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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Anti-Semitism in the IDF

Anti-Semitism in the IDF sounds like a contradiction in terms doesn't it? Unfortunately, it's not.
Soldiers in an IDF base drew swastikas and yelled 'Heil Hitler', hurting a soldier who had emigrated from France to Israel in order to escape anti-Semitism. The affair was exposed after the soldier, age 21, submitted a suit to the Ministry of Defense.

When the soldier enlisted in the IDF, he had the highest possible physical profile. He was recently discharged, after only six months of service, after developing severe diabetes.

According to the soldier, he decided to move to Israel from France after suffering years of anti-Semitism in the country. Last August, he enlisted in the IDF and was sent to the 'Mihveh Alon' base, where new recruits receive intensive Hebrew courses, in addition to undergoing basic training.

"While on base, I witnessed appalling and scary incidents, carried out by a group of Russian immigrants who behaved like neo-Nazis. They would draw swastikas, do the fascist salute, and yell 'Heil Hitler'.

"This behavior brought back the fear I had felt as a Jew in France, and reminded me of the anti-Semitism I had left behind – anti-Semitism to which I had not expected to be exposed in Israel, and specifically in the military," said the soldier.

His advocate [lawyer CiJ], Eli Saban, stated that the soldier's appeals to his commanders on the base did not help, and the anti-Semitism merely worsened, eventually even manifesting as physical violence.
I blame the Jewish Agency for this. They are the ones who decided they had to fill quotas of Russian Jewish immigrants by allowing those who were not Jewish but had Jewish fathers or grandparents to immigrate to Israel.


At 10:54 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

That the Jewish Agency recognizes a child born to a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father or grandparents as a Jew is despicable. Do the secular courts allow this under the Law of Return? Incredible.

Re the boy's diabetes, they do not specify Type I or II. Either way, IMHO it is specious, at best, for the poor kid to claim that the ordeal he endured caused it. Type I usually occurs before age 21,and is an auto-immune disease with a very quick onset, and Type II is not sudden; it develops over a period of years, and is often overlooked as the symptoms don't begin to show for quite a while, . I wonder about his family history, etc. That stress might have hastened it? Possible. But caused it? I do not think so.

At any rate, will this be a wake-up call to not only the IDF, but also to the Jewish Agency?

I hope so.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Why aren't the nazi's seriously oppressed by the Jewish soldiers?

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

NY Nana,

The secular courts do not allow a person like the one you described to be declared Jewish, but the law has never specified that conversions have to be k'halacha (in accordance with Orthodox Jewish law) either. De facto the Rabbinic courts have done everything they can to prevent non-Orthodox conversions from being recognized. But it's a very hot issue and has been for as long as I can remember. Particularly for people coming from Russia - from which there is an economic incentive to come to Israel - I think converts need to be held to the highest standard possible. Typically, the Nazis in the army are the children of immigrants and not the immigrants themselves.

As to diabetes, I thought that claim was strange. Thanks for clarifying.


Good question. Maybe because most of them are educated to be 'tolerant' no matter what is thrown at them?

At 12:08 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


I had assumed that they had to conform to Halacha..quite a hornet's nest there. I can imagine that the Beit Din rightfully try to prevent non-Orthodox conversions, and thus not accept non-Jews as Olim ,under the Law of Return. It concerns me for the future.

I totally agree with you re them being held to the highest standard.That the nazis are the children of Russian immigrants,who have found a life they could not in Russia is alarming.

I can imagine though, that the kid felt that the treatment he received at the hand of the little nazis in the IDF would cause him to think that it caused his diabetes. But in reality, it is not true. I hope his MD can clear this up for him. It is hard enough to deal with in one's 50's or older, but at age 21? I am hopeful that there will be a cure for both within a decade, but Type I probably will be first. There are so many strides being made now.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Weiner said...

Finally, there's more awareness to this serious problem.
Russian immigrants, who are neither Jewish nor seek to integrate in the Israeli society, are growing in numbers.
Unless, we tackle it now, Anti-Semitism both in Israel and the IDF, is bound to keep growing.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It's ironic that our "own" State has found a way to recreate the part of the Eastern European environment that all groups of Jews most feared and most wanted to escape.


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