«Jewish Observer»
August 2002
5762 Elul

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Those residing in Israel for about 10 years start gradually forgetting much of what happened to us in the "pre-historic" motherland, especially on the eve of departure. But we shall hardly forget a distorted with malice and envy face of a customs' checkwoman. True, it was extremely hard to decide on what part of the "surplus" luggage is to be thrown away. Each article, each thread was taken away with particular thoroughness. What if you had 5 surplus kilos? But these 5 kg are either albums with the entire life, or a spoon set presented for the wedding, or books being collected over many years, volume to volume. Pushkin, Fet, Tyutchev. For several months of the pre-departure rush we witnessed so much of undisguised hatred many of us had not experienced during the entire life. This humiliation reinforced our conviction we were right. It was high time we left, the sooner the better. The sacramental phrase "Get out to your Israel" became a motto. We did get out and do not at all regret it. We no more fear we shall fail to master the language. We know humus can be consumed only by a court verdict. We no more get settled. We live on. And we are very grateful to those who "helped" us leave then.

Several recent days I experienced something like total, clinical ravings. Alice couldn't have dreamt of this even in wonderland. In this very Israel I was so thoroughly seen to, robbed of seven hundred roubles for rejection from the citizenship, they explain to me this country is not only mine, that we, little Jews, have totally sunk into reveries. Could you, lads, have, indeed, forgotten about your brothers - Slavs? Have you gone, in effect, limp? By what right have you got stuck all over the country? Move aside, come on! Putin is with us! We want a Slavonic autonomy! Some are inclined to take this as an anecdote... But this is far from that. Anybody to have, at least, once been to Israel remembers a huge amount of signboards in Russian. There are lots of newspapers and TV-programs in Russian. What cultural discrimination can we talk about? You are welcome to read in Russian, to receive news from Russia. Radiostations broadcasting in Russian outnumber those in Hebrew. But, all of a sudden, somebody demands autonomy for Slavs. They do not demand help to Russian-speaking repatriates, but a "CULTURAL AUTONOMY FOR SLAVONIC NATIONALITIES". A group of enthusiasts benevolently agrees Jews are entitled for a Jewish character of the state. But Israel for Jews is, you know, too much. I would like to look at Slavs in, for instance, Kuwait, where there are quite a few of them, demanding a cultural autonomy. Or in the USA. The list can infinitely be continued. Every person accepting citizenship of a certain country commits himself to observing its laws and way of life, culture, traditions. Those unable to get on with the country's "modus vivendi" leave it.

Fortunately, there is no iron curtain today. One can depart to almost any country in the world. And moreover, - to return to Russia. There will be no need to demand autonomy. Only the Slavonic culture is everywhere, deep down and in breadth. I am convinced those who have initiated this are well aware of the situation's absurdity.

Today that, without any exaggeration, the fate of my country is at stake there appears a ground for discord inside the country. I am somewhat reluctant to select expressions. I am reluctant to pronounce clever thoughts about tendencies in the society. I am eager to yell that citizens of my country, my JEWISH country, appeal to the President of other state for help. They did know they were heading for a Jewish country! A Turkish emigrant can't at all demand a cultural autonomy in Germany. This will not even occur to him. But if he starts missing minarets greatly, he will buy a ticket and return home. Everybody has the right to declare his disagreement with the mode of life in the country he resides. Everybody has the right not to reside in it. Consequently, Rabbis protesting against non-Jews' arrival in Israel care, first of all, about their not getting disappointed in our country, and not about purity of the nation of the Book. Is it ridiculous? Not very much. People, who have spent a huge amount of efforts and money to get a cherished blue cover of an Israeli citizen, now intend to get autonomized from it. Listen, pals, don't we have too many autonomies per head?


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