State of Mind
steep slopes of Wadi Keziv in Western Galilee are walled by squat
local oaks and thorny bush. On the streambed, oleanders and
cypresses look into shallow ponds formed by its springs. I like
this secluded canyon. On hot summer days, one can hide in an
intricate deep cave and laze in its cool, clear waters, waiting
for deer and hoping for a nymph. On cooler days, you can climb up
a steep spur that rises from the depths of the gorge. It is called
Qurain, the ‘Horn’ in Arabic, hence the Arab name of
the valley, Wadi Qurain. Astride the spur, the Crusader castle of
Monfort raises its donjon high and gazes towards the distant
place holds many memories. The 12th century Zionists, Teutonic
knights of St Mary, fortified the castle on the spur and called it
Starkenberg, the Mount of Strength. The name and the remote
location didn’t help: they were defeated by Baibars, the Arab
paragon of valour, who allowed them to depart with their weapons
and honour for Acre.
stony path leading to the spring was the meeting-place of the
enchanting characters of Arabesques, an exquisite novel by
the Palestinian writer Anton Shammas. Shammas, a native of nearby
Fassuta, is probably the only non-Jew in the world who writes his
novels and poems in Israeli Hebrew.
west, the brook of Keziv flows into the sea at the ruins of az-Ziv,
the Christian village destroyed by Jews in 1948. In this village,
in the long-gone 1920s, a local Palestinian girl was visited by
another local Palestinian woman, the Virgin. In other words, it is
a typical place in the unusual land of Palestine.
days you can roam the canyon all by yourself. It is as empty of
people as the rest of countryside. The land of Palestine is in
trouble, the deepest trouble since the black nights of 1948.
People do not venture down here anymore, leaving the canyon to its
lean and wiry boar. Walking downstream I spotted a few of these
gracious animals, so different from their domesticated cousins. It
was only outside the gorge, on the plain of Acre, that I came upon
human presence. There were a few Thai or Chinese peasants
working the fields of a local kibbutz. A middle-aged kibbutznik
sat in the shadow, overseeing their work. I joined him for a smoke
and a drink of cold water.
was the epitome of a good Israeli: large, sunburned, with a
friendly smile, bushy mustachio and brisk talk. Fifty years ago,
he, or rather his predecessor, a fighter with the Jewish Storm
Troopers, the Palmach, seized the lands of az-Ziv and expelled its
peasants to Lebanon. Thirty years ago, he worked the stolen land
with his own hands. Now, he oversees the Thais working this land.
Very soon, he told me, he will go to New York to visit his son, a
web designer. While he is away, some Russians from Maalot town
will be hired by the kibbutz to oversee the Asian workers. Not
many Jews are interested in working the land, or even in
overseeing Thais working it, he said. The kibbutz hopes to get a
building permit, build housing and sell the real estate. It is a
valuable site, near Naharia and Acre, and it will fetch a premium
price despite the crisis, he said.
shook hands and bid farewell to him, to the sweaty Thais, to the
green fields, to the mountains of Lebanon to the north which
conceal the refugee camps where the original inhabitants of as-Ziv
dwell, and to the Galilee mountains to the east which hold the
Russian town of Maalot, where I woke up this morning.
is a brand new town for the brand new citizens brought to Israel
after the collapse of the Soviet Union from Kharkov and Minsk,
Riga and Bukhara. There are not many young people, but plenty of
babushkas, elderly Russian ladies. I asked for the City Hall in
Hebrew, but I might have spoken Chinese with the same effect.
Maalot speaks Russian, reads Russian newspapers, watches Russian
TV and eats Russian pork sausage with Russian beer. What made
these ordinary Russians seek the light of Zion?
