I only found out earlier today that 20 children with cancer were refused entry to a swimming pool for a day of fun when the managers of the pool realised that the children were Bedouin.
I’m going to say that again because the fact that it happened is so utterly disgusting and unbelievable that you are going to have to hear it twice and probably more in order to believe it.
20 children with cancer were refused entry to a swimming pool for a day of fun when the managers of the pool realised that the children were Bedouin!
This came so soon in the wake of the Superland scandal, where an amusement park in Rishon Letzion had segregated Arabs and Jews into separate days that it was doubly hard to accept and yet I wasn’t outraged, not in the same way as I was when the state itself sanctioned Apartheid style buses for Palestinians or when it insisted that Arabs and Jews walk in separate paths. When I heard about those instances I was outraged.
The truth is that when I heard that these poor kids were denied their fun day because of racism I simply shook my head. Gone was the rage and gone was the surprise, it keeps happening, however this time I also discovered something to be proud of.
People found out about these instances of racism because they were told about them by the national news. Once the public were told they were horrified and that bastion of Israeli liberal values, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, quickly stepped in to offer the children the use of their pool for their day of fun.
Quite frankly it’s the very least they deserve.
Now the bigots are named and shamed throughout the country, the wrong was righted. Unfortunately racism is a problem in every society in every country on the planet. It’s a problem inherent in human beings and yes it’s a problem here in Israel too. But this time the racists lost, this time those who allowed their bigotry to overpower their humanity have been shown up for who they really are.
Whereas some will take this as another reason to attack Israel I actually view it differently. Such a blatantly revolting act was considered so awful as to warrant national attention, Ben Gurion University stepped in and the racists have been exposed.
There may be a long road ahead but the shock that I felt when I heard about the story was eased by the knowledge that such behavior is clearly unacceptable that the whole country stood up and made it clear that it was beyond the pale. At least here we can say that we shed light on the racism in our society and were reviled by it.