«Jewish Observer»
March 2002
5762 Adar

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Zalman Gilichevskiy is an acquaintance of mine. His title sounds really strange to foreigners. He is the head of the Information and Support Center for anti-Semitism victims. When foreigners hear that this Center works on the Israeli territory, they do not believe it. How did anti-Semitism come to Israel? It is like white racism in Africa - a racist won't survive there... But mind that Negroes are far more conscious than the Jews and their self-esteem is much higher, too.

Recently owing to "Sokhnut" Israel has let into the country many people who have nothing to do with the Jewry. Nothing but for one thing - they hate it.

Let us speak about it with Zalman Gilichenskiy as he studies the problem of anti-Semitism in Israel very seriously.

- Zalman, what does the Center do in particular?

- We collect information, regularly publish a bulletin "Anti-Semitism in Israel" with our comments on various facts, make inquiries at the police and, finally, help people who have suffered through anti-Semitism. Not long ago we organized a watch against the defilement of Jewish cemeteries in Beit-Shemesh. The press highlighted four cases of vandalism, in fact there were six of them! It was not just a casual freak of drunken hooligans: some tombstones and mikwa for the dead were broken, a fire was made of taleses and prayer-books right between the graves. The police arrested a group of skinheads, but the cemetery massacre didn't stop.

Many allies of the vandals are still free, so they might have been doing this.

It will be recalled (things mentioned seem just improbable) that it is not Moscow, Ryasan or Munich that is in question. We are talking about a Jewish town of Beit-Shemesh where the neo-Nazis act openly.

- How active are the neo-Nazis in Israel?

- Almost in every city there are groups that wear Nazi symbols on their clothes. Their activity is directed against the Jews - not only against orthodox ones at that: to look like a Jew is enough. You remember that incident last summer in Kineret when a group of neo-Nazis beat an Israeli soldier... Russian shops in Israel sell cassettes with the music of skinheads bands brought from Moscow. It means that there is a demand for things like that! In Hader at the "Arbat" shop we saw a book "A Myth about the Catastrophe". The book states that there has never been any Catastrophe of the Jewish people. It would be interesting to know that it is banned to sell this book in Moscow. In Israel there is a law that makes provision for the criminal procedure for negating the Catastrophe. We tried to bring an action against this shop, but the criminal case was closed with a strange wording - in the absence of a guilty person...

- Well, there is plenty of anti-Semitic literature in Israel shops. What is the general statistics of anti-Semitic activity in Israel?

- Can you imagine: last year 40 anti-Semitic actions were registered only in Petah-Tikwa?! Don't forget that the police register most of the alike cases as hooliganism or assault. Several years ago there was a massacre in Bnei-Brak. Its organizers were arrested, but the word "anti-Semitism" never appeared in the bill of indictment, though the accused had covered the walls of synagogues with the drawings of swastika. And nobody knows how many incidents do not get registered by the police! On the whole, the statistics Israel is horrifying.

- You are talking about forty incidents only in Petah-Tikwa. Was anybody punished for anti-Semitic actions?

- As far as I know, nobody was.

- Well, the police is in no condition to protect the Jewish population from a gang of skinheads. Maybe, we should remember how our ancestors protected themselves from thugs. Is it worth while organizing self-defense detachments?

- Indeed, at the last year's congress our activists touched upon this question. We'll think it over because we have to defend ourselves.

- Why do the government shut their eyes at anti-Semites?

- First of all, they are afraid to wash their linen in public. At one time Gertsel said: "As the Jews can't get along with the goys, a separate state must be created for them". Israel was meant to be the only mononational, as far as it was possible, country, with the Jews protected from anti-Semitism. Israel failed to fulfil the task - the Jews here suffer from anti-Semitism no less, and in some places even more, that in the diaspora. "Sohnut" is to blame for that. At present "Sohnut" documents that circulate in Russia do not even mention the word "Jew". They are all about persons who fall under the Law of Return.

As far as on the 1st of November 1995 "Ediot Ahronot" published an article with the title "Anti-Semitism in Kiryat-Gat: Repatriate Non-Jews Oppress Repatriate Jews" (by David Regev). The article was about a repatriate Jewish woman, Alla Zitser, whose non-Jewish neighbors persecuted her for anti-Semitic motives. "We wish the fascists had done away with you in Russia", they told her. Other Jewish families confirm what she says: "The fact that we escaped from anti-Semitism in Russia calls for anti-Semitic actions here in Israel. We are in despair". In connection with this incident and a few others, I turned to the Head of the Kiryat-Gat police Henry Ben-Raanan. The answer I received read: "Mrs. Zitser made a complaint on the occasion of assault in 1995". I phoned Mrs. Zitser, mentioned the letter from the police of Kiryat-Gat and asked her to tell me about the incident. "I tried to make a complain about anti-Semitism (not assault - Z.G.) several times, but the police wouldn't deal with a complaint like this. Nothing can be done. You'll fail, too", she answered. We've made inquiries about a number of facts. The police officials do not respond to them or they send us letters like the one from Reuwen Ariav the Head of the Haifa police: "The incidents mentioned were not investigated, and I have no intention to investigate them".

It should be noted that such attitude of the police reflects the general tendency of the Israel establishment to conceal the problem from the society. Members of the government and deputies of Knesset do not respond to our appeals, as a rule.

- It is kind of discrepancy: you are sure to be imprisoned if you insult an Arab in Israel. A Jewish girl was sentenced for two years of imprisonment for a harmless cartoon, while they get away unpunished for insulting the Jews in Israel! Can we say that as a state, today's Israel has many anti-Jewish features?

- Yes, it is true. Now we are opening a site in the Internet, translate our materials into English to let the world know how unbearable the situation in Israel is for the Jews.

P.S. I want to add a few words. The problem is painful and complicated. Many non-Jews got to Israel with our aliyah: the assimilation in the USSR was at a very rapid pace; if the borders had been opened, there wouldn't be any Jews in Russia in a couple of generations. The better part of non-Jews who have come are normal, kind people. They knew perfectly well that they were leaving for a Jewish country and they took it for granted. They work here honestly, toil equally with the others, serve in the Army and link their future with Israel. Of course, the article is NOT ABOUT THESE PEOPLE! I mean those who made use of loop-holes in the Law of Return and didn't come HERE, but went away from THERE. They went away from poverty, Russian disorder with its cheap vodka and sausages. Just these very people are conductive to the contempt to Israel, hatred towards Hebrew and everything that happens in the country. Just these very families bring up skinhead gangsters.

One more thing. How do they get into Israel? The Law of Return is not the only point. "Sokhnut" representatives in the CIS are well-paid officials with many privileges. They must account for the work done. How? There are almost no Jews left, but to make a good report one needs a gross output, so called "aliyah". And so they scour about the former Union looking for Jewish relatives. What for?..

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