Car window shattered in attack on Arab woman in Jerusalem
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Smadar Shir
Photo: Avigail Uzi

Racism widespread in Israel

Op-ed: Contrary to State's pioneers who saw Arab farmers as their allies, we are sowing racism and reaping hatred

The racism disease has been living within us from time immemorial. Its roots may be found as early as the days of Torah, when the Creator of the universe defined us as the "chosen people," and we were foolish enough not to interpret the definition as a mission but rather as a fact. Already then we saw ourselves as superior and put on airs, and therefore the Torah preached that we should love those who are foreigners.


But what is the power of words in the face of unfounded hatred? The long years of exile made our forefathers withdraw into themselves like a persecuted minority educated to hate the gentile threatening to kill them, and among Holocaust refugees there were those who acted as though they were better than their brothers who emigrated from oriental countries.


Today we would like to believe that the "ethnic demon" is long gone from the world. Many of our children (including my own) were born into mixed marriages of Ashkenazim and Sephardim, and get angry when their Polish grandmother inquires about their potential bride's last name. But the young generation's protest does not abolish the ancient gene still engraved in our soul. Our racism is self-controlled and polite, and only slips of the tongue like "he's actually educated and nice" point to what really hides behind the restrained politically correct approach.


It may be unpleasant to admit, but denial is much more frightening. We are racist in our attitude towards new immigrants, both from Ethiopia and from the former Soviet Union, and contrary to the pioneers who saw the Arab farmers as their allies in making the desert bloom – we are sowing racism and reaping hatred. Add the disregard for human life to this mixture, and it's amazing that only now we are seeing a concerning growth in the number of nationalistically-motivated acts of violence by Jews against Arabs.


It's not that all the Arabs are the righteous of the generation. Some of them have fed us with terrorism around the clock, slaughtering children and babies and robbing us of the daily feeling of security, which every person wishing to return home safely is entitled to. But the recent acts of racism – on the promenade, on the beach, at the light rail station and on the way to console the bereaved – do not serve as a punishment for the Arabs. They are a punishment for us, as they uglify our face and crush our spine.


Every such move turns us from the "chosen people" to the "bad people." And defining Arabs as cancer does not put their health in danger, but rather our health and future as human beings.



פרסום ראשון: 03.10.13, 20:11
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