Russia, as in the US, there are probably at least 20 million
people entitled to become Israeli citizens. One does not have to
be Jewish. If your daughter from a first marriage was married to
an adopted grandchild of a Jew, you can go to Israel with your new
family. Former USSR republics are in dire straits; their workers
get no salary for months, so many families send their old folk
away to Israel, where they get a few thousand dollars upon
arrival, a small pension and public housing, if they are lucky.
majority of arrivals have had no exposure to Judaism or Jewish
culture in Russia, nor are they interested in. Their Israeli ID
cards bear the inscription ‘ethnic origin and religion
uncertain’. They are not considered ‘real Jews’ and their
dead are buried beyond the fence, on a special plot for those of
‘dubious origin’. After the dreadful explosion in the Dolfi
discothèque it created a visible problem: the religious
undertakers refused to bury the dead Russian girls in a Jewish
cemetery, even as the Israeli government was bombing Palestinians
‘to avenge Jewish blood’.
the blessed air of the Holy Land many of them look for spiritual
and religious revival. Judaism attracts but a few, while others
turn to the Church for comfort. It is a risky enterprise: by
Israeli law they can be deported for their belief in Christ. They
gather and pray away from prying eyes, but on holidays they throng
the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Nativity Church of Bethlehem,
St George of Lydda and St Peter of Jaffa.
1991, when Russia’s future was exceedingly opaque, Israel
received a lot of young blood from there. Israel-supporters in the
US media carried out a two-pronged campaign: they warned of
forthcoming pogroms, and they promoted the idea of a beautiful,
easy life for immigrants in the US. Whole issues of Newsweek
and Time concentrated on the neo-Nazi Pamyat group and
rampant anti-Semitism. At that time, I was reporting for the
Haaretz from Moscow, and interviewed Pamyat leaders for it.
I found this sinister organisation to number about as many
members as the Flat Earth Society. Still, a nice Russian Jewish
film-maker and his wife came to our countryside house to arrange
for protection in case of a pogrom. I tried to calm them down, but
I could not fight the mighty media machine alone. Ten years later,
I met a Russian Jewish lady writer in Jerusalem who told me that
she had initiated the rumour of pogroms.
Israelis should erect a monument to me,” she said.
said I, “Any particular reason?”
brought you a million Russians:
I announced on Moscow Echo Radio that there will be
hadn’t the heart to disabuse her: her announcements would have
had no effect if Israel’s American friends hadn’t amplified
them. Anyway, the frightened and seduced Russians rushed for visas
to the American embassy, and at that moment Israel requested the
US stop granting them visas. The US gates were closed, and this
mass of people on the move was forced to go to Israel.
had a hard time, for the Israeli elite subjected them to the
unique Israeli method of “de-development,” (as one might call
it), a method already tried out on Oriental Jews and Palestinians.
The Israeli media described them as a bunch of criminals and
prostitutes; they were required to sign contracts and promises in
Hebrew which they did not understand; their specialists were set
to sweeping streets or picking oranges. Their rate of divorce
skyrocketed; and their children were pushed into drugs. In 1991,
Israel ceased to employ the Palestinians from the occupied
territories, and the yesterday’s elite of Russia was expected to
take their place in low-paid menial jobs. But sheer mass allowed
the Russians to create their own state-within-state, complete with
its own media, shops, and mutual assistance. The Russians
survived, and figured out the game. The clever ones went back to
Moscow, the adventurous left for the US, the peaceable ones
departed for Canada. Since then, Israel has been getting gets
mainly old folks, single mothers, and the desperately unemployed.
Russians are a nice, hard-working but confused community. They
hardly understand where they have landed, and incessantly try to
compare their situation with that in Baku or Tashkent. Perusal of
Russian newspapers shows people at a loss. One writer demands that
Palestinians be castrated in order to solve the demographic
crisis. Another blames everything on religious Jews, describing
them as “blood-sucking parasites.”
A third accuses the Oriental Jews of failing to live up to
his expectations. They are being taught a brief version of the
modern Jewish faith and its single commandment: “Thou shalt hate
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon intends to import another million
“Russian Jews.” It is possible: if the American Jewish friends
of Israel will put a harder squeeze on Ukraine, ten million
Ukrainians may suddenly recover their “Jewish roots.”
are dozens of townships like Maalot, apparently produced by
cloning. Why else would they be so similar, nay, identical? It is
built in a beautiful place, a short walk to the Wadi Keziv, but
townspeople have never heard of it. Even their children, after ten
years in Maalot, do not venture into the surrounding countryside.
