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Photo: Gaby Menashe
Right at home. Plocker
Photo: Gaby Menashe
I always felt at home
Critical sociologists may be disappointed, but Israeli melting pot a success story
I felt Israeli from the moment my parents, may their memory be blessed, brought me to Israel 50 years ago. Yes, it’s already been 50 years. I felt no less Israeli than my friends at the transit camp who came from Iraq, Hungary, Morocco, or Russia. I also felt no less Israeli than natives of this country who studied with me at school and university, and who were facing the army’s challenges with me.

 

To the disappointment of the new sociologists, I never felt rejected, despised, inferior, or jealous of my Israeli-born friends. There was not even one moment where I did not feel at home.

 

Language difficulties? I had problems with the language, yet Hebrew (and this is a well-known secret) is not a difficult language. I remember with longing the paths of the transit camp, the howling jackals near my hut, the bonfires, and my first date, which was accompanied by the intoxicating scent of the orchards.

 

Yes, this was a new country for me. However, it was not a foreign country.

 

For that reason, I am surprised to read the dozens of books and essays published in recent years by former immigrant children regarding the terrible absorption difficulties they experienced upon their arrival to Israel, and regarding the cultural clash with their arrogant Israeli-born counterparts. I am also surprised to read about the traumas that they have been carrying throughout their lives.

 

I was not fortunate to go through or be shaped by any such conscience-etching experiences, whether they are real or imaginary.

 

No such thing as typical Israeli

I have no absorption trauma and you cannot force out of me any kind of repressed memory of immigrant humiliation. I was not humiliated and I was not an immigrant. I was the son of a family of new olim who lived deep below the poverty line, and I felt an inseparable part of the Israeliness around me.

 

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