The View From Abroad - Israel
A reader from Israel writes:
Recently I was with an Indian-American friend of mine in the Old City of Jerusalem, eating at a falafel joint run by a Muslim Palestinian in the Christian Quarter. He was a very kind man, speaking to us passionately about how all Palestinians need to stick together, regardless of religion. This was in January, two days before Bush came to Israel. Security was very tight. We talked about Bush for a moment (he said he might have to close his restaurant for a day or two because of security surrounding the visit), and then talk suddenly shifted. "You might have a new one in charge." he said, "Obama!" He seemed fairly enthusiastic, but when I told him that Obama's full name was Barack Hussein Obama, the man's face lit up. He couldn't believe it and starting shouting ecstatically to one of his employees, "Barack Hussein Obama!" I told him that Obama wasn't a Muslim but had lived in Indonesia. In any case, this didn't matter to the man. He was so excited that a man with this name might be president of the United States. It was clear that he would tell many people he knew about Obama's name and that to them, this means something important and even profound.