They spend their time around a pub in the centre of Maalot,
dreaming of much better pubs in Haifa.
that was yesterday. I hitched a ride to Nahariya, and from there,
I took a train homewards to Jaffa. The train carried a few
Africans, probably illegal immigrants judging by their shy
demeanour. A Romanian building-team was gulping beer and burping
loudly. They were imported from their impoverished East European
land to build the houses for elderly Russian immigrants. In Israel
like in California, the Jews do not want to take construction
Jewish Israeli lawyer in black yarmulke leafed through papers in
his semi-opened briefcase. A group of Moroccans discussed the
closure of the Acre steel plant and their slim chances of finding
other work. The crisis is deepening, one of them said. It is as
bad as in 1966. An Israeli soldier, blond and armed, talked
Ukrainian with its fricative aitches to his corpulent girlfriend.
Under her admiring gaze he expanded upon his own heroic fight
against multitudes of Arab terrorists.
recalled myself at his age: a young paratrooper pleased with my
red boots and Uzi sub-machinegun. I was in training not far away
from the places we were passing now, in the remote hollow of Marj
Sannur, embraced by mountains from all sides. It was early spring,
a time when the highlands of Palestine are as beautiful as
anyplace in the Mediterranean. Sometimes I recognize its lovely
features in the bare hills around Les Baux de Provence, or in the
olive-studded descent from Delphi to the sea, as one imagines
spotting one’s beloved in a crowd of strangers. A snow-white
thick fog covers Sannur valley in the early mornings, turning
every day into a White Christmas. As the fog lifts, green grass
glitters under the blossoming almond trees on the rise. Chilly
February winds blow their pinkish petals, and they flutter about
like snowflakes to cover the stony ground.
the wire fence of the army camp I saw a peasant tilling his olive
trees. He was my father’s age, a broad-shouldered, strong,
suntanned man wearing white head gear. I lowered my gun and
greeted him; he replied with a greeting and put down his tools. We
sat down on either side of the fence. I took out cigarettes and he
gingerly picked one from the packet with his calloused hand. We
spoke of olive oil and of thyme, the main local products, of the
holy tomb of Sheikh Ali on the hilltop, of a spring of water in
the valley. On my day off I changed into civilian clothes and went
to his village. I was invited for a cup of strong Arab coffee with
a cardamom seed a-float. Neighbours came to greet me, the
stranger, and we carried on interminable Eastern conversation,
asking in turns whether one is content with one’s life,
children, and work. Apparently, they were pleased with their hard
but satisfying peasant lives. For them, Israelis were just another
set of foreigners, come in the wake of the Jordanians, British,
Turks, Crusaders, and Romans. They harboured no hate, and
displayed just an ordinary casual curiosity about a stranger. My
host’s wife served greenish olive oil, punchy thyme and freshly
baked village bread, a common Palestinian meal.
walked to the nearby well. Lukewarm pure water poured out of an
opening in an elaborate centuries-old masonry bearing an Arabic
dedication. Beyond the masonry, a hundred-yard tunnel, work of my
host’s ancestors, was cut into the face of the cliff.
Palestinian springs need permanent attention; they quickly silt up
unless their water course is cleaned regularly. It was the job of
his son Elias to take care of the spring, but he is in an Israeli
jail now, he observed matter-of-factly. Elias had brought home a
Communist newspaper, somebody informed the authorities, and they
offered him a choice, exile or jail. Palestinians can be detained
without a trial: it is called ‘administrative detention’.
Formally, it is limited to six months, but it can be extended as
often as the military want. Elias preferred jail in his homeland
is an ill feeling, but I envied him, this Elias from Sannur. I
envied his place in this serene landscape, and his devotion to it.
Why wasn’t I born in this house near the cool spring, beside the
vineyard, on this goat-trodden slope? Why have I found myself
locked up in an urban ghetto “for Jews only”? I am entitled to
live in a similar village in Greece or Provence, but not in
Palestine. And that is not because of Palestinian lack of
hospitality, they would not mind my buying or renting a place in
this village. But the Jewish state would not allow me, or any
‘Jew’ to live in a Palestinian village. A Jew may reside only
in a segregated settlement “for Jews,” where a Palestinian can
come only as a menial worker. Outside, a Jew must go armed. A
tourist from abroad can walk Palestinian areas freely, but the
Jewish state jails an Israeli Jew who goes there, unless he is
participating in some armed intrusion.
