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Racism Sucks

January 26, 2014
A kind neighbor's "you're not welcome" to the neighborhood message

A kind neighbor’s “you’re not welcome” to the neighborhood message – I cleaned a big chunk of mud off  before this picture.

Growing up in a middle class European (aka “white”/”caucasian”) American family, I never thought that I would experience being the target of racism. I had heard personal stories from friends, and I had read plenty of other stories in the news, but I had never actually experienced racism firsthand.

And then, I went over to my soon to be new house this morning, and got my first taste of what it’s like to be a minority amongst a dominant, racist majority.  Someone had gone out of their way to take a handful of mud (not from the yard – there isn’t any in the yard; they had to bring it with them) and had shoved it into the key hole and smeared it all around leaving a nice wad stuck on the outside of the keyhole and a bunch of smear marks around the door handle.

I was in shock. I was only moving down the street. I knew most of the neighbors, or at least I knew the ones that knew I was moving into that house with my husband. They all had been happy to hear we were moving in. That is, I guess, until they found out I wasn’t Jewish.

Living in Israel has never been easy for me. There are too many barriers. Too many divisions and too many bridges to cross. If you’re a non-Jewish immigrant, be prepared for a lot of paperwork and hurdles. Even once you’re legally allowed to stay in the country, good luck getting to know people. Nobody seems to trust anybody unless you somehow know someone who they know. People are impatient, rude, arrogant. You wait in the line at the supermarket only to be shoved out of the way by someone who claims they had left a package of soap there to mark their place. You go to the doctor’s office and just because you stand a little bit to the right, the old man behind you decides you aren’t really in line and as you take a step forward he rams you with his walker and screams at you that you’ve cut in front of him. And he doesn’t stop screaming until you’ve left the doctor’s office after your appointment.  You ask someone for help in broken Hebrew only to be lectured about how can you live here if you can’t even speak the language. But, back to the point of my rant – a non-Jew living in a semi-religious neighborhood in Israel. Heaven forbid.

I know this country was founded to help “save” the Jewish race/religion by providing them with a land of their own where they couldn’t be persecuted, and I agree with its creation. But how quickly some turned into the persecutors. The reason for the creation of the State of Israel was valid at the time, but is it still so necessary in this day and age to maintain a Jewish majority? And is racism against non-Jews still so common that it really is important for a woman convert to Judaism “for the sake of her children”.  Personally, I want to say, “If it was so important to God that I be a Jew, I would have been born a Jew.” And, actually, next time I have to listen to a lecture about converting for the sake of my children, maybe I will actually have the courage to say it.

I know that my examples are so petty and small compared to what so many others experience. But, like I said, never in my life would I have expected to be the target of racism, and not in a country that was founded to protect its population from racism. This morning was an eye opener for me. I can only hope this was the only thing I will experience, and, if nothing else, it has given me even more motivation to continue working with nonprofits for peace in Israel.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2014 16:44

    I love this! Thank you for sharing!

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