Director host of the daily TV program, "Out of Zion". I also serve on the leadership team of a Hebrew-speaking, Spirit-filled congregation in Tel Aviv. We love Yeshua and we love Israel. Hope to see you here soon!