The Shmooze

Palestinian Oktoberfest Entices Israeli Jews

By Nathan Jeffay

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The West Bank village of Taybeh is a hub of Christian Palestinian life. It is believed locally that Jesus dwelt there for a time. Today it is thought to be the last all-Christian locale in the West Bank. Which means it has a corner on a market — beer.

This past weekend thousands of Palestinians, foreigners and a few Israelis flocked there for an Oktoberfest celebration where, as-per Oktoberfest tradition, beer flowed freely. For some of the Israelis who went the event was reminiscent of the days, before the First Intifada, when they regularly traveled to Palestinian areas to eat and drink.

Associated Press captured the scene at the event:

“Patrons, most of them Christians, clutched their $3 half-liter beers under a hot, sunny sky as the smell of grilled meat wafted through the air and Arabic music blared.”

It seems there was a bit of jiggery-pokery in the marketing for the event, in a bid to avoid a clash with Muslim Palestinians, many of whom strongly disapprove of alcohol. According to AP, the Arabic-language publicity billed it “as a two-day sale of traditional produce like olive oil, colorful embroidery and honey — with a little beer sold on the side.” Perhaps somebody should tell the organizers of the main Oktoberfest in Munuch that they’ve been getting it wrong all these years; where’s the traditional Palestinian produce?


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