(cross-posted from Kosher Eucharist)
Something is rotten in the state of Israel.
An old enemy stalks the streets and synagogues of the country, the country whose very purpose was to provide one place to which the enemy could not gain access. Hate-twisted visages, cruelly familiar, leer from dark corners. Lips curl around utterances thought to have been relegated to painful memory.
Yes, the Nazis have arrived.
A concerned Jew can hardly pick up the morning paper here in the Holy Land without being greeted by news of not only the manifestations of the eternal Judenhass in its traditional strongholds (i.e., everywhere), but a rising surge of anti-Semitic hooliganism right here at home: Israelis found running neo-Nazi websites, anti-Jewish slurs flying around the streets of Tel Aviv, teenagers burning Israeli flags and stealing mezuzot.
A cursory examination of these chilling reports of blood and fire in Israel reveals a common source: the sizable community of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The loose interpretation of Jewishness found in the Law of Return and the ever-collapsing economic situation within Russia have led to a tide of immigrants whose relationship to Judaism, whether physical or spiritual, can barely (if at all) be quantified. This tide of Slavs, whose blond hair, blue eyes, upswept noses and lack of respect for our beloved heritage threaten to dilute our blood and our tradition, is proving disastrous to the orderly running of this state, which is first and foremost a state for the Jews. These Russians will be our undoing.
Such has it always with that branch of our people who have chosen to make their home in the shadow of the onion domes. Enlightened Western European Jews feared, with good reason, how the teeming, hirsute masses of the Ostjuden would reflect on their civilized co-religionists should their lagomorphic breeding rate cause them to spill over into cultured Europe. Not for the Russian Jews were the sublime verses of Goethe, or the thundering operas of Wagner – they preferred to busy themselves with their primitive business of tradition, of matchmakers, of Sabbath prayers, of sunrises and sunsets. So numerous were they that even the Pale could not hold them – they gathered together their meager collections of candlesticks and holy books and inflicted, by the millions, their schmaltz and onion stink upon the narrow alleys of New York City, undoing in one fell, liver-scented swoop all the attempts by their more refined Jewish predecessors in the New World to make a secure place for the Jews. It is their Semitic uncouthness that, more than anything, brought down the Nazi hammer upon our heads.
But these unfortunate troglodytes were at least, in the fundamental sense of the word, Jews! Their stock was of the people Israel! How much worse is it then that now again these tides of Russian Jews threaten to destroy everything for which we have fought – and they’re not even really Jews! They spraypaint blasphemy onto the walls of our places of worship in Zion, they attack us in the streets, and they howl at the doors of other nations as well – even America, where neighborhoods from Brooklyn to Brookline are sullied by the harsh and nasal consonants of their pidgin tongue!
Something must be done. Somehow, the Russian question must be satisfactorily, and permanently, answered.
Some less-informed commentators have proposed that the “Russian problem” in Israel stems from a failure on the part of the Israeli people to absorb Russian immigrants, to provide them a welcoming home and economic security, to respect their own cultural heritage. This is rubbish. We, the Israeli Jews, would accomplish nothing more than a tremendous waste of time by trying to assimilate these Russians into our society and religion. Our tradition is not for them, our God is not for them – their narrow Slavic minds, so thoroughly undistinguished in the fields of science and art and all else we hold dear, simply lack the capacity to grapple with the magnificence of 4000 years of accumulated Jewish thought. We may as well try to teach Talmud to dogs. Best, then, to leave behind this fantasy of assimilation.
So what must be done? I offer this most humble of propositions: since we cannot risk the lives of our children and, indeed, the future of our people by allowing this insidious foreign element to live among us, we must cordon them off. First, we must pass special laws in the Knesset barring Russians from marrying, or even fraternizing with, normative Jews, for fear that they will infect our society with love of the drink and ponderous, brooding literature. These laws will extend to all recent Russian immigrants and those of Russian immigrant descent, even the ones who may be technically Jewish – their connection to the tree of Israel has been long severed anyway. Russian-owned businesses will be seized by the state to prevent the danger of anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi materials being distributed through them. Afterwards, special “Russian quarters” would be established in Israel’s towns and cities, providing the Russian community a closed-off environment in which to conduct its affairs, educate its children and speak its language without spilling over into the dominant Jewish community.
The second stage would then be to wait to see if the problem resolves itself. I, however, am a realist, and it is apparent to me from my observations of heavily Russian areas currently existing within Israel that when Russians congregate, they inevitably plot to foment discord and strife in their benevolent host nation. Such is the nature of the Russian people, and something that mere segregation will doubtless fail to overcome.
Therefore, I propose something more comprehensive, a “Pitron Sofi,” if you will, to the Russian question. Any casual observer will note that the Russian community is characterized by its lack of employment in trades of use to modern society. Why should we suffer the burden of hosting these people if they refuse to work towards the betterment of general society and instead keep their coin guarded closely within their community? If they are to be here, we must put them to work. I move that the government and the major Israeli corporations establish a network of reeducation/work camps all over the country, in isolated locations, where Russians will live out their lives, safely separated from Israeli Jews, stamping out bowtie noodles for Osem and guns for the IDF.
I predict that after several years of this, the solution to the problem will work itself out.
I speak not as an elected official, or a cleric, or a head of industry, but only as a simple Jew and Israeli patriot. I love nothing more than my people and my country, and I will not stand idly by while sinister forces conspire to destroy her. I expect that many will disagree with what I have written here, but remember that our tradition, from Abraham to Moses to Elijah, has always venerated the words of the lone voice in the wilderness. I want only to see glorious Israel triumphant over her enemies. Is that so much to ask?