has come full circle: by locking Palestinians out we locked
ourselves in. The very idea of Jewish emancipation was to get out
of the ghetto, and now we have forced ourselves back into it. We
really do not deserve this. We Israelis are less ‘Jewish’ than
anybody you know. Quite a few people have demanded that we be
described as ‘Israeli’ or ‘Hebrew’ in the identity cards
we have to carry at all times. But the High Court has forbidden
this: we have to have “Ethnicity: Jew” stamped into our
fate was forced upon us as it was upon the Young Frankenstein of
Mel Brooks. In this horror spoof, Dr Frederick Frankenstein (Gene
Wilder), an American professor, descendant of the Monster’s
creator, inherits his ancestral castle in werewolf-bountiful
Transylvania. He is a rational modern American, but the locals
expect him to continue the unpleasant traditions of the infamous
Frankensteins. He tries to fight his fate, insists on being called
American way, ‘Fronk-en-steen’, but the loyal family servants
stubbornly stick to ‘Frank-en-schtain’.
the brilliant Jewish film-maker created the fable of the Jewish
state reborn. The founders wanted to begin their lives anew, to
become “Israelis,” another of the tribes of Palestine. They
dropped Jewish names, dropped the Jewish language, dropped the
synagogue and Talmud, and learned to work the land and use the
gun. They were joined by many people who never knew their way to a
synagogue in the first place. But the Jewish fate descended upon
them all and returned them to the ghetto.
then we began to behave according to the Jewish fate. We treat
non-Jews as animals, assassinate their leaders, kill their
children by hundreds, forbid them freedom of movement and worship,
refuse them employment and confiscate their land. We shoot at
churches and besiege mosques. We launder stolen cash for crooks
from Peru or France, export torture tools to Latin American
dictators, provide refuge for Miami mafia dons. We squeeze
American, German, Swiss and Polish coffers. We have the highest
rate of interest, four times that of the US, and the biggest
social gap in the advanced countries. In short, we fulfil every
expectation of an anti-Semite. We even elected a professional
goy-killer for the Prime Minister.
train rolled through Nathania, and I thought of the hundreds of
thousands, maybe millions of Americans, Jews and Christian
Zionists, who lobby, pray, support and pay … no, not for the
Jewish state, built as they imagine on the ruins of Palestine.
That would be bad enough. But the reality is worse. I thought of
the millions of Palestinians, rotting in refugee camps and jails,
dispossessed, expelled, – victims not of Jewish greed for land,
as they imagine, but of something worse: of a ghost.
Jewish state is a virtual state that is quickly losing all
remaining connection to reality. This ghost of a state kills
people and collects money in America; it continues some nefarious
existence, like the legal term, ‘estate of the deceased’. Its
fields are worked by imported guest-workers, guarded by imported
Russians and Ethiopians, explained away by the Israeli professors
who forever lecture in American universities, and by brave
generals on the lookout for a big kickback from American
weapon-makers. Unemployment grows daily, vital services are on
strike; the tourist industry has collapsed months ago. Hotels are
boarded up and other branches of the national economy are close to
collapse. Israelis buy flats in Florida and Prague, while houses
in Israel go begging for buyers. Sharon’s desire to punish the
Palestinians has the sting of punishing one’s own left hand.
Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined and integrated, and
their separation kills the economy of both.
far away America, Israel looks like a giant nuclear state, the
great ally of the United States, a Jewish state that is a source
of pride for American Jews. A visitor leaves our shores with a
strong feeling of our identity and prosperity. Only we, permanent
residents, know that it is a cardboard sham. Israel is collapsing.
Its active citizens emigrate in despair, even as the generals
complete the destruction of the country. A cruel fate befalls the
native Palestinians: a ghost kills them, that spiritless body that
walks the corridors of Congress and the deserts of the Middle East
in a zombie-trance.
the sake of this spectre, important American Jews squeeze pennies
from their employees and countrymen, cut down on pensions to the
old and on assistance for children, reduce the health and
education budgets, dry up help to Africa and Latin America, build
improbable coalitions with notorious racists of the Pat Robertson
and Jerry Falwell’s kind, demand the destruction of Iraq, bless
the bombing of Afghani refugees, keep Afro-Americans in their
ghettos, undermine their host society, make enemies for themselves
and for America. These deeds would be vile enough even if they
accomplished something of value to someone, but they are worse
because they are useless.
