Sunday, August 26, 2012

America's Discrimination Problems Enter Israel

Nadene Goldfoot
"The State of Israel is a democratic state and  an enlightened state.

That is what makes us unique in the environment around us and this will continue to make us unique. I hope that one day our environment will change as well. But we will be persistent in our complete opposition to racism and violence.

We are not prepared to tolerate racism in Israel. Neither are we prepared to tolerate the combination of racism and violence."  These are words spoken by Prime Minister Netanyhu  when he signed a document encouraging the integration of Ethiopian immigrants and against discrimination and racism.

Lately Israel has had some acts of discrimination  towards the Ethiopian immigrant communities and 3 Arab teenagers in Jerusalem which have included violence.  When Israel comes across acts like these, the entire state and all of its leaders come out together against such actions, and they will continue to do so.  It is not to be tolerated.

What seems to have happened in Jerusalem was a Palestinian boy flirting with a Jewish girl who told her friends which brought about a mob attack and sent some young Arabs to the hospital.  Ethiopians are having problems getting flats rented in all white centers.  Hiring practices and segregation in schools are also problems creeping up and brought to the attention of the citizens.

Things like the Kassam rocket that hit a building in Sderot fired by Gaza terrorists Sunday doesn't help to calm the environment and steady people's nerves.  One person was wounded and a second treated for shock.  Terrorists from Gaza have attacked Southern Israel since Jews were expelled from Gush Katif by Israel in order to bring about peace between Israel and "Palestinians" in 2005.  Over 12 Israelis have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands have suffered from shock and trauma.

Then there's the immediate threat of an atomic bomb crashing into Israel from Iran with the constant talk of having to take out their manufacturing center and what that will ensue.  There's also Syria with their stash of chemical or biological warfare getting into the wrong hands.

One difference that is noticeable between Israel and the USA is that all children go into the army at age 18.  It's compulsory.  Girls serve for a shorter period then boys.  So far, the only way to avoid this is to be a yeshiva student, and this may be changed.  It's something parents must face and must be difficult for them.  Many parents in the states planned to send their children to Canada to avoid any possible draft.  No parent wants to put their children in harm's way,  whether they live in Israel or the USA.  It's enough to make people high-strung.

When I lived in Israel from 1980-1985, the biggest thing I noticed that shook us all up was the devaluation of the shekel.  People drove erratically on the highways, a sign of nerves on edge.  Everyone rushed to banks to see what the value of the shekel was at that moment.  Outside attacks were not on my mind then.  Ethiopians were just moving into Safed and the community was busy rounding up clothing for them, as they arrived on the planes wrapped in white sheets and were barefooted and some were ill.  They were going through a huge culture shock.  I remember going to an art show where they showed off their wares.  I was extremely impressed by their talent and glad they were in our town, an art colony, really.  That's why I had wanted to live in Safed.  I indulged in oil painting and loved to do portraits.

Americans have problems, but nothing like what faces their friends in Israel.  Americans have discrimination over racial problems as well without the same violence threatened on them by outside neighbors.  It's taken years since the Civil War of the 1860's to get around to behaving like just and moral people.  It took the USA over 100 years to face the problem squarely.   Netanyahu and the Knesset know of  America's history and are dealing with Israel's new situation well.   Israelis have been too long the brunt of discrimination themselves, and won't  allow it to happen to others.    It seems that people will get away with unsuitable behaviors that suit their personal feeling until brought up short and shamed a little.  It will stop like pinching out the flame of a candle.

Resource: Stand For Israel

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