Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Maria

1968.
The kibbutz only accepted groups of Swiss volunteers.

The Swiss were polite, hard workers, did not smoke pot and could often play an instrument, which was a bonus for the kibbutz orchestra.
Strange that, a Marxist-Zionist kibbutz being enamored with the most bourgeois of bourgeois volunteers.

Maria was a shy and demure Swiss volunteer.
She used to stare at me a lot. It was a sad and forlorn look, a bit unnerving.
I started talking to her and we hit it off. My friends noticed we were spending time together, and ribbed me about her name.

One thing led to another, but she had demons she was battling.
After a time she told me about them.

A few years earlier she had worked as an au-pair in Rabat, Morocco.
One day she missed her stop on the bus to her host family and had to walk back a stop, past a park.
Two men grabbed her, pulled her into the park and raped her.

Eventually we did start a relationship. It was the kind you start not knowing where it is heading.
Actually, it turned into a mainly passionate physical relationship that lasted for about two months. Then she returned to Switzerland.

We were not really suited for each other. She used to try to entice me with stories about how she could make delicious cheese fondue.
I am not too keen on cheese fondue, I am a meat person.

She returned nine months later, hoping to renew the relationship. However, I was with another girl.
She was very civilized about it. We shook hands. The Swiss are good at keeping up appearances.




The Zionist in me

I have met American and British Jews who downplay antisemitism by saying, “It could never happen here”.
I have never met any Dutch Jews who say that. They know it could happen here and anywhere.

Over half of the Dutch victims of the Second World War were Jews.
In the run up to Remembrance Day in the Netherlands there are usually some programmes about Dutch Jews.
I remember listening to a radio programme where four Jewish women, children of Holocaust survivors, were being interviewed. 

The interviewer asked the women if the Holocaust still had an effect on their daily lives.
One woman replied that before she could make a new friend, she always asked herself if that person would have hidden her during the war.
I remember thinking to myself, “she can’t have many friends”.

“Never again” implies there could be other attempts to annihilate the Jewish people. 
However, next time we will not be beholden to others, we will not ask anybody to hide us.
We will rely on ourselves

Sunday, 15 July 2018

I do not give a faecal matter


There were many political differences in my unit.
However, when push came to shove we trusted each other completely.
We had to, our survival depended on it.

Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the Forward, has never had to worry about survival. She is a liberal Democrat who lives in New York.
She has never really had to fight for anything.
Wrote an article, "Should We Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of The Six Day War — Or Despair?". It sounded like she was sorry we won.

During a lull in the fighting, someone turned on a transistor radio. He tuned it to a Syrian station in Hebrew. They were boasting about how they were going to exterminate all the Jews.
We knew why we were fighting.
Women and children on my border kibbutz were not evacuated. Where could they go?
This was an existential war. We won and the people of Israel survived.

And I don't give a s**t about what Jane Eisner and her friends think.