Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blast from the Past

Here is an excerpt from a story appearing on Ynet. This is the final couple of paragraphs in the story, which is about how the European/Ashkenaz branch of Judaism came to the early kibbutzim and promptly enacted racist and discriminatory policies to drive out non-European Jews. I post this here simply to show that things haven't changed much in Jewish communities. To read the original story, go here.

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Avraham Maman was one of the first members of the Kibbutz, [along with several other founding families - and he was non-European]; he was the building coordinator and 27 at the time of this story. On the basis of his contribution, the kibbutz management decided to allocate a specific budget to support his elderly parents who came to Israel in 1956.


..Our hero suffered some bad luck when a sharp stone flew out of the machine he was working and smashed his waist. During the time that he was in the hospital, the new [European] members took control of the kibbutz office.


Their first step was to stop the support to Maman’s parents. Avraham asked that the compensation he would receive for the accident from the National Insurance be given to his parents. On the basis of this offense, the general board decided to immediately expel him from the kibbutz.


Maman detailed his hardships to the reporter - after eight years of working on the kibbutz, he had no money that belonged to him, and his injury prevented him from finding work. Therefore, he explained, he refused the kibbutz’s request that he leave. In order to persuade him to reconsider, the kibbutz instructed the Kupat Holim (HMO) to stop treating his pregnant wife.


After he began a legal struggle to receive compensation, the kibbutz members decided to prevent him and his wife from entering the dining hall. If not for the few members who stole food for them, they would have been left to starve. One of the women, who smuggled food to them, received the following warning: “Your husband is also Moroccan, don’t be a fifth column”.

Finally, ...the kibbutz members gathered to "deal with" this matter [of what to do about non-European Jews who had been part of the establishing membership, building the kibbutz from scratch, but were now in the minority and refused to move away]. The majority decided on the following resolutions:

* To apply all possible pressure on the members Avraham and Sima Maman so that they would leave the Kibbutz.
* To starve them.
* To socially ostracize them.
* Any member who goes near the excommunicated couple or tries to smuggle food to them will be exiled from the kibbutz.


Ironically, one of the kibbutz members justified the kibbutz’s position in the following words: “We in the kibbutz are very anxious for justice, but when it is necessary we are willing to go to the end - we have no sensitivity."

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Sound familiar? Sound similar to anything the heredi leadership is doing today to eliminate dissent and keep their strangle-hold of power over the community? It should, because the tactics are exactly the same. Nothing has changed in over half a century - or more. Justice, truth - these mean nothing to the heredi leadership. So I ask again, are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

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