- Zionist Aims in Israel
- Socialism, Histradut and Kibbutzim
- Poverty and Housing
- Social Unrest
Zionist Aims in Israel
The present aims of the Israeli Zionists are to:
- retain the occupied lands
- force the Arab population off them
- expand Israel’s territory through new annexations
- attract new settlers of Jewish nationality from the diaspora.
These aims are to be attained in parallel with continued subversive activity against states independent of the USA and the vast western capitalist cartel of nations—particularly socialist countries, and national liberation movements.
In persuading Jews all over the world to emigrate to Israel, Zionist “recruiting agents” spare nothing in describing the glories of the “earthly paradise”. Their favorite theme in denouncing life in the diaspora is the presence of antisemitism there, lack of rights for Jews and discrimination against them. Zionist “recruiters” assure their listeners that a cordial welcome, extensive material assistance, comfortable flats, jobs in one’s speciality, national unity, and the considerate and friendly attitude of the authorities await them in Israel. Many simple hearted credulous people fall victim to this propaganda. People from a hundred countries, speaking dozens of languages have emigrated to Israel. What did they find there?
The state which the Zionists have established in the Holy Land is far from the paradise for Jews they promised. Public life is marked by undisguised racialism, political reaction, militarism, and militant clericalism. The government is controlled by reactionary Zionist parties. Israel had no constitution. Laws issued when Palestine was under British colonial domination, and even before that under the Turks, were kept in force. Brute force is praised, and primitive behavior is widely practised.
The 6,000 or so synagogues in the country testify to the rabbinate’s influence on Israel’s social and political life. The part of Jerusalem, captured by Israel during the “six day war”, alone has over 450 of them. Family relations and daily affairs are regulated by “courts of rabbis” which administer justice on the basis of the ancient Jewish sacred scriptures and the Talmud’s interpretations of it, rather as various Islamists in the west would like to introduce the rule of the ancient Sharia law. Rulings by these courts are binding whether you are a religious Jew or a convinced atheist.
Only men have the right to seek a divorce, and only men have legal rights to an inheritance. Women have no such rights. If a woman’s husband dies she can get married again only to his brother. If her late husband’s brother does not wish to marry her, and she wishes to marry someone else, she must obtain the brother’s permission. If the brother is under age the woman must wait till he comes of age and decides her fate. Some rabbis, according to their tradition, not to say lasciviously, make women who adopt Judaism perform ablutions in a ritual pool in the presenc’e of three of them.
A recruit in the Israeli army is issued a volume of the Jewish scriptures together with his rifle. There is a chaplain and a mobile synagogue in every army unit. The chief rabbi of the army has the rank of general. According to the concept of the Zionist clerical founders of Israel the important role played by the rabbinate in the affairs of the state should smooth out class antagonisms, promote the chauvinistic upbringing of youth, and create the illusion of unity among the Jews.
The reactionary nature of Zionism cannot be hidden by its legends about “the historic mission of God’s chosen people”, religious mysticism, and the “unity and brotherhood” of the Jews. Zionists’ criminal actions and plots are becoming clear, and have aroused mistrust and criticism among Jews. Reactionary policies pursued by world Zionism have been condemned by Jewish organizations in Britain, the Netherlands, France, Uruguay, and some other countries. Even many Israelis realize that their Zionist rulers are leading them along a dangerous path, and the imagined socialism of kibbutzim was soon seen through. The more intelligent ones left Israel quickly, and Zionists have had to persuade more Jews from abroad to emigrate there.
The state is actually in the hands of big capitalists, and the dominant universal ideology in Israeli is racism.
Socialism, Histadrut and Kibbutzim
The above aims have united various Zionist parties and groups—from the fascistic Herut party to the “socialist” MAPAM and MAPAI, which, in an attempt to win the sympathies of working people, were promoted by Zionist propagandists as “Zionist socialism” in Israel, a concept believable only by the gullible. The industrial enterprises of the Association of Israeli Trade Unions, called Histadrut, have been declared “a straight road to the higher stage of socialism”, while agricultural cooperatives, kibbutzim, are claimed to be communistic institutions. Socialism and all forms of elitism are utterly incompatible, so an elitist system like Zionist Israel professing socialism is hoping to dupe idiots.
