Vienna students fight antisemitism.
(photo credit: TIMO MULLER)
Little Serj walked into the daycare center in Kiryat Bialik hand-in-hand with Colonel Ariel Sharon. That was enough. Nothing more had to be said for Serj to be allowed to join the other children. “Who needs this little Moroccan kid in my day care?” the teacher thought to herself. It was the early 1960s, and things like this happened here. Serj had lost his father, but that didn’t matter. No one cared that his dad had played a vital role in bringing the Moroccan Jews to Israel, that he had granted the Mossad the use of his trucks and entry passes until he was killed in a road accident.
Serj was only two at the time, but don’t worry about him. Today he is the head of the Kfar Shmariyahu local council.
Sharon heard about the refusal to allow Serj to attend the daycare center from his close friend Ze’evele Amit from Nahalal. A Mossad agent in Morocco, Amit often turned for help to Serj’s father, who responded without hesitation, although he knew he was putting himself and his family at risk. Amit was born in Nahalal and therefore belonged to what was considered the local nobility at the time. Nevertheless, he himself also had firsthand experience of discrimination. His sister, Shulamit, who married the Revisionist Hillel Tzur, was once stoned when she came for a visit to her childhood home. How could the daughter of such a distinguished moshav consort with the enemy?
There’s a difference between racist discrimination and ideological discrimination. Both are intolerable and both have created inequality and done immeasurable harm. But racism is worse. There’s no question of choice here. People don’t decide where to be born and they don’t choose their parents. Those are givens they can’t opt out of. Members of Herut were discriminated against in the early days of the country. Many were denied jobs and the opportunity to earn a decent wage, but they could still hold their heads up high. They knew they were suffering because of their ideology, but that was the choice they made. The same can’t be said about the discrimination of Mizrachi Jews. Their ethnicity wasn’t a conscious decision. The traditional link between Herut and the Mizrachi community is no coincidence.
Racism and discrimination continue to exist in this country. Today, however, they are directed not only against certain groups in the population, but against the Jews in general – against all of us – as well. If it happened anywhere else in the world, we would call it antisemitism. Church leaders are disputing the right of Jews to purchase property in the Old City of Jerusalem. They are protesting against the Supreme Court, which recently ruled in favor of allowing the purchase of two buildings near Jaffa Gate and another near Herod’s Gate.
Why can’t a Jew buy a home in Jerusalem? After all, it is because of their source in Judaism that Christianity and Islam regard Jerusalem as a holy city. So how can they deny Jews the right to live there? They claim that the presence of Jews hurts the churches. How hypocritical can you be? Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are thriving. Everywhere else, they are slaughtered or repressed; they are forced to flee and their communities are dying. What happened to the Christians in Syria and Iraq? What is happening now to the Copts in Egypt? Where did the ancient Christian community in Gaza go? Why is the number of Christians dwindling in Bethlehem, the home of the Church of the Nativity?
The hypocrites are well aware that the only place they can live like human beings is among the Jews in Israel. They may be racists and may condemn us out loud, but deep in their hearts they must be glad the country is ruled by Jews. They must be praying secretly for the security of Israel, because they know full well what the alternative would mean for them.
Translated from Hebrew by Sara Kitai, firstname.lastname@example.org
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