To come to Israel as a single woman and find your Israeli Prince Charming would appear — at first glance — to be the ideal way to integrate into Israeli society.Not only do you have a husband who speaks the language and who knows his way around the country, you also have his family, whose presence should help to smooth the process of adjustment. The reality, as conversations with more than 20 American women married to Israelis reveal, is different.Barbara Bar-Yaakov, a graphic artist and mother of two sabras, or native-born Israelis, always regarded herself as a liberal, committed to civil rights for African-Americans.Yet when she applied her convictions to Arabs, her husband thought her naive."Both of us were raised in homes that were more German than American or Israeli," says Grunbaum.
More than one of the American women married to an Israeli reported that her parents were surprised to find that they were expected to help buy and even furnish an apartment for the newly married couple, as Israeli parents customarily do.Rising Judoka star Tal Flicker decided to sing the Hatikvah after organisers in the conservative Islamic country snubbed the Israeli anthem and flag.When he took to the podium as champion, his anthem was substituted with that of the International Judo Federation, leaving the athlete to sing it to himself quietly.I cannot really understand why Arabs and Jews cannot live together peacefully." Another difference in these intercultural marriages is the way each partner perceives his or her Jewishness.Doris Kellman, 31, a social worker, grew up in a small town with only 250 Jewish families."I trust Arabs who are Israeli citizens while he doesn't," she says.