Posted by: Lister | April 21, 2007

Anti-Semitism rises in Israel

Rabbi Avraham Levine was attacked by teenagers who called him a “Zhid” — a derogatory Russian term for Jew, similar to “Kike”.

The nationalists came to Israel as part of the massive immigration wave from former Soviet states in the 1990s. While they are Jewish under Israel’s law of return — meaning that either they, one of their parents or one of their grandparents are Jewish — they do not consider themselves as Jews.

The vandalism is not treated as anti-semitism, even when graves and synagogues are attacked.

“The law does not provide us with the ability to even define an incident in Israel as being of an anti-Semitic character, and they all fall within the general term of vandalism,” says one justice ministry official who asked to remain anonymous.

[…] Gilichenski says the authorities turn a blind eye: “Israel is very swift to criticise anti-Semitism abroad but remains silent in the face of anti-Semitism within.” There is no law explicitly banning anti-Semitism in Israel, because such a situation was never imagined by the lawmakers, he said.

According to Gilichenski, the increasing trend is partly due to the fact that out of the nearly 1.2 million immigrants who have arrived from ex-Soviet states since the early 1990s, over 300,000 do not consider themselves Jews, according to official figures from the Immigrant and Absorption Ministry.

“People who do not identify themselves as Jews arrive here, after learning about the Jewish people from the most extreme sources of anti-Semitism in former Soviet states,” Gilichenski said.

Ilia Zolotov an IDF soldier and “Russian patriot”, published a website called “White Israeli Union”…

Its content included Nazi and Holocaust-denial materials. It was eventually closed down by the police. Zolotov was sentenced to community service and sent on a tour of death camps in Poland.

Since the closure of Zolotov’s Web site, his successors have gotten more sophisticated. Now they use servers based abroad, usually in Russia, to evade the authorities. One such site operator is Alex [a pseudonym], who is in his 30s and holds a security-related job. His site,, is hosted by a Russian server. Alex refers to himself on the site as “the Russian tank operator” or “the fighter from Jerusalem,” a tribute to his service in the Armored Corps. In a conversation with Haaretz, he denied that his site carries anti-Semitic messages, asserting that it is pro-Russian only.

[…] A Haaretz probe reveals that the RNC site is indeed Russian nationalist in nature, but it also contains anti-Semitic material. The home page features a Celtic cross, a symbol that has been adopted by neo-Nazis, and warns all Jews who have immigrated to Israel not to dare to return to Russia. It calls on all non-Jewish Russians who immigrated to Israel to return to Russia and to leave the Jews [using the derogatory Russian term zhid] in their country.

Alex is active on other, specifically Nazi, forums, such as, in which he recommended Jurgen Graf’s “The Myth of the Holocaust” to readers in July 2005. There were 118 favorable responses from Israel to that posting.

[…] When asked whether the mass Jewish immigration of Russian Jews in the 1990s was a mistake, he says it depends which immigrants you mean. “The Jewish immigration to Israel is the best and only solution, apparently, to the Jewish question in Russia. On the other hand, the mass emigration of ethnic Russians from Russia is a big mistake that we [the RNC] must correct.”

[…] “Their message is, ‘if I’m not accepted here as a Jew, then I’ll remain Russian,'” [Dr. Elana] Gomel said [She is author of a book on being Russian in Israel]. “The enormous gap in mentality between the cultures of the Sabras and the immigrants doesn’t help their absorption into society and they develop antagonism to Israeli society. The absurdity,” Gomel adds, “is that even if the anti-Semitic nationalists return to Russia, the Russian anti-Semites won’t accept them and will persecute them just as people of Jewish extraction in the Wehrmacht during the Nazi regime were persecuted. The phenomenon is sick because it is a form of self-flagellation that cannot be stopped,” Gomel said.


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