How’s this for a dilemma? A Palestinian man, identified as “T.” in Ynet’s account of his saga, is gay and in a committed relationship with an Israeli, Doron. They can’t get married, not only because they’re gay, but because T. is not Jewish. T. is in the process of trying to get authorized for “family unification,” which would allow him permanent-resident status in Israel, but it doesn’t seem forthcoming, so he lives there without health insurance, a bank account, or a driver’s license. Nor can T. return to live in his hometown in the West Bank, because the community’s outrage at his sexual orientation makes even a visit there “life-threatening,” and even if it didn’t, it’s unlikely that Doron would be accepted there. Have a headache yet?
It gets worse: T.’s father gets sick, so T. arranges to visit him near a checkpoint on the Israel-West Bank border. When he tries to cross back and return to his home in Israel, T. gets entangled in a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare of lost permits, unspecified “security considerations,” and endless waiting. “So,” says Ynet, “this is how it came to be that T., a gay Palestinian, has been hiding out in the home of a religious Jewish family in a settlement.” That’s right—apparently, T. has an old friend who happens to be a settler, and the unlikely hero has given him asylum for the 10 days that have passed since the border-crossing fiasco began. In a situation in which everyone’s perspective is seen as extreme by everyone else, an ultra-Orthodox man—who represents possibly the most hotly-contested population in the troubled land—turns out to be the bearer of reasonable compassion.