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02.11.2018, Jamal Tuschick

Reconnecting the Middle East in Berlin - Mati Shemoelof and Hila Amit Abas, the initiators of this event, are two Arab-Jews who were born in Israel but moved to Berlin. They write in Hebrew, which is the language they grew up with, but not necessarily their mother-tongue or the native language of their parents. As Jews from Arab and African origins they were required to leave their “Arab” parts of their heritage behind in order to be part of the Israeli melting pot. More than 100 years ago in the Middle East, Jews and Arabs and other ethnic/religious groups lived in a fruitful dialogue and were mentally, culturally, spiritually and physically connected. After the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire, the two World Wars and the consequential rise of Jewish and Arab nationalism, Jews and Arabs became disconnected. We lost our dialogue. In the event “Reconnecting the Middle East in Berlin” we will not only revive this lost dialogue through literature, music and performance. We will also talk about this loss, what was lost for our families, the tales that will stop with the generation of our grandparents. Writers from all over the Middle East and Asia, both, Israelis emigrating from Islamic countries, Iran and North Africa, and Arab Immigrants from the same countries will sit and read their works of poetry and fiction together. Berlin gives us, Jews and Arabs, a rare moment for a lost encounter that can no longer happen in the countries of our origin. Living together in exile in Europe, we will transcend and rise above our national identities and hope to create a new typography of words to redefine our mutual existence. Performers: Mariam Rasheed (Egypt), Abdulkadir Musa (Kurdistan), Mati Shemoelof (Syria, Iran and Iraq), Hila Amit Abas (Syria and Iran), Zehava Khalfa (Libiya), Hassan Abul Fadl (Syria) + Mevan Younes (Kurish) - (Buzuqi) as Part of the Berliner Oriental ensemble.

Thinking of Israel

Mati Shemoelof



Thinking of Israel

Wondering what will be her future

I want to read good news on her newspapers I want to talk Arabic And live in peace with her.


I want to read my poems in Gaza then

I want to catch the Middle East train

To Haifa (I will take some more clothes and books) .

I plan to catch the next train so I can party with my grandmother In Baghdad.


Thinking of Israel

I want to have a Middle Eastern union – the “MEU”.

Like the European Union. Is it a lot to ask?

Israel why do you laugh at me?

I am a dreamer and you already know that Reality is made of dreams.


I want to be free like the air that stretches from Haifa to Beirut.

I want to fly like the birds all over Europe, Asia and Africa They don’t have any passports. They don’t have any national identity.

They know us better then we know them.

They see our conflicts but still they migrate every year from the start (Sadly enough I just learned that their number are declining).


Thinking about Israel

Dreaming about normality

Imagining another kind of poetry.

Denk ich an Israel

dann frag ich mich, was ihre Zukunft sein wird Ich will

gute Nachrichten in ihren Zeitungen lesen Ich will arabisch sprechen und in Frieden leben

mit ihr Ich will meine Gedichte lesen in Gaza den Nahostzug nehmen

nach Haifa (dort werde ich noch mehr Klamotten einpacken und Bücher) ich will den nächsten Zug kriegen dann feiern in Bagdad mit meiner Großmutter Denk ich an Israel will ich die Nahostunion die “NU”

Wie die Europäische Union Verlange ich zu viel?

 Was lachst du, Israel?

Ich bin ein Träumer und du weißt doch längst dass die Wirklichkeit aus Träumen gemacht ist Ich will frei sein wie die Luft die sich von Haifa nach Beirut erstreckt

Ich will fliegen wie die Vögel über Europa, Asien und Afrika

Sie haben keine Pässe

sie haben keine nationale Zugehörigkeit

Sie kennen uns besser

als wir sie

Sie sehen unsere Konflikte und wandern doch jedes Jahr aufs Neue

(Leider, hörte ich gerade, werden sie dabei weniger)

Denk ich an Israel träume ich von Normalität von einer anderen Art von Dichtung

Deutsch von Hannah Lühmann

Mati Shemoelof is a poet, author and editor. His writing is diverse and includes six poetry books, plays, articles and fiction. His works have won significant recognition and prizes. “Remnants of the Cursed Book”- His short story book was published by Kinneret Zmora publishers (2014). His sixth poetry book “Hebrew outside of its sweet insides” was published on Pardes Publishers (2017). He is one of the leading voices of the Arab-Jews (Mizrahi Movement). He was one of the founders of the “Guerrilla Culture” movement in Israel. Also he is one of the founders of “Poetic-Hafla”, A multi-language Poetry-Art-Music parties in Berlin.

These days he is writing his second Novel as part of the rising Israeli Jewish Diaspora in Berlin. German edition of his poems will be published by the Berlin publisher AphorismA on 2018. Lately he published this booklet, “…reist die Mauern ein zwischen ‘uns’ und ‘uhnen’“, by AphorismA Verlag.

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