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Apartheid: Israel’s dismal failure

The Jewish state is simply not living down to its reputation

It is completely unlike me to post something anti-Israel but when it comes to Israel Apartheid Week I have to speak up. I am so proud of my little country for so many reasons but apartheid isn’t one of them – despite all the credit that people around the world give us for being an apartheid state, I have to admit, that when it comes to apartheid, we are really bad at it.

I was thinking about this on vacation with my family in Eilat just after Hanuka vacation. We took the kids and went to spend a week in a popular family resort. I would guess that the majority of the guests in this hotel were Arab. Sure there were some other Jewish families that had forgotten to take their vacation during Hanukah itself when the kids were actually supposed to be out of school, but most of them were Arabs – Christians and Moslems. So here we are, in this Israeli resort, on an Israeli kibbutz, and we’re waiting in line at the buffett with Arabs, swimming in the pool with Arabs, watching the same entertainment at night, heck, we even shared a jeep with an Arab couple on our desert jeep tour. Now none of this bothered me at all but I did think to myself that this did not resemble Apartheid as I understand the word. It didn’t even resemble the American South of the early 1900s.

After our vacation, I literally went straight back to work — I dropped off the rest of my family at home and went to Hadassah hospital for an evening shift and there it was even worse. There I was, as I am almost every day, in a Zionist Jewish hospital in the Jewish Apartheid state of Israel, taking care of Arabs, yes, Moslems and Christians, side by side with the Jewish patients. And some of these Arabs aren’t even Israeli citizens! And what’s worse is they smile at me and thank me and even give me chocolate. What is this, like Stockholm syndrome?! Excuse me, I’m oppressing you, don’t you know.

But it gets worse, because my fellow nurses are Arabs also and some of them I have to take orders from. And one of them is a young student studying in the same Zionist nursing school that I studied in – and we actually hug a lot, since I know what she is going through – and the fact that her head is covered in her way and mine in my way doesn’t make a bit of difference to anyone. The nurses I work with are Muslims and Christians. Some of them live in the dorms with Jewish nurses as well and some of them rent apartments in the same Jerusalem neighborhood as my very Jewish brother in law and his family! Tell me, how any self-respecting apartheid country can let this happen?!

And then we have the doctors – in my department we have both pediatricians and gynecologists. And in both fields we have both Arab and Jewish doctors. Again, Moslems, Christians, Jews, all working together, and working with us, and you know, even smiling and laughing and getting along. It’s pathetic. I mean here we are “the start up nation” forerunners in technology, medical research, agriculture. Turning out world class artists and poets and musicians and all kinds of great people and we cannot get a simple thing such as apartheid right?! We don’t even come close. We can’t even compete with all the other states in our neighborhood who despite lacking in other accomplishments, certainly excel in oppressing their minorities. But still the rest of the world insists on calling us an Apartheid state, so what can we do but hang our heads in shame, for when it comes to doing apartheid, we fail miserably.

About the Author
Nancy Chayn Fogelman made aliya from the U.S. in 1989 after earning a BA from the University of Michigan. Several years later, she became a board certified lactation consultant and began a private practice and writing about birth and breastfeeding for several websites. Recently she earned her RN and began working in the Maternity Ward of Hadassah Ein Kerem.