Yoram Kaniuk

Germans don’t owe us a dime

Where’s our pride? Campaign for more German compensation money shameful

Asking the Germans for more reparations looks bad. The Germans who are alive today did nothing wrong, and those who did have already died, and their misdeeds were paid for. How much can a people humiliate itself? How low can we go? Israelis who have not worked a day in Germany, and whose parents do not come from there, were able to arrange a German pension for themselves that exists because German laborers saved money. This pension is more generous than what Israel offers.


The thought that someone else’s blood is worth money is intolerable. The death of a loved one is not worth the money. If the reparations offered to Holocaust survivors were justified at the time, the payments to those who suffered from the Holocaust while living in Russia are nothing more than a spit in one’s face.


In Israel’s early days, the country was facing a catastrophe after about 200,000 Holocaust survivors arrived in Israel with nothing, while the country was suffering shortages and hunger following what is still the most difficult war in its history.


There was an urgent need to settle the immigrants and build an army following the death toll in the War of Independence, so Ben Gurion had to proceed with the reparations deal.


Ben Gurion did not do it gladly. Riots broke out, Menachem Begin led the protest, and Germany received international legitimacy after the official Israel was forced to forgive. On the other hand, the reparations were not a free gift. They were paid as compensation to those who personally were deprived of homes, and employment, and life. Moreover, Israel received aid that helped it recover.


However, when it comes to this issue, the Israeli despicableness to ask for more money because someone who was born to a Holocaust survivor suffered a headache during his studies is a case of first-rate chutzpa. 


We are allowed to feel uncomfortable in Germany. We may feel resentment or discomfort in the face of the economic success of a people that murdered six million Jews in history’s greatest death and plunder factory. We can be angry at the German press’ attitude towards us and about their fading memory, but our Jews should be a little more proud.


We became shameless

The immigrants from Denmark and the immigrants from Iraq suffered too. Don’t they deserve compensation? And if every kind of suffering deserves compensation, perhaps it is worthwhile suffering. Instead of working we can lie on the road and seek compensation from the company that produced the car that overran us. And why shouldn’t a woman demand money in compensation for the pain she suffered while giving birth?


On the one hand, tens of thousands of Israelis are issuing German passports and thousands are traveling in order to live in Germany, a place that once upon a time they swore not to return to, just like proud Jews did not return to Spain for 500 years. On the other hand, the cynical Israelis, who drive around in a Mercedes, want compensation from youngsters whose grandparents were murderers. Minister Rafi Eitan, who knows something about Nazis, should not have humiliated us with a request for compensation from Germans who did not live at the time.


Nobody in Germany owes us a dime today. Only German history owes us something. They helped us become a nation, a successful country, but we turned into a people lacking self-respect. We became shameless. We take whatever we can get.


For many years, Israelis and Jews have been traveling around and holding up the Auschwitz banner before the Germans, without anyone authorizing them to do so. If there is someone in our government who reads Hebrew, let him stop this journey of bowing down to German money – let him stop this shameful national fundraising campaign immediately.


פרסום ראשון: 11.12.07, 07:10
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