Zionist experiment has practically collapsed. It can run for many
years to come on life-support, brain-dead and vegetating. It can
kill some people, maybe even start the next world war. But it
cannot become alive.
Jewish state of Israel is a state of mind, a projection of the
American Jewish mind. The worries and problems it articulates are
American Jewish problems. For Israeli ‘Jews’ there is no need
for segregation, war, or subjugation of natives. We eat no bagels
with lox, speak no Yiddish, read no Saul Bellow or Sholom Aleichem,
and avoid synagogues. We prefer Arab food and Greek music. My
neighbourhood has seven pork butchers to a kosher one. Forty per
cent of Tel Aviv weddings are performed outside of the Jewish
framework: young Israelis prefer to go to Cyprus to get married,
just to avoid contact with Rabbis. Tel Aviv is the gay capital of
the Middle East, though according to Jewish law, gays should be
exterminated. Sometimes I wish that our great supporters, American
Jews, would give us a stern and sober look and walk away in
disgust. It is just a case of mistaken identity. We are not what
they think we are. We need their protection against the Gentiles
as much as fish needs a pair of waterproof boots.
reach my home in Jaffa the Maritime, a dilapidated town of
crumbling pink mansions built by Arab nobles and traders. My
neighbours are out: the imam has gone to his small mosque, the
Moroccan family next door is busy fixing old cars in the garage,
the Armenian guide has taken his guests to Jerusalem. Another
neighbour, a Russian painter, comes to borrow a lump of sugar. We
live together, one of the few desegregated communities, in a small
sliver of the land between the road and the sea, a remainder of
Jaffa of old.
Esme would love this place of squalor. Bulldozers of the Jewish
state have torn down every second house and given the town its
jagged look. They have also dumped building waste on the seashore,
in preparation of big real estate development. They intended to
build another Maalot here, but the Intifada tension upset their
plans for “Judaising” Jaffa. It has remained semi-ruined and
unkempt for local people are not permitted to repair their houses.
it is a good place, reminiscent of Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.
Drug dealers’ big Cadillacs cruise its unpaved streets; kids in
long galabie dresses play at the corner; the bells of St Anthony
Catholic church blend with those of St George Orthodox church and
with the call of muezzin from the nearby Ajami mosque; fishermen
carry their catch to the seashore restaurants for the diners from
Tel Aviv; Palestinian women crack seeds and chat outside their
homes; the smell of fresh falafel comes from market stalls; ten
stray cats stare down a king-size rat; the French ambassador
returns to his residence; a film crew shoots a Beirut scene.
was once called the Bride of the East, and it competed with its
neighbours, Beirut and Alexandria. Surrounded by fragrant orange
groves, this city of one hundred thousand inhabitants boasted the
first cinema in the Levant, and housed the headquarters of
European companies,. Americans and Germans built their red-roofed
houses on its outskirts, and in 1909, the East European Zionist
Jews established Tel Aviv further to the north.
an evil day in November 1947, the UN, under heavy pressure from
the United States government, decided to divide the land we
shared. It was not necessary, not even asked for. The religious
Jews were against it; enlightened Jews from Germany, such as Buber
and Magnus, were against it. Palestinians were against it. We
could live together as brothers, and eventually create a new
nation, uniting Jewish fervour and Palestinian love of the land.
But American Jewish organisations supported Ben Gurion and Golda
Meyer, advocates of partition. Expectedly, it did not work out
fifths of Palestine were given over to the Jewish rule, and two
fifths was supposed to remain Palestinian. Even in the new Jewish
state, the native Palestinians were a majority. Jaffa was supposed
to remain Palestinian. It was a rough deal for Palestinians, but
the new Israeli leaders thought it not rough enough. They besieged
and shelled Jaffa, till its population shrank to five thousand out
of the pre-war population of one hundred thousand. The rest
escaped to Gaza and Lebanon, to the refugee camps where they live
to this very day.
mansions and palaces of Jaffa were repopulated by Arab refugees
from the destroyed villages in the hinterland and by Bulgarians, a
nice Balkan folk, imported to fill the vacuum. A small part of the
city was gentrified and became the Old Jaffa, a neat and exclusive
museum piece, the preferred abode of kitsch painters and antique
dealers. Our Jaffa remained a lingering memory of One Palestine,
Complete, the Paradise Lost. It attracted a few artists, who moved
into the ruined mansions, and lived alongside the local
Palestinians, sharing their hopes and sorrows.
