# 05 – Living in Israel by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 05 – Living in Israel

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

March 16, 1990



Living in Israel


One is tempted to believe that The Middle East is so possessive of its position in the World media, that all the changes in Europe, Southern Africa etc. make them all the more determined to win back the headlines.


Maybe, if and when the new government gets in, we shall see some faster and more positive changes. Unfortunately, the politicians are so stubborn here – and they refuse to put their trust in the future. After listening to some of them, especially the more coherent ones, it is very easy to not only understand them, but to support them. And that includes right-wing members.



Wanna read more politics? Read on…


In a recent article by a correspondent in Jordan, a lot of the brain-washing carried out by that government was exposed. And it is to be remembered that this is considered one of the more moderate Arab countries.


“Heavily influenced by classic anti-Israel literature’ – I have been in Arab countries; I know that a free press is almost non-existent, that there are few, if any literary pieces invoking the Jewish/Israeli point of view. Have you ever heard of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion?” This was a book brought out towards the end of the 19th Century.



It was originally based on a pamphlet issued against Napoleon III. It was re-written in extended form by a group of Russian secret police based in Paris as a way of putting the blame for the Russian Civil War on the Jews. There followed heavy massacres of Jews throughout the 1918-21 period of the Russian Revolution.


Since then, the book spread throughout the Russian Empire, and into the Arab countries. It has been banned by practically every Western country – every democracy. But in most Arab countries, even today in Jordan, it can be found almost anywhere.




“Why should the Jews want to forcibly create a state in the midst of Arab lands?” My only comment concerns the lack of tolerance shown. The Jews did not come here with guns. On the contrary, the doctors left even their stethoscopes behind, the musicians their instruments and the writers their pens. They were given spades and ploughs. The guns came when the neighbours became intolerant. And I that the 5,000 years of history and the 500 years of continuous presence (e.g. Aviva’s father’s family) give them some rights.




“The most striking illustration of this rejection of a Jewish homeland is some Jordanians’ belief that the Holocaust never happened……..a systematic ploy to gain money from Japan and Germany…….. in fact, the Zionists and Germany collaborated in order to establish a Zionist homeland….the Nazis killed Jews, but only about 100,000 amongst millions of other people. And anyway, why should we (the Palestinians) have to pay for this?”


The last sentence is one to which I have referred many times. A Jordanian/Palestinian ex-customer of mine (during my previous employment) said all that to me. His words were: “Why should we carry the guilt of Europe on our shoulders?”




This really has got to be one of the ugliest sets of words ever uttered. It smells so much of brain-washing, or fanaticism, or a total ignorance of the plight of one’s brother-man, that it needs little comment.


“Ceaucescu killed 60,000 during his reign, so the Nazis couldn’t possible have killed 6 million. Where could they put all the bodies? How could they have had the time? Why would they want to do such a thing?” – Again, no comment necessary.




“…Jews have no right to return to a land that is not theirs, particularly when the UN has given right of return to the Palestinians. “ – Yes, how easy they forget that it was a UN resolution that finally established the State of Israel for the Jews, so that the people who had been persecuted as a minority for 2,000 years could have a home where they could be in the majority. Within minutes of the establishment of the Jewish State, 7 Arab countries attacked (totally ignoring the UN) and have continued to do so ever since.


“Persistent Israeli aggression has resulted in Israel occupying parts of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan” – Even if it were true, and it certainly isn’t, only an absolute dummy would want to admit that a tiny country like Israel could succeed to achieve such a status.



“No one here believes that Israel desires peace” – that may be so. But then it should be admitted that has the right to think at least the same as the Arabs. And as it’s 1:30 in population ratio, and more in territory, it’s no wonder that so many Israelis are against concessions.


“Sooner or later we shall recover our lands – through fighting, not peace” – This is a major problem. There are some, including – in private – Arafat, who say they want peace; that they want to establish the State of Palestine next to the State of Israel. Yet their partners, their fellow Palestinians, many Arab nations, say something different. That the Palestinian State is just the stepping stone to the sea; no Jewish State. And it should be recalled that we are not dealing with views. None of the Arab states is a democracy. Any single one is a target for similar changes that occurred in Iran.



