The Israeli liberal left was quick to join the chorus of protests against Nobel Literature laureate Jose Saramago for drawing a comparison between the situation in Ramallah and the Auschwitz death camp. Gentiles who liken Jews to Nazis or to collaborators with the Nazis are denounced - justly so - as anti-Semites. Some even wrote that Saramago had made Israelis fair play for assailants with his comments.
On the other hand, Israeli left-wing liberals find nothing wrong with co-signing a "covenant" with a Jew like Brigadier General (res.) Effi Eitam, who called the Palestinians a "cancer in the body of the nation." The fact that the Nazis were especially fond of this metaphor is probably not lost on the general.
By the same token, the women members of "Kapowatch" - the response of the rightist Women in Green to "Machsomwatch," which was set up to observe the behavior of Israeli soldiers at checkpoints in the West Bank - know what a "kapo" is. The kapos were Jews who acted as police for the Nazis in the death camps (although in the end most of them were also murdered).
And what crime did the women who watch the checkpoints commit to be thus branded? "They are a group of traitors from the extreme left," wrote Nadia Matar, the leader of Women in Green to her colleagues last week. She urged them to stand up against "the anti-Israeli organization that supports the enemy under the guise of being a human rights organization that wants to ensure that the soldiers are nice to the Arabs."
Matar reports that she and Yael from the settlement of Tekoa and Jacqueline from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo visited an army checkpoint north of Bethlehem early one morning to boost the morale of the soldiers and offer them refreshments. "At 7 o'clock the traitors from the left arrived," Matar wrote. "I had asked Jacqueline to bring a camera and I started to follow the women and photograph them. They asked me who I was and I replied, `We are from KapoWatch, we are photographing Jewish traitors. We are adding your names to the black list of collaborators with the Arab enemy, so that when the time comes you will be placed on trial for crimes against the Jewish people on its soil.'"
If KapoWatch members don't understand they are emulating Samarago, they would do well to have a look at a book by former Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky, "In a Jewish Jail: From the Diary of a Political Prisoner." On page 18 Shilansky, who was a member of the National Military Organization (Irgun, led by Menachem Begin) and afterward a Herut and Likud MK, writes about the Jewish collaborators: "Everyone murdered, including the Jews in the service of the Germans, and nearly every Jew who wore a ribbon of a deputy Kapo on his hand murdered, with only a few exceptions."
In his book "The Seventh Million" Tom Segev reports how Holocaust survivors lynched former Kapos. On January 9, 1946, the daily Hatzofeh, the organ of the religious Zionist movement, called on the authorized institutions "to liquidate these people."
Jews, it seems, are allowed everything. That includes the liberty of likening Jews to Israel's worst enemies, while at the same time whining about those who liken Jews to Israel's worst enemies. They can foment a disturbance against the playing of Wagner as an encore to those in the audience who want to stay and hear it. They can also shrug off as a "technical mistake" an army officer's order to write numbers on the arms of Palestinian prisoners.
A little learning
In response to a petition filed by the Jerusalem Municipality with the High Court of Justice relating to the special status and privileges it grants the children and day-care centers of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) "Beit Yaakov" education network, the municipality maintains that it took these actions in order "to preserve integration in the classes."
In other words, the education network, which is controlled by the Ashkenazi community, receives preferential treatment to ensure that it will not reject Sephardi children. A Supreme Court tribunal will soon hold a hearing on the petitioners' contention that the municipality's transfer of funds to the network contradicts the provisions of the budget law.
In the meantime, Shmuel Yitzhaki, a member of the Jerusalem municipal council for Shas, the Sephardi Haredi party, commented on the municipality's claim that the benefits granted to the network are actually intended to ensure integration between Ashkenazi and Sephardi children in the institutions of the Agudat Yisrael movement. "I state with full responsibility that the Beit Yaakov network discriminates against Sephardi children," Yitzhaki asserted. For example, Sephardi children who live in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood are not admitted to the two kindergartens that operate in the adjacent Arzei Habira neighborhood and instead are sent to distant facilities. Yitzhaki adds that other institutions of the Beit Yaakov network also shut their doors to Sephardim. Thus, for example, 12 girls who were supposed to enter ninth grade this year under the Compulsory Education Law, "but are sitting at home tearfully because they are not wanted."
Yitzhaki supported his claim of discrimination by citing a letter sent by the director of the Haredi Education Department in the municipality, Binyamin Cohen, to mayor Ehud Olmert. On January 30, five months after the start of the school year, Cohen wrote: "As stated in the letter to the mayor's adviser, the girls, who were not assigned to any school, insist on registering only in specific institutions."
According to the attached list, the "specific institutions" are under the control of the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox community. Cohen noted, "To date we have exploited every means and made every possible effort to assign the girls to the requested institutions; these institutions have reached the limit of their ability to admit new students. [My department] is doing all it can to enable the girls to register and to assign them to possible institutions."
Cohen added that "there are many such" institutions. However, according to his own letter, what they all have in common is that they are not among "the most requested institutions."
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