david ben-gurion

Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: We have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?
— 

David Ben-Gurion

10 little known things about Israel’s past

In honor of the Jewish state’s 69th birthday, we present, in no particular order, 10 little-known aspects of modern Israel’s history.

1. El Al used to fly to Tehran.

Iran and Israel enjoyed mostly good relations up until the Islamic revolution that overthrew the shah in 1979. Iran recognized Israel in 1950, becoming the second Muslim-majority country to do so (after Turkey). Iran supplied Israel with oil during the OPEC oil embargo, Israel sold Iran weapons, there was brisk trade between the countries, and El Al flew regular flights between Tel Aviv and Tehran. All that ended a week after the shah’s ouster, when Iran’s new rulers cut ties with Israel and transferred its embassy in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Even after 35 years of hostilities, however, Iranians have less antipathy toward Jews than any other Middle Eastern nation. A 2014 global anti-Semitism survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that 56 percent of Iranians hold anti-Semitic views — compared to 80 percent of Moroccans and 93 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. For more on Israelis in Iran, check out the 2014 documentary “Before the Revolution.”

2. Israel is home to hundreds of Nazi descendants.

At least 400 descendants of Nazis have converted to Judaism and moved to Israel, according to filmmakers who made a documentary about the phenomenon several years ago. In addition, others converted to Judaism or married Israelis but do not live in the Jewish state – such as Heinrich Himmler’s great-niece, who married an Israeli Jew and lives overseas.

In Israel’s early years, the state was roiled by a debate over whether to accept German reparations for the Holocaust (it did), and Germany remained a controversial subject: From 1956 until 1967, Israel had a ban on all German-produced films.

3. Ben-Gurion invented Israeli couscous (sort of).

The tiny pasta balls known as Israeli couscous – called ptitim in Hebrew – were invented in the 1950s at the behest of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who asked the Osem food company to come up with a wheat-based substitute for rice during a period of austerity in Israel. The invention, which Israelis dubbed “Ben-Gurion’s rice,” was an instant hit.

4. Israel had no TV service till the late ‘60s.

The first Israeli TV transmission did not take place until 1966, and at first was intended only for schools for educational use. Regular public broadcasts began on Israeli Independence Day in May 1968.

This 1958 scene of a family watching television could not have been photographed in Israel, as the Jewish state had no TV until 1966. (Wikimedia Commons/JTA)

For almost two decades more, Israel had only one channel, and broadcasts were limited to specific hours of the day. A second channel debuted in 1986, and cable was introduced in 1990. Today, Israeli TV is a popular source for Hollywood scriptwriters: “Homeland” (Showtime), “In Treatment” (HBO), “Your Family or Mine” (TBS), “Allegiance” (NBC), “Deal With It” (TBS), “Tyrant” and “Boom” (Showtime) all are remakes of Israeli shows.

5. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother-in-law is buried in Jerusalem.

Prince Philip’s mother, born in 1885 as Princess Alice of Battenberg and congenitally deaf, spent much of her life in Greece after marrying Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (yes, he was simultaneously prince of two different European countries). During the Nazi occupation of Greece, Alice hid a Jewish woman and two of her children from the Nazis, earning her eventual recognition by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as a “Righteous Among the Nations” and by the British government as a “Hero of the Holocaust.”

She moved to London in 1967 to live in Buckingham Palace with her son and daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. After the princess died two years later, her body was interred in a crypt at Windsor Castle. In 1988, she was transferred to a crypt at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives – honoring a wish she had expressed before her death. The Mount of Olives is home to the world’s oldest continuously used cemetery.

6. Alaska Airlines airlifted thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel.

When anti-Jewish riots broke out in Yemen after Israel’s victory in the 1948 War of Independence, Yemen’s Jewish community decided to move en masse to the Jewish homeland. James Wooten, president of Alaska Airlines, was among those moved by their plight. Between June 1949 and September 1950, Alaska Airlines made approximately 430 flights in twin-engine C-46 and DC-4 aircrafts as part of Operation Magic Carpet, the secret mission that transported nearly 50,000 Jews from Yemen to Israel. Pilots had to contend with fuel shortages, sandstorms and enemy fire, and one plane crash-landed after losing an engine, but not a single life was lost aboard the flights.

anonymous asked:

As an ethnic jew born in America, I found your post on the term Zionism very interesting. What do you think of Vanessa Redgrave calling Zionists Hoodlums? She refuses to acknowledge that she is antisemitic because she actively protests antisemitism that is unrelated to Israel and doesn't treat antisemitism as a threat that 'no longer exists'. Do you think her use of the term Zionism is justifiable? Thanks so much, I must admit I am not very educated on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Zionism” has become a very loaded term and I honestly wish non-Jews would just stop using it. Hell, Uri Avnery made a very good case that no one should use it. When someone mentions Zionism, you honestly have no idea what they think that term means.

