Jewish Observer
ISRAEL
13/16
November 2001
5762 Kheshvan

SEARCHING FOR A BLACK CAT
INNA STESEL
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"Each country has such Jews which it deserves"
Karl Emil Frantsos,
German writer and philosopher of the XIX century

The ship "Iris" was going from Odessa to Haifa. Most of the passengers aboard were new repatriates.

I don't dare to say who of them were full Jews, who were half or quarter-Jews. There is an old anecdote:

- Are you a Jew?

- No, I simply look not well.

However, if by ethnic classification, I would say without cunning that there were many people among passengers of undoubtedly non-Semitic appearance. Those were half-Jews or members of Jewish families. They will face a problem soon. After "lo rashum" (not written) entry appears in their passports they are considered to be a special group. It would be quite natural if in this fifth column "Russian", "Ukrainian" or "Kazakh" was written. But there is a dash there, for them who fell on Israel from the heaven. There are also articles for newcomers in Russian-language newspapers of a new wave of goyim.

There is a mere paradox. On one hand, the government intends to bring one million of repatriates more, and it is not a secret that many of them won't be Jews. On the other hand, many express doubts about strangers coming into the country and influencing upon the national character of the state. As if they were smuggled into the country but not invited by the government. The situation needs decisive steps. Either to tightly close the door for the "non-pure" or stop talking about the "domination of goyim". Otherwise we shall stupidly create one more "fifth column" inside small Israel. Who knows better than we do what feelings the discrimination arises!

I do assume that among numerous repatriates there are people who brought with them the old prejudice against Jews. However, I am sure that they wouldn't dare open their mouths if we on our own didn't drive into their heads that anti-Semitism is possible in Israel too. As to their children, growing in the Israeli medium, they would forget forever about the shameful prejudice of their parents.

There is a curious case, which came to my mind in view of all said above. Somewhere in the early 80s Kiev Jews began receiving threatening anonymous letters, some of them with swastika. There were different versions: the KGB is behind this, pogroms are coming, etc. At last, the author of those anonymous letters was caught. He turned out to be a small Jew named Katsenelson who said: "All people are skunks! My chief, Shilman, is the greatest skunk. I decided to frighten him and all other Jews altogether." Doctors testified him as normal.

In Israel anti-Semitic manifestations from Jews happen to be more serious than those of Katsenelson. The writer Israel Shamir says openly that he considers Israel to be the "empire of evil". Recently he even has overdone himself. In the article "The day of terror: guide's advice" he presents a horrible version. According to it, the explosion in the "Dolfi" disco was organized not at least by Palestinians. Shamir writes: "The explosion bust on the eve of Saturday at the entrance of a "pure Russian" disco as if the terrorist intentionally took precautions not to hurt real Jews. It is a mystery of how the Palestinian terrorist with a rucksack could get on the eve of Saturday up to the very Tel-Aviv coast. It is too early to state who is responsible for this act of terrorism."

If Shamir were not a Jew, he would be surely called an anti-Semite. But he is a Jew. If so, what shall be done? Send him to prison? Send him out of the country?

In 1992 or 1993 I witnessed such a scene. An excited man rushed into the broker's office and to everybody's surprise fell down to the broker's feet: "I beg you! Give me back at least some of the money you fooled me off. Have a pity on me, on my children. We lost our house and all money. You are a Jew, you should be Yiddishe garts... " The red-faced broker looked at him calmly with steady owl's eyes and said playing with the bracelet: "Do you have any claims? File them with the court..."

The man hardly got on his feet and said with hatred: "Damned Zhyd! All our misfortunes are because of you..."

Should we deport also this poor man who in outrage said to the offender the most "horrible" curse?

Once I got a letter from the woman who was insulted with the well-known Russian word by her daughter's Russian mother-in-law. She wrote: "Just imagine! This goy was brought here for mercy but she still wears a cross on the neck. I told her about this disgrace. I response she called me a zhydovka. I demand publishing an article and immediate deportation of this anti-Semite."

I decided to speak with the offender. Here is her version.

"I am from the family of believers. I am a Christian. Thanks to Israel, I have no barriers for confessing my faith. But the mother of my daughter-in-law is torturing me all the time by saying: "Have you already prayed to your painted God?" Usually I don answer but go away. However, that time she overdid. She started shouting: "Take off the cross. You are not at home, goy!" She tried to take off my cross but I hardly escaped. I burst out: "Why do you call me a goy? Will you like it if I call you a zhydovka?" Then she burst out: "You are an ant-Semite! Get out from Israel!" All my life is related with Jews. My husband, a beloved person, was a Jew. My granddaughter is a Jew. I get on very well with my daughter-in-law, who is also a Jew. I was defending myself with the same weapon she used. Of course, this word is foul, but, believe me, it is not from my lexicon."

Whether you like it or not but Israel has happened to be a multinational state.

Now, let's come back to the topic of ant-Semitism. A year ago a special partnership called "Dmir" was set up. It is a support center to victims of anti-Semitism (Oh!). To be frank, as one of the activists of the center said, the offences and insults come mostly from Jews, and often they are targeted at ultra-Orthodox. As to the word "zhyd", Jews have legitimated it to a mere curse.

Thus, if Israel wants to take decisive measures against "anti-Semitism", it should ban, even for fun, any insults both towards Jews and non-Jews. "Goyim have come" is also an insult though in our press this phrase is rather permissible.

Is there any explanation of the attitude in Israel towards people who survived concentration camps and ghetto? After the war, the refugees, who survived the hell of concentration camps, arrived in their historical motherland and were called here contemptuously "sheriat ha-plita" (refugee rabble). The Israelis didn't want to associate themselves with those whom Nazi used to destroy.

Say, what wonder can return Yiddish to Jews? Yiddish was burnt out in root. Moreover, the very word "Jew" is more and more seldom heard in Israel. Young Israelis in surveys are used to call themselves "Israelis" but not Jews. Artificial division of people by countries they came from, by the period of residence and dozens of other distinctions make up a fertile ground for various counteractions.

Nowadays, somebody wants to drive a wedge in the Russian-speaking medium by opposing "pure" and "non-pure" Jews. No one should let it be -it is the household members who will suffer most.

Meanwhile, new and new people come to Israel. Many of them are not 100% Jews. Their life in Israel begins from the blank sheet and one should not hastily label them.

Searching in a black room for a black cat, which apparently is not there, is thrilling but senseless and harmful because it diverts you from more serious problems.

Novosty nedeli Israel

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