It is ironical that that the big argument now is to hold elections in the West Bank. Who should represent the Palestinians? How should the elections be monitored? Elections? At least some East Europeans have distant memories of free elections. Such a procedure is totally unknown to the Arab mind. What the Sheikh, King, President or Mullah says…goes.


“Unfortunately, the Zionists, like the proponents of Apartheid, don’t like to live with anybody, because they think they are the super-people”. Classic anti-Semitism.




Anti-Semitism is an overused phrase – or at least misused. Almost every time something is said against Israel or against a Jew, it is labelled anti-Semitism. Of course, there are many other forms of abuse. But it does exist, and it has been the backbone for some of the greatest horrors this World has ever seen. The Holocaust was the worst, and it was very recent. People are still alive who experienced it first-hand. How can the Jews be criticised for being over-sensitive?


The longer I live here in Israel, the more entrenched I become in the quagmire of this area. I am still basically a leftist. I still believe we should sit down, even with Arafat, and get something written on paper.



It is not a question of trust; the signing of a piece of paper would be only the first of 100 steps. It would not be a sign for everyone to start kissing each other, nor for the soldiers to go home to their families. But ‘no war’ is something, as in the case of Egypt. The peace treaty with them has survived so many shocks and crises in the region, as I have detailed before.


Yet when I look at the way the Palestinians want the border to be drawn, the way they send their kids out every day to throw stones and Molotov cocktails to provoke the soldiers into aggression, the tribal way of life of these people, to whom life has little value, then I start moving to the right.




Some Palestinians are asking for Israel to move back to the pre-1967 borders. Others have the chutzpah (the gall) to ask for more: that Israel retreats to the 1947 unspecified borders. Why the ….didn’t they accept that in the first place? How many thousands of lives have been lost as a result? And have you ever looked at that suggested border? It looks as if it has been drawn by a teething baby. After 40 years of not accepting the original UN resolution, I really do not the Palestinians deserve a border that overlooks Tel Aviv and surrounds Jerusalem.


And they certainly cannot expect Jerusalem to be once again divided (like Berlin). Where was the tolerance towards all religions during Jordan’s rule over the Holy City? Only since 1967, when Israel regained East Jerusalem, has the city once again been united, and is open to all faiths.



That brings me to another subject: the Temple. It is a fact that Judaism preceded the other major religions by some time. It is a fact that the First and Second Temples preceded the birth if Islam. And yet, when Islam overran the Holy City, it was ‘decided’ that the Temple Mount, the site of the 2 previous Temples, happened to be exactly the spot whence Mohammed ascended to Heaven on his white horse. It became the third most important site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. That was where the Arabs built the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques. All that is thought to be left from the original Temple is the Western (‘Wailing’) Wall. No wonder some Jews are peeved over the presence of the Mosque.




Something else just came out. A Soviet politician recently made a statement to a visiting Arab delegation, which was attempting to persuade the USSR to curtail the emigration of Jews. He was also against their settlement in the ‘occupied territories’, but he reminded the Arabs that is was they who persecuted the Jews, killed them, and forced practically all the rest of them to leave their countries. And where are those Jews now? Not in refugee camps, living in squalor, despite the billions in the hands of their Arab brothers. They are in Israel, or in some other welcoming countries, such as USA and Europe. And Israel is not exactly minerally rich. The immigrants have had a difficult time being settled. But the doors are open for them. Here they have a home.




Aviva is now sitting next to me. She sometimes wonders where I stand on the subject of the Middle East problem. Like with many Israelis, this is an extremely sensitive subject for her. She is ready to pounce on what may seem to be criticism of the Israeli position. But now she has read this, and although there are, of course, some points with which she disagrees, she is positively surprised and content with my appreciation and apparent understanding of this mess.





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