In 1921, David Ben-Gurion was elected as secretary of Histadrut, the Israeli Labour organization, the glittering diamond of Zionist “socialism”. Yet, by the 1970s, it had partial ownership of important enterprises, accounting for 20 percent of the gross industrial output, but which were not public property. They were owned by joint-stock companies in which trade unions were the partners of domestic and foreign capitalists who held the greater part of the shares. Histadrut’s share of the profits and the trade union membership dues were not used to improve the material situation of the workers or to meet their cultural requirements, but to expand production and to maintain the management staff of the trade unions. A part of the proceeds was turned over to the leadership of the Zionist parties. Since the 1980s, the role and size of Histradrut has declined.
The situation is a somewhat similar in agriculture. Over 90 percent of the cultivated land is owned by the government and the Jewish Agency which lease it at high rates both to individual farmers and to collectives. The kibbutz was the more popular type of collective, but though the members of a kibbutz worked together, they did not collectively share in the profits or own the farm buildings, the implements and associated property of the kibbutz. Working ten hours every day, the members of a kibbutz did not get any payment either in cash or in kind. What they do got was lodging, plain food and some clothes. Once in two years they are entitled to a holiday. Anyone who left the kibbutz, even those who had worked for many years, were not entitled to anything. The whole profit made by a kibbutz was appropriated by the Zionist administration which was not accountable to the members of the kibbutz.
By calling the kibbutzim and the Histadrut enterprises “socialist” the Zionists tried to disguise the true nature of their enterprises, and at the same time to cast aspersions on the class nature of society, discrediting it in the eyes of the unfortunate settlers who cursed their hard lot and Zionist “socialism”. The workforce of a kibbutz was mostly young and healthy immigrants who had no money and who were therefore compelled to hire themselves out. Poor they came and poor they went. Such is “communism”, Zionist style—more like an exploitative religious sect.
Zionists are the sworn enemies of genuine socialism, but they resort widely to posing as socialists through demagogic assertions of their socialism to try to win over Jewish workers. It is another parallel with the Nazis, the German National Socialist and Democratic Party of Hitler, which shrewdly exploited the popularity of socialist ideas in building up their initial support.
To camouflage their anti-social activity, Zionist leaders resort to dishonesty. In 1970, after talks between the government and Histadrut, which lasted for nearly a year, wages rose by a healthy 8 percent. It was a hoax. The “defence tax” was raised simultaneously from 10 to 15 percent of the average wage, and half of the 8 percent rise was to be paid in compulsory bonds for a “security loan” subscription. The increased tax and subscription deductions came to 9 percent of the wage, leaving the beneficiaries one percent worse off. So much for Zionist trade union leadership. In reply to protests, the Zionists advanced the slogan:
You cannot defend the country and raise wages at the same time.
This is equivalent to Göring’s statement: “Iron makes an empire strong. Butter only makes people fat”, or “Guns not butter”. Göring is surpassed in his rhetoric by the Zionist leadership of Israel today.
Following the 2011 Israeli social justice protests, Histadrut, in February 2012, called a general strike for badly paid subcontracted and unorganized workers. The demand was for the same pay and conditions as regular employees. A settlement gave the subcontractors some gains but at the cost of an enforced moratorium on striking over such issues for three years.
Really Israel is a state where the implements and means of production are owned by capitalists, and where the state apparatus safeguards the interest of propertied classes. It is a state based on exploitation—a typically capitalist state that can contain only token elements of socialism. Private enterprises owned by domestic or foreign capitalists account for the bulk of industrial production in Israel.
