I'm writing the weekend column in a hurry, because when else will I have a chance to comment on the poverty report? Perhaps only in a year's time, when the next report is released. The rest of the year, Ruth Sinai will continue to write about the poor and their distress alone, while we will be exempt, for we have done our duty now.
This then, they say, was the week of the poverty report. Actually, it was only half a week - more accurately, two days. Herzliya speeches and the erudite analyses of them devoured the rest.
Then assorted commentators sifted through the differences with electronic microscopes. Even if any such were there to be found, they have been swiftly erased by Hamas' election victory, which rendered the speeches even less relevant than yesterday morning's newspapers.
There is no longer any doubt that in the past five years, during the days of Sharon-Netanyahu-Olmert-Livnat (Labor too was a loyal partner, on and off), the poor and their children have multiplied and filled the land. And a baby born below the poverty line looks exactly like a baby born above it. They change in time, when the poor baby grows up with a downcast gaze.
Shifting the blame
The politicians shift the blame like a rag ball - from Bibi to Olmert and back, but the address is clear - the entire Sharon government, with or without Labor and Shinui. This is what happens when a wolf disguises himself as a granny or a grandpa, and hundreds of thousands of Little Red Riding Hoods are asking why are your teeth so big and sharp. To this day, they have not given themselves the correct answer.
Today, January 27, the world marks the 61st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Yesterday, hundreds of survivors gathered in Jerusalem to raise the cry of their plight to heaven. Their protest slogan is "the world remembers, Israel forgets." At first, the survivors intended to go to Jerusalem by train, but for many of them, that was one train journey too much. So they took buses.
The Holocaust survivors among us are already old, and time will conquer where genocide failed. They are getting fewer by the day.
In the last two weeks, the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel has gone on strike, and stopped its assistance to sick survivors, as well as aid for the purchase of medicine, protheses, hearing aids, glasses, dental treatments, and diapers. Yes, a poor old person is like a poor child, and a very elderly, sick man sometimes goes in his pants. Benjamin Netanyahu promised in my presence a short time ago to save the foundation; as usual, he did not keep his promise. They say he was "a good finance minister," and in the state of Sodom and Gomorrah, I'm sure he is much in demand.
By tomorrow, the survivors' protest will be forgotten. Their week too was very short - one day. Their fate will not be on the election campaign's agenda. After all, today they would hardly fill half a block in Auschwitz.
No civilized state in the world treats its survivors like that.
And I say, a state that is cruel to Holocaust survivors is not a Jewish state. Any other state that has mercy for them is more Jewish than this one. Israel is not the Jewish state, as its children and old people will testify in their personal "Testimony Pages."
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