Model Role Details

Maher Silwadi

Maher Silwadi

Sector : Business , Entrepreneurs

Personal Info

  • Country of residence : Palestine
  • Gender : Male
  • Born in : 1956
  • Age : 60
  • Curriculum vitae :

Information

When Maher Silwadi took over his father’s business during the 1970s, he was only 16 years old. He had already been detained in Israeli jails multiple times and decided to stick around to help his father run the family business instead of going to the United States. Their place is located in the centre of the Manara in Ramallah, and before being the very famous Silwadi Juice Place, it was a mini-market that sold fruits and vegetables.

As many other Palestinians, Maher was constantly harassed by the Israelis and taken in for investigation under harsh and tormenting conditions. He had a hard time going back to school after spending time in jail, because psychologically, he was unable to deal with the classroom environment. In 1982, he married an American woman, and the Israeli harassment entered their personal lives. In addition to the instability they faced due to Maher’s constant arrests, the couple also faced administrative issues with the Israeli government, which refused to issue his wife a permanent visa to stay in Palestine. After having their first baby, his wife was forced to leave the country and go back to the United States since things had only gotten more complicated. He struggled between this ruling and jail for four years. Finally Maher left for the States after having to sign a paper stating that he would not return for three years.

Maher was torn between his family in the United States and his father’s business at home. His father urgently needed his help. He needed someone he could trust and rely on to handle all the business relations and administrative processes. Although Maher has many siblings, none of them were able to be present back home. He returned to Palestine without his wife and daughter.

“I lived through the first and second intifadas and was a close witness to the events taking place. I was harassed many times by the Israelis. Many people got killed in front of my store,” Maher says. 

Maher eventually married a second time and always encourages his children to stay in Palestine; he finds this to be a very simple but effective way of resistance. “The most important thing in life,” he says, “is to help people, especially those in need, because the more you help people, the more they will help you. What comes around goes around!” 

Maher has a fine taste for music and enjoys listening to Engelbert Humperdinck. He also studies Spanish in his free time. He finds his quiet time and peace in his own little castle in Ramallah.


Source

Achievements and Awards

Back in the late 1970s, he established a group called “Children of Tears,” which was made up of young women from the Friends Girls School in Ramallah. The women performed in many venues, including universities. At the time, it wasn’t very common to organise a group of female dancers. Maher, however, was able to train them and maintain the group. They were well received because their activities encouraged and celebrated Palestinian heritage and culture. This bothered the Israelis! In one incident, the entire group was stopped and arrested on their way back from a performance in Nazareth and were put in El-Far’a Jail for 13 days.



Maher was also one of the founders of El-Funoun Troop, a very popular dabke group in Palestine that has performed all over the world. That is partly why the Israelis harassed him. They believed that his culture and dance activities were a front for other intentions. In fact, he was looking for a peaceful way of resistance because he didn’t want to go back to jail. He found his way through dabke, folklore, and culture, but that was still considered dangerous for the Israelis.


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