“If the Arabs didn’t kill me, my wife would.”
Did he just say that?
After the split second necessary for me to process his words and maintain a neutral expression, I answer:
“She doesn’t want me walking through the Arab neighborhood.”
We are talking, of course, about which gate to use to exit the kotel.
I think he means it as a joke, but it’s not funny.
On this visit to Israel, I have been floored multiple times by this kind of abject fear, prejudice and even hatred—veiled and otherwise—toward the vaguely-defined “Arabs.”