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  • Writer's pictureRuth Samuel Tenenholtz

love, hate, and antisemitism

How hard is it to start your day with a few good thoughts? And how hard to start your day with a minute of hatred? Today I ran into a discussion about "Israel's apartheid policies" and I have a few words to say about that. Apartheid is one of the few Dutch words incorporated in modern society, and we know that it originated in South Africa, where government policy dictated the marginalization of any person of color (not white).

Over time, apartheid became a concept used whenever people felt that diverse groups were not treated equally. It has become especially popular when defining Israel. Apartheid is bandied about with little regard for its essential meaning.

So, let's begin there: apartheid means being kept apart, but more than that, being discriminated against merely because of ethnicity.

My family doctor is a Christian Arab. I like him. He works in the clinic near my home. The doctor who operated on my knees and gave me a whole new start in terms of walking, getting up and down stairs, standing, etc., is a Muslim Arab. He works in a government hospital side by side with Jews and Christians.

The person who gives me my medicine is an Arab pharmacist. And yes, she works in the clinic near my home.

The above can hardly be considered apartheid policy.

Now, let's look at the other side: At the entrance to Arab villages and towns in the Palestinian Authority, there is a huge sign warning Israelis not to enter. To a large part this is meant for the protection of hapless citizens who enter these areas by mistake and wind up facing a lynch mob. Still, there is no such sign at the entrance of Israel's towns and villages, and Arabs entering do not fear for their lives.

I have tried to find numbers for Jews in politics in European and Arab countries before the establishment of the Jewish State but have been unsuccessful. On the whole I would venture to guess that their numbers have been miniscule.

If there have been any apartheid policies in place over the ages, and still happening in various, more subtle form, it concerns the Jews. Has there ever been any group so vilified over such a long period? Has there ever been a group so marginalized for so many centuries. We may have grown a little prickly as a result. We may have become a little more self-aware and defensive, going to such lengths as writing blogs such as this one.

However, one thing is sure: there is NO APARTHEID in Israel.

In closing: I well remember how Israelis would drive into Gaza to do their shopping. It was cheap, and the shopkeepers welcomed the business they got from Tel Aviv. And then it changed:

It was not Israel which curtailed free movement, it was Arab terror. Arab terror was the cause for walls being built, barriers being lowered, checkpoints being instated. And in the end, signs being put up.

Do not call my country Apartheid oriented. The shoe is on the other foot. Not a single Jew in Jordan or Lebanon, and a handful of elderly Jews left in Egypt.

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אני מכריז בזאת

אני מאמינה שאני אדם ליברלי- מכבד את האחר והשונה- לא מדירה אנשים בגלל זהותם או מוצאם. יחד עם זאת, אני בחרתי לחיות בקהילה דתית לאומית ומגדירה את עצמי שייכת לקהילה הזאת. בבית הוריי למדתי כשרות ושמירת שבת

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Ruth Samuel Tenenholtz
Ruth Samuel Tenenholtz
Dec 13, 2022

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