"100 Percent Palestinian And 100 Percent Jewish"
04/06/2011 - 14:07

I was very sorry to learn of the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis, 52, an actor who famously described himself as “100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish.”

Born in Nazareth to a Jewish mother and Arab-Israeli father (making him halachically Jewish), Mer-Khamis, a onetime paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, co-created and ran The Freedom Theatre, a company for Palestinian children and youth from the refugee camp of Jenin.

A political activist who was apparently outspoken in his opposition to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, he was shot on Monday by a Palestinian terrorist (reportedly a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade). The theater, which is co-ed and currently staging George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” had previously drawn threats and vandalism from Islamic fundamentalists.

In addition to his work with the Freedom Theatre, Mer-Khamis appeared in a variety of Israeli and American films, including Julian Schnabel’s “Miral.”
My former colleague Liel Leibovitz, now at Tablet, has published an appreciation that, while a bit politicized for my taste, offers a well-written, thoughtful tribute to Mer-Khamis.

Adding to the tragedy and brutality of the murder (and reminding me of the recent massacre in Itamar, which apparently one-third of Palestinians polled support) is that Mer-Khamis was shot in the presence of his 8-month-old son. His wife, not present at the shooting, is pregnant with twins.

He was buried on a kibbutz in northern Israel.

May his memory be a blessing.

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This is a tragedy but make no mistake that this man was viciously anti-Israel and supported Arab terrorism against Jewish women and children. He definately wasn't pro-peace or pro-justice. FYI there is no such thing as being "100% Palestinian." The people who call themselves "Paestinians" are just Arabs who co-opted that term several decades ago for political reasons. Golda Meir was once called a "Palestinian." Please get your factsa straight.

Dear Julie:

Thank you for your article on Juliano Mer-Khamis. As the Coordinator of the Half-Jewish Network, I had been watching his career and activism for over 20 years and greatly admired his courage. He refused to minimize either of his two heritages and worked for peace and justice.

He could have had a much easier life if he had simply minimized one of his two heritages. His courage is an example to all adult children and grandchildren of intermarriage.

Robin Margolis

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