the Intifada, a refugee from a Gaza camp would come to visit his
lost home. It was a horrible situation, for present dwellers and
for the true owners, since the owners are not allowed back. My
neighbour, a nice Bulgarian lady made a noble attempt to return
her house to the expelled Palestinian family, but the government
did not permit it. It is hard to repay a loan, people say: you
take somebody else’s money, but return your own cash. You borrow
for a while, but return for good. It is even harder to return
stolen goods. Still,
sooner or later it has to be done. There was a good opportunity
for solving the problem in 1967, when Palestine was reunited.
good people see the Six Day War as the “mother of all the
troubles.” Without it, Jews and Palestinians would have been
able to live separately, they say. But separate states will not
bring the refugees back from Gaza into their homes in Jaffa, and I
think it would be wonderful to see their return happening. Besides,
I think it is better for us to live together – we are rather
complimentary types, and person-to-person manage together very
well. That is why I do not mind the 1967 conquest per se
(as distinct from the occupation military regime). We could return
the refugees, settle old quarrels and live together in equality,
children of Palestine and newcomers. We would not be an exclusive
Jewish state, but we would be happy and content people.
was once an illusion of a choice: a Jewish state, or a democratic
state. We chose neither, for we disenfranchised natives and
disdained democracy, and our Jewishness is, at best, a virtual
idea. If American Jews did not bribe Israelis on a large scale, we
would just forget about the Diaspora and dissolve into the
hospitable Middle East as another of its tribes. If they continue
to bankroll us, we shall oblige them with a small show of
are master-sellers of illusion, and as long as there are buyers,
we shall provide the goods. In 1946 a group of dedicated men from
all over the world came to Palestine under the aegis of the UN.
They were sent to prepare the ground for the partition of the
land. Among other places, they visited the southernmost kibbutz,
Revivim in the arid Negev. There, they came upon a wonderful
flowerbed of roses, anemones, and violets adorning the front of
the kibbutz office. In their report, the members of the delegation
expressed their amazement and declared: ‘Jews make the desert
bloom, let them have the Negev’.
they left, the kibbutz youngsters went out and pulled the
now-withering flowers out of the sand. They had bought them fresh
that same morning in the Jaffa market and planted them as a
stage-prop for the UN visit. They had learned the trick from the
Tel Aviv municipal employees, who had rammed trees into the sand
next to their Mayor’s house to make a favourable impression on
Winston Churchill. This small show had Negev with its two hundred
thousand Palestinians transferred to the Jewish state. Most of the
natives were expelled across the newly drawn border, to the camps
of Gaza or Jordan. It was cruel and useless: even now, fifty years
later, the Negev south of Beersheba has a smaller population than
replace the Palestinians, Mossad persuaded the Jewish communities
of North Africa to leave their homeland for Israel. The North
African Jews are a fine but broken people. They became worried for
their future, as the French began to withdraw from North Africa.
Only the strongest personalities made the right choice and
remained with their people: Moroccans, Tunisians, Algerians,
Libyans. They had no reason to regret it: now they are ministers
and advisers to kings. Others, seduced by the great charm of
French civilisation, rejected the phantom of the Jewish state and
moved to France. They gave the world Jacques Derrida and Albert
who moved to Israel supply 75% of its jail population. Their
income is a fraction of that of European Jews. Their scientists
and writers have little chance of tenure in Israeli universities.
Their self-esteem is exceedingly low. It is no shame to be a
Moroccan, the Israelis say, and quickly add that it is no great
North Africans were brought in, sprayed with DDT lice-killer and
placed into refugee camps that soon became the towns of Netivot,
Dimona, Yerucham. They are still there, in the stark desert
outpost towns full of unemployment and misery, drawing social
benefits and nursing a deep dislike of the Ashkenazi Jews who
lounge in Tel Aviv's cafes. Some Oriental Jews came to the
conclusion that the Holocaust was a fit punishment for the hated
AshkeNazi, as they spell it. Israel is probably the only place on
earth where you are liable to hear, “it’s a pity you didn’t
burn in Auschwitz.” Even the great Sephardic luminary Rabbi
Obadiah Joseph recently explained the Holocaust in terms of the
European Jews’ sins.
somewhat confusing slogan, “AshkeNazis to Auschwitz,” adorned
my Russian friend’s Jerusalem house for quite a while. He
complained to police but received no response. The lowest
positions in the police force are occupied mainly by Oriental
Jews, and they have no time for Russians’ complaints. They were
once in the position of the Russians, but they have been
de-developed even more thoroughly.
an Oriental Jew moves upwards, the system arranges his downfall.
Popular Oriental politicians who could possibly threaten the
Ashkenazi elite’s dominance find themselves in jail. Arye
Der’i, a brilliant Moroccan minister who brought his party from
none to seventeen seats in the 120-strong parliament, is still in
jail after a ten-year-long police surveillance produced some
doubtful charges against him. His predecessor Aharon Abu Hatzera,
son of a Moroccan Jewish sainted Rabbi and minister, was sent to
jail for financial irregularities, that are quite ordinary in our
Middle Eastern country. Powerful Iraqi publisher Ofer Nimrodi
spent over a year in prison before his trial, but was quickly
released afterwards, when the charges against him collapsed.
Yitzhak Mordecai, a Kurdish Minister of Defence with an eye on the
Prime Minister’s post, was set up as a sexual abuser. The
Moroccan Professor and Minister Shlomo Ben Ami was made a fall-guy
for Sharon’s infamous Progress to Temple Mount.
the Oriental Jews are unhappy, the kibbutz is not managing too
well either. Ari Shavit of Haaretz published a beautiful reportage
on Negba, the famous and well-established kibbutz in the Negev. It
has been a long time since that kibbutz was able to celebrate the
birth of a child. The kibbutzim Negba and Ruhama have become old
folks’ homes, while their youth long gone to Los Angeles.
the conjuring tricks of Revivim, the conquest of Negev, the
expulsion of the Palestinians and the destruction of the Moroccan
Jewish community succeeded separately, but ultimately failed
altogether. It could be expected: evil and immoral deeds cannot
bear good fruit. Zionist leaders dreamed of making Palestine as
Jewish as England is English. They failed. Palestine is as Jewish
as Jamaica is English.
children of Jews have a great luxury of choice. An Italian is an
Italian; Italian is his language, his culture, his faith, his
tradition, his art and his landscapes. He cannot be separated from
Dante and Giotto, from Tuscan villages and Madonna, from pasta and
Venice. Being a Jew is a matter of choice. An Italian Jew can
become an Italian. An American Jew can be just an American. Not
many descendants of Jews practice our old religion; even fewer
speak Hebrew or other Jewish languages. The majority have parted
with the traditional Jewish ways of making a living.
choice remains in the hands of each individual. A rich and
powerful American of Jewish origin may feel about his Jewishness
as he feels about any other hobby. Maybe he collects stamps, or
plays golf, but he probably would not create a Philatelist State
on the ruins of Monaco (this Principality prints beautiful
stamps), or endow his golf club with the newest F-16. If American
Jews would forget about us for ten years, we would sort out our
problems and reach a new natural equilibrium in Palestine. If they
have too much money and desire to influence, let them spend it on
improving the lot of their Afro-American neighbours.
actually did it before the advent of Zionism. A Chicago
businessman Julius Rosenwald, the owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co.,
supported schooling for Afro-Americans in 1920s to the tune of $2
million a year. (A Zionist emissary complained: “It’s hard for
us to accept the idea that one of ours gives his money to backward
niggers”.) This tradition could be restored. It is said, charity
begins at home, and their home is America.
land of Palestine is being ruined now, in front of our very eyes.
Its beautiful old villages are bombed to oblivion; churches are
emptied of their flocks; olive trees are uprooted. Such ruin has
not befallen the land since the Assyrian invasion 2700 years ago.
Nothing can comfort us in the face of this great destruction.
Certainly, the people responsible for it - whether Israeli killers
or their American supporters - will be damned forever.
a wry irony of history will remain as a footnote in the books: the
Jewish leadership committed these crimes in vain, and failed to
achieve its purpose. Even if the last Palestinian were to be
crucified on the hill of Golgotha, even that would not breathe
life into the virtual Jewish state of Israel.