Monday, September 10, 2007

Will a social explosion follow the "revelation" of Neo-Nazis in Israel?

Absorbing a mass of immigrants is a difficult issue for any country. Absorbing an amount equal to sixth of the current population - while many of them arriving under false pretense makes it even more difficult. The new immigrants from Russia have had to endure difficulties such civil rights discrimination, notably the basic right to marriage. Many Russian descendants have no formal way to marry within Israel and are forced to travel to Cypress to do so.

Add to all of that the fact that a fringe of the immigrants from Russia did not consider themselves Jewish but rather "pure" Russians. Not only pure, but superior. White supremacist ideology - now a prevalent theme in Russia has been exported and had found roots with few disgruntled youths.

Fast forward to the last weeks - the capture of a violent Neo-Nazi gang has become world wide news - and the snow ball is still rolling. There are now daily reports of anti-semitic violence perpetrated by Russian descendants. I doubt it reveals a change of pace of such actions but rather a change of attitudes expressed by the media.

In my humble opinion this could regrettably lead to further clashes between those who feel Anti-Semites have invaded their domain and those who feel that anti-Russian racism is preventing their proper integration and is the reason for their isolation. I'm not taking either extreme sides. I would prefer some issues would have been dealt with sooner; The right to marry, and acceptance of non Jewish immigrants who have still been allowed to immigrate.

One thing is sure, although those who prescribe to Nazism are too few to count, their actions can cause open wounds in the Israeli society to bleed hard. The likely case is that in a few weeks this situation will be forgotten and disregarded. I doubt it would be helpful for any side when young Jews of Russian origin would be called Nazis and be beaten by adolescent Jewish gangs. An item that might not be known by many is that those things did happen - although not reported. Between 1992 to 1995 there have been several such clashes.

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