Saladin Kadar lived in Kuwait City during the initial outbreaks. Since his family became refugees during the "'67 War of Zionist aggression," Saladin didn't exactly have the highest opinion of Israel or its people (2.7.5). When Israel opened its doors for asylum, Saladin assumed it was a "Zionist lie" (2.7.4) and even considered joining a Palestinian terrorist group to fight against Israel.
But when his father, uh, "convinced" him to go to Israel, Saladin got a very different picture than the one he imagined. The Israelis were kind and truly working with other Palestinians to make the best of a bad-and-then-some situation. During the initial battles of the Israel Civil War, an Israeli saves Saladin and his family's life.
In the end, Saladin notes that he "practically didn't know anything about these people [he]'d hated [his] entire life" (2.7.33). This phrase is one of the novel's key lessons on racism: education, knowledge, and understanding of other people should stamp it right out.