The worst meaning of “Zionist” refers directly to the notorious anti-semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which postulated that Jews secretly control everything or at least are plotting to. People under this false belief will often mask their anti-semitism in anti-zionist language, using “Zionist” interchangeably with “Jew.”

Modern Political Zionism, as suggested by Theodor Herzl, was the belief that Jews needed a state to be safe from anti-semitism. That idea ultimately took shape in the modern State of Israel, though that wasn’t an inevitability. Both Uganda and Patagonia were suggested as alternatives. Regardless it ended up with Jewish groups purchasing land in Palestine during the Ottoman rule and then with the British Mandate which promised a safe Jewish home there. A lot of anti-Zionism is based in the thoughts, acts and theories of these Zionists who were responding to the anti-semitism of Europe during the late 19th and early 20th century. Jewish anti-Zionists of this period mostly believed in other solutions to anti-semitism including assimilation, communism, social justice activism, prayer and other ideas. Very often you’ll see anti-Zionist attacks along these lines based on the (frequently cherry-picked and decontextualized) statements of Zionists like David Ben-Gurion, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Chaim Weitzmann and others.

Then there is what I’ll call “circumstantial” Zionism wherein Jews had to flee to British Mandate Palestine and later Israel as a practical matter rather than as a deliberate support of a political theory. In this case I’m talking about refugees. First you have a major flood of refugees from central Europe in the 1930s who fled to British Mandate Palestine because of the rise of Nazi Germany and its ideologies. 

As you can see here, there is an enormous spike in Jewish immigration in that period. Most of the rest of the world had severe caps on Jewish immigration during this period. The British promised a safe Jewish homeland in Palestine, so that’s where Jews fled. This is where I get frustrated with the people who are against ideological Zionism based on the statements and actions of the early Zionists. They don’t have a good answer for this population. 

The slowdown in 1936 came in large part as a result of Palestinian riots against the British and Jewish populations, which culminated in the British White Paper of 1939 which put extreme caps on Jewish immigration. 

As you can see in 1932, there were just under 200,000 Jews in Palestine. By 1942, that number had more than doubled. These are Jews who had to flee. You can condemn that 200,000 all you want, but I’m frustrated by the general apathy towards the other hundreds of thousands who came during this period where their immigration almost certainly saved their lives. Combine this with later waves of immigration which also included large masses of refugees from anti-semitism and you see where a country built on the notion of “all Jews always welcome” was not a theoretical but a practical matter. 

What I’m saying is that, for a great many Jews, Zionism isn’t a political theory, it’s a practical question of survival. To these Jews “I’m against Zionism” means, “I don’t care if Jews have a safe place to live.” 

The question of the costs of Zionism is a necessary and important one. But in taking sides, a lot of people ignore or downplay the role that the existence of Israel has played for the very survival of millions of Jews. Any solution to the question of Israel/Palestine that doesn’t take this into account is doomed to failure and will only exacerbate the situation. 

To borrow the cliche, “one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” Anyone who isn’t interested in a better future for both peoples is one I don’t  fully trust.

Calling Zionists “hoodlums” is a grotesque oversimplification. I don’t doubt that Redgrave and other anti-Zionists have good intentions. But I also don’t think they are taking the effort necessary to understand the complexities of the issue. It’s much easier to take a side than it is to try to find practical solutions. Especially when the personal cost to her isn’t an existential one.

Israel claims Palestinians are using their children as human shields thus the high numbers of child casualties … So, I am asking this: What was hiding behind the four killed children playing on an open beach? That ends that non-sense. As per this one internationally witnessed instance, i find the Israeli claim unsubstantiated across the board and call it bullshit. They are bombing selected locations to get to their military and political targets irregardless of “collateral damage”, AND are also intentionally bombing other knowingly civilian-occupied targets to punish and terrorize the general population. No human shield non-sense, just state terrorism bent on extermination of the last remaining obstacles to complete conquest…..!!

“We must expel Arabs and take their places.” 
“We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”-David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s 1st prime minister

youtube

Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel

I actually tear up while watching this.