Lucy Aharish is a symbol of paramount importance to Israel. This charismatic, eloquent, courageous and smart intellectual is a graduate of political science and journalism, and leads a brilliant career as a columnist in several media, among which I24 News. Her appearances fascinates viewers who often learn more from her about Israeli reality that from the versatile press where commentators mainly compete between them with slogans.
When asked to define her identity, Aharish says she is an Israeli, a woman, an Arab and a Muslim, “in that order,” she emphasizes. But when compelled to respond more accurately she exclaims she is “neither an Arab nor a Jew. Neither Christian, nor Muslim nor Druze nor Buddhist nor Circassian. Neither left nor right. Neither religious nor secular. That she doesn’t want to see children kidnapped and murdered. That she doesn’t want to see children burnt to death. That she doesn’t want to hear sirens or see missiles launched … That she wants us to open our eyes to the rage and hatred that are eating us alive.”
Aharish’s tone, freshness and fervor is unprecedented in Israeli media. Despite the prejudices that could have hindered her way up, she managed to overcome them through years of work and perseverance. During her shows she challenges her guests with both disarming and insightful style, whether they are Hamas representatives, Jewish fundamentalists or prominent Americans. She does it in their native languages, which she masters to perfection.
Aharish stresses she represents herself only. She claims she is an Arab Muslim, but refuses to be locked into clichés. On the one hand, she vigorously slams Palestinian leaders’ strategy, which she deems a non-starter, but, on the other hand, she strongly criticizes the discrimination of Israeli Arabs.
Israel is home to this lady just like it is for millions of Arab and Jewish citizens. But Aharish is neither suicidal nor quixotic. She comes across flamboyantly on the Israeli public arena, she is talented and bright, so she is unlikely to let herself corner if she realizes that her struggle may lead to a dead end.
Aharish is under relentless attack by a certain right, a certain left and also from many Arabs. As she is a unique asset for Israeli society, it would be a considerable waste if she chose to leave Israel in order to get away from domestic hostility.
This does not take away that many Israelis admire her, support her and approve of her stance. If she decided to leave it would be a very bad sign for the Israeli democracy. This ambitious woman is far from having deployed her full potential, so if she nevertheless felt an urge to go abroad, it might be a good idea for the government to offer her the position of Israel’s ambassador at the United Nations.