I got the chance to attend a Palestinian wedding with fellow OGers, but it got real interesting when I realized the friends I had come with were women and we were going to be separated for the entirety of the ceremony.
No booze at Palestinian weddings either, just lots of coffee and cigarettes and smiles and dancing. Me with my minimal Arabic just grinning foolishly and that awkward moment when, atop the groom's shoulders, the music stops and the DJ calls in his equally minimal English, "my friend! Where you come from?"
Pause. Swallow. "Ah-America!" and not wanting to be from anywhere at that moment and the wave of silence in the dirt street of a small West Bank village. The pause passing and everyone around me yelling ebulliently and we all continue the dance.
One man, afterwards, pulls me aside and explains this was one of the few moments in their culture where they could be happy. That life was very difficult and did I see? Me taking a cigarette from his leathery long fingers and rheumy eyes, listening to him tell me in an earnest and stern voice that life must be enjoyed at some point, even in the hell that Palestine is.
That's Israel to me. That's Palestine. It's some unspoken and prehistoric pain that a wistful stare can stir in the bowels of the stranger, the foreigner that I was.