On the day after the massacre of five members of the Fogel Family in Itamar, he expected his Arab workers to be at work on time, as usual. They weren't, and they hadn't called in sick or reporting problems in passing security on the roads.
Finally, he reached them by phone:
"Why aren't you at work?"Even after many years of working with Arabs, my friend had misread their mindset. He was so sure that he had established a relationship that transcended politics, ideology and hatred.
"We expected you to kill us. That's what we would have done. An eye for an eye..."
It's not even enough to speak Arabic with Arabs to know them. The Arab culture is very attuned to saying what will be accepted. They don't consider it lying. And it's certainly impossible to know them well if you speak to them in another language, Hebrew or English for example. The Israeli and foreign academics who base their theories about Arabs and peace on the Arabs they know in non-Arabic relationships have no way to truly understand Arabs, because they don't know what's being said in the Arab speaking world. Each language has its personality.
On the international TV newscasts about the post-earthquake life in Japan, the journalists asked one foreign resident if people are worried, because of all the radiation and other dangers. But the replies describe rather normal life and stoicism, the Japanese characteristics.