Poor Miriam, such a decent person. She came to Israel full of hope, did everything right then she watched the whole thing unravel. Bigoted Arab haters took over her government, men who were racist and had lost the deep respect for humanity at the heart of Judaism. Imagine living in a country when a vicious brute like Ariel Sharon ould become your Prime Minister, then now living under Benjamin Netanyahu. She scans the landscape and cringes as her hoped-for democratic country continues its oppression of Palestinian people.
What’s a good woman to do? “Go to Hamas or Gaza” because she is apprently an Arab lover. No she is a good woman who grants dignity to all people. She is heartsick. She writes her cri de coeur to that fine newspaper, Haaretz.Intelligent people read this paper so Miriam writes to it. Now unknown to North americans there is A rag called Israel Hayom, a free paper purchased by the American idolator of Netanyahu, the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. 40% of Israelis pick up this propaganda sheet and only 5% of israelis read a real paper like Haaretz. So Miriam writes. She is now 75 and still hopes for the best.
From Holocaust to rebirth to occupation
I am a Holocaust survivor, born in Belgrade in 1940, and my childhood was spent in the ghetto and in a Budapest hospital under an assumed name. My life essentially began in 1948 when I immigrated to Israel. Here my family and I built our lives with difficulty and distress, without help from the establishment although the Israeli government had committed in the Reparations Agreement to rehabilitate us. I served in the Armored Corps, studied social work, and my husband and I were among the first residents of Arad.
My children served in the army, and I never – until the past few years – felt alienated or unaffiliated with the state in which I was assured a life of freedom as a Jew. In recent years, as I get older, I have encountered people’s hatred of my views on the bus, in the grocery store and in the mall, a hatred that sometimes is expressed in remarks like, “Go to Gaza, to Hamas.” To this we must add the politicians’ use of agitation and hatred for political purposes.
In this atmosphere I feel persecuted once more. We are not victims. A people that conquers another people, a nation that has a strong army, isn’t permitted to use the Holocaust to justify its actions. Every day I feel the evil spirits wafting through the country. I feel like an unwanted outsider, and, sad to say, I’m also afraid. Maj. Gen. Yair Golan was correct. As the man responsible for all our children he had to say what he did. Hatred of the stranger, the occupation, an unwillingness to accept those with different views – these are all foundations of a fascist movement. We must stop this immediately, because if we don’t, it won’t help our leaders to use the Holocaust to stop the criticism from the free world, which will justifiably condemn these phenomena.
Miriam Handelman Bat Yam
May 23, 2016