Poverty and Housing
One of Israel’s major problems, which appeared at the outset and remains unsolved, is the problem of poverty. The living standard in 2008 of 20.5 percent of Israeli families is below the “poverty level”, most of them Israeli Arab and Haredi Jewish families. That measure is families, but 25 percent of all Israel’s residents (1.5 million people) and 36 percent of its children (805,000 children) are poor. International Living Magazine in 2010 found that Israel has the 47th highest standard of living in the world. The monthly income per member of these families was about 70 Israeli pounds in the 1970s, which was barely enough to buy bread and margarine. By 2008, the average family income for Israel’s Jewish majority was US $4000 per month, while for Israel’s Arabs it was US $2,200 per month. Over half of all Arab families in Israel lived in poverty. The National Insurance Institute (NII) found that poverty in Israel has not declined, though incomes are rising. The majority of the poor are not Jewish but Arabs, and Ultra-Orthodox Jews who are isolated from other Jews.
Unemployment is a national scourge in Israel. The omission of the Arab communities with the worst unemployment keeps the figure looking better than it is, as does the omission of everyone conscripted to the EDF. While the war industry is operating at full capacity, the volume of civilian production is shrinking. Enormous outlays for military purposes swallow much of the state budget, and high taxes cut people’s spending capacity. Permanent residents have to contribute more because special con cessions are given to immigrants and returning Jews. The Israeli inflation rate averaged 32 percent from 1952 to 2012, reaching an all time high of 486 percent in November 1984.
Speaking once at a MAPAI congress, Zeev Sharef, political hawk and long term Israeli civil servant who entered the Knesset and became Minister of Housing, admitted that the government spend on social needs was only what rich Israelis spent on restaurant meals!
There is an acute housing problem in Israel, providing an excuse for Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Yet Zionists go on “recruiting” immigrants. Carrying out the orders of the big Jewish capitalists, Zionists continue to insist that the “final solution of the Jewish question” can only be achieved by settling all Jews, or at least the majority of them, in Palestine.
The recruitment of settlers was in the hands of several organizations. In 1968, a special agency, the Immigration Ministry, was established in Tel Aviv. It assumed the sole responsibility for the recruitment, transportation and accommodation of settlers. In size of allocation from the state budget the Immigration Ministry is second only to the Defence Ministry. A Zionist newspaper Elal, ignoring the grim prospects which emigration to Israel entails for most settlers, suggested that a main aim of Zionism is transfer of Jews in the diaspora to the Promised Land.
As it is everywhere, the more unemployed in the labor market, the cheaper is labor and the higher capitalists’ profits. Zionist sponsors of the plan are not particularly worried how unemployment affects working people, they worry more that over ten percent of immigrants to Israel quickly go back to the country whence they came—Tel Aviv unwillingly telling us the number of Jews who leave the Zionist “paradise”. The constant danger of a new armed conflict in the Middle East, and the hardships which people in Israel have to go through cause constant emigration.
And there is no telling how many more people, who were lured into going to their “ancient homeland”, would like to leave it now, but are unable to do so. A survey found close to 60 percent of Israelis had approached or were intending to approach a foreign embassy to ask for citizenship and a passport, and even half of Israeli youth would live somewhere else if they had the chance. The lower end of estimates of how many Jews have emigrated is the official one of 750,000—10 percent of the population—issued by the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. Netanyahu’s government places the current number of Israeli citizens living abroad in the range of 800,000 to a million, about 13 percent of the population. About 45 percent of adult Israeli expatriates have a university degree, compared with 22 percent of the Israeli population. Plainly, intelligent Israelis do not stick around in Israel. In explanation, they say:
The question is not why we left, but why it took us so long to do so.
Social Castes and Discrimination
The departure of Jewish Israelis undermines Zionist ideology. Why would Jews who are well integrated and accepted in other countries emigrate to Israel? And especially as a quarter of young Israelis in Europe marry outside their faith. Disenchantment awaits many immigrant Jews from the moment they arrive in Israel. They can see for themselves the wide gap between wealth and poverty. The greatest hardships fall to the lot of the have nