Totten: An Israeli in Kosovo

• Views: 4,115

Another must-read piece from Michael Totten: An Israeli in Kosovo.

Imagine what would happen to a handful of Jewish veterans of the Israel Defense Forces who tried to move from Tel Aviv to an Arab country to open a bistro and bar. In only a few countries could they even get through the airport without being deported or, more likely, arrested. If they were somehow able to finagle a permit from the bureaucracy and operate openly as Israelis in an Arab capital, they wouldn’t last long. Somebody would almost certainly kill them even if the state left them alone.

Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country, but it isn’t Arab. The ethnic Albanians who make up around 90 percent of the population reject out of hand the vicious war-mongering anti-Semitism that still boils in the Middle East. Israelis can open a bistro and bar in Kosovo without someone coming to get them or even harassing them. Shachar Caspi, co-owner of the Odyssea Bistro and the Odyssea Bakery, proves it.

Caspi’s bistro is in the hip, bohemian, and stylish Pejton neighborhood in the city center of Kosovo’s capital Prishtina. A huge number of caf� bars that look expensive but are actually cheap make up the core of the area. The hyper-local economy in Pejton is apparently based on fashionably dressed young people selling espresso and alcoholic beverages to each other. If you ever visit Prishtina, book a hotel room in that neighborhood. …

The Israeli contribution to the local food and drink scene isn’t a secret. I found Caspi’s establishment in the Bradt Guide which lists Odyssea as Israeli-owned. I knew already that Kosovo is friendlier to Israel than most countries in the world – especially compared with other Muslim-majority countries – but I was still slightly surprised to see this. It only takes one Islamist fanatic to blow up a bistro. And it would only take a small amount of the right kind of threatening pressure to drive Caspi, his business partners, and his employees out of town or at least underground. But nothing like this has happened.

“People know you are Israeli?” I said.

“Of course,” he said. “Of course. Everybody knows we are Israelis.”

“Nobody cares?” I said.

“On the contrary,” he said, “people like it. They come to speak to us. They want to be in contact. Here I didn’t see anybody that was negative. On the contrary the people are very warm, very nice. They take Islam to a beautiful place. Not a violent place. When they hear I am from Israel they react very warmly.”

Lots of Kosovar Albanians confirmed what Caspi is saying.

“Kosovars used to identify with the Palestinians because we Albanians are Muslims and Christians and we saw Serbia and Israel both as usurpers of land,“ a prominent Kosovar recent told journalist Stephen Schwartz. ”Then we looked at a map and woke up. Israelis have a population of six million, their backs to the sea, and 300 million Arab enemies. Albanians have a total population of eight million, our backs to the sea, and 200 million Slav enemies. So why should we identify with the Arabs?”

“Israelis are okay,” said a waiter named Afrim Kostrati at a cafe named Tirana. “The conflict is not our problem. We are Muslims, but not really. We have respect for Israelis because of the U.S. I have good friends from there.”

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Better Know a Ballot: Stephen Colbert’s State-by-State Guide to Voting in the 2020 Election Do you want to vote in the 2020 election? Confused about how to register or vote by mail? That makes sense because the rules all vary from state to state, which is why we created . #Colbert #Election2020 #BetterKnowABallot ...
Thanos
5 hours, 4 minutes ago
Views: 108 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Deep Sea Diver - Impossible Weight Featuring Sharon Van Etten (Official Video) “Impossible Weight” off Deep Sea Diver’s new album “Impossible Weight” out October 16th. Pre-order /pre-save Impossible Weight here smarturl.it Distributed by ATO Records ~~~~~~~~~ Directors: Jessica Dobson, Peter Mansen, Tyler KalbergArt direction: Jessica Dobson, Tyler KalbergDirector of photography: Tyler ...
Thanos
5 hours, 10 minutes ago
Views: 57 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Alicia Keys - Wasted Energy (Visualizer) Ft. Diamond PlatinumzAlicia Keys - ALICIA: smarturl.it Follow Alicia Keys:Instagram: instagram.comFacebook: facebook.comTwitter: @aliciakeysWebsite: aliciakeys.com #AliciaKeys #ALICIA #NewRnB
Thanos
5 hours, 51 minutes ago
Views: 60 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Bobby Watson & Horizon — Post Motown Bop Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group The Punjab Of Java Po' · Bobby Watson & Horizon · Victor Lewis Post-Motown Bop ℗ A Blue Note Records Release; ℗ 1991 Capitol Records, LLC Released on: 1991-01-01 Producer, Co- Producer, ...
Thanos
23 hours, 44 minutes ago
Views: 141 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets - One of These Days (Live at the Roundhouse) Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Live At The Roundhouse available now at smarturl.it Watch the trailer for the blu-ray smarturl.it‘Set the Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ YouTube‘Fearless’ YouTube'Astronomy Domine' YouTube'Green Is The Colour' YouTube'See Emily Play' YouTube ...
Thanos
1 day, 21 hours ago
Views: 226 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Future Islands - ‘Moonlight’ (Official Music Video) Future Islands’ new album 'As Long As You Are', released October 9th on 4AD. Listen to new tracks, pre-save and pre-order the album here: futureislands.ffm.to future-islands.cominstagram.com@futureislandsfacebook.com Credits:Director: Will MayerFemale Lead: Callie HernandezMale Lead: Matthew Gray Gubler Executive Producer: Alyssa ...
Thanos
1 day, 22 hours ago
Views: 226 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
The Mandalorian Season 2 Trailer ‘The Mandalorian’ season 2 trailer dropped Tuesday morning, bringing back the main trio Din Djarin aka the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) and, of course, Baby Yoda! A hooded and mysterious new character, ...
Thanos
2 days ago
Views: 260 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
The Pineapple Thief - Versions of the Truth 'Versions Of The Truth” is the title track and third single to be taken from our new studio album which will be released on September 4th on Kscope. Pre-order: tpt.lnk.to Directed by George LaycockProduced by Blacktide Phonic/Visual Swimmers: Abi ...
Thanos
4 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 411 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Alicia Keys - Love Looks Better (Audio)Alicia Keys - "Love Looks Better": smarturl.it Follow Alicia Keys:Instagram: instagram.comFacebook: facebook.comTwitter: @aliciakeysWebsite: aliciakeys.com #AliciaKeys #LoveLooksBetter #NewMusic
Thanos
5 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 455 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Doves - Broken Eyes Get the The Universal Want here: doves.lnk.to Director: Colin ReadProducer: Francesco Rizzo Facebook: doves.lnk.to Instagram: doves.lnk.to Twitter: doves.lnk.to Sign-up to Doves: doves.lnk.to There’s a light But no one’s home You can hear the silence drone A little artificial blissA ...
Thanos
5 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 436 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook