Monday, October 01, 2007

Another nail in Israel's coffin?

I came across a certain website which really rattled me, and I am not sure why. Partially, I think I am rattled because my rational half agrees with many of the sentiments on this website. Yet, my emotional half feels like the Jews that came to Israel to escape their persecutors have found that like in a horror movie, the monster has followed them to their new home. I couldn't help but think of the latest Neo-Nazi scandal in Israel as I read this letter. There is something troubling to me in the tone of this letter as well, the use of the word "Brothers". This is hard to translate, but it invokes a very primitive kind of tribalism, which though not bad in itself is very scary in the context of this letter.

I took the liberty of translating their main page. Two things must be kept in mind when reading this document. In most of the world, Jews are an ethnicity as well as a religion, and therefore a Russian is not a Jew of Russian birth, but an ethnic Russian. Orthodox means Russian Orthodox and not Jewish. I have deliberately not told you the background of this organization which I believe will be clear after you read this letter.

We are an officially registered (23 February 2004) non-commercial community organization "Russian informational-cultural center in the nation of Israel". The Center acts as a legal facet of the ethnic Russian community and represents the interests of the Russian ethnic-religious minority in the Jewish nation of Israel.

The population of Israel has increased significantly in the short interval of time (1990-2000) on account of Jewish immigrants returning to their historical homeland from the republics of the former USSR.

Of course, it would have been impossible to expect the arrival of pure-blooded Jews, especially from the former USSR, not burdened by non-Jewish relatives and non-Jewish family members. Over 40% of all Russian speaking Israeli families are mixed families. We constitute these Russian "non-Jewish members of Jewish families". We live in Israel, work, serve in the Army, die in terrorist acts, try to make it like everyone else.

However, taking into account the specific nature of our new nation, assuming its Jewish ethnic character, other nationalities are not taken into account here. Arabs (1.2 M people) Druze and bedouin (100,000 each) are admitted to be ethnic minorities only with great strain.

Every fifth Russian speaking citizen of Israel identifies himself as ethnic Russian (around 200,000 people), but Russians are not noticed by the country; they are not counted in the statistical census, their cultural and religious needs are not taken into account and are not satisfied. There is not one ethnic Russian school in Israel!

All of this occurs in the environment of forced-voluntary assimilation - conversion to Judaism (giyur). Instead of cultural-integrational programs, Russian citizens, on a national level, are invited to change their religion, reject Orthodoxy in exchange for Judaism. Only then will the many obstacles that make life of non-Jews in Israel difficult, disappear. Only then your child (possibly!) will not face obstacles in his life because of his goyishe daddy or mom. The government defines the ethnicity of the citizens of Israel - it also conducts the government programs of assimilation - the conversion of non-Jews to Judaism.

It is difficult for Russians to adjust to life in Israel. Probably harder than for the Russians in the Baltics. At least there our co-nationalists have Russian schools. At least they are closer to Russia there. It is time to rename our Russian Center into the Center for survival of Russians in Israel.

The Israeli government doesn't give us one shekel for our community cultural, informational, educational, legal and social programs. The Russian minority doesn't exist for it, and consequently, neither does a budgetary line item. Russian speaking donors prefer not to contribute in those cases when they could be accused of excessive sympathy towards Russians, and consequently, towards Russia.

We are addressing all ethnically minded people who are not indifferent to the fate of the many-century long Russian presence in the Holy Land. Brothers, this land has always been holy for the Russian person. The words "Palestine", "Jerusalem" always have found a place in the warm Russian heart.

Without money you can't go anywhere in contemporary society. We can't do much because we don't have adequate sponsor support. Everything that we have done and do for our Russian compatriots in Israel all these years we finance from our own savings. Taking away from our own families, we attempt to help those who have gotten in trouble, Russians, not so Russians, and complete non Russians, since often we help natural born Israelis seeking justice and support from Russia, but thus far only finding support and involvement from the Russian community.


Blogger Miri said...

No one's forced to convert. and the Israeli government kind of has its hand full dealing with the racial issues involved with their treatment of the ethiopians and sephardim, forget the phillipinos, arabs, and druze. I'm not really sure what these guys want. why do they need their own schools? the ethiopians don't have special schools; neither, as far as I know, do the phillipinos. the sephardim do bc ashkenazi schools will only let in so many sephardim (yes, they're elitist and classist in addition to racist.)and Arabs do for a whole long list of reasons that i don't feel like going into at the moment. I'm not a Russian immigrant, clearly, so maybe I don't see it. but it's not like these people aren't given jobs or aren't allowed to live certain places bc of their race. so what exactly is their problem?

October 03, 2007 3:04 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Miri, these guys are non-jewish russians. They are christians. They want their own culture and religion, but inside israel.

October 03, 2007 3:12 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

there are plenty of christians and plenty of churches in Israel. how are they being discriminated against?

October 05, 2007 2:51 AM  

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