JAFFA, Israel — Having access to both Jews and Arabs is not easy for most journalists in Israel. Not so for Lucy Aharish, a Muslim Arab who grew up in a Jewish town in southern Israel.
A TV anchor and news producer, Aharish says her challenge, instead, is to break stereotypes and be unafraid to sound clichéd when she talks about the need to view people in this complicated society — Jews, Muslims, Christians, Israelis or Palestinians — as human beings.
Aharish, 33, is the country’s first Arab Israeli woman to present the television news in Hebrew. On Wednesday, she will claim another rare title as she and 13 other Israelis being honored for achievements in their professions light torches at a ceremony marking 67 years of Israeli independence.
Her participation in the Jerusalem event is a bold step for a member of the Arab population, which generally shuns Israeli Independence Day. Palestinians refer to the set of events that led to Israel’s founding as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.
“I’ve had threats, people cursing me, some telling me I’m a filthy woman or a disgrace to my family,” Aharish said of the reactions from Jews and Arabs — including members of her extended family — to the announcement that she would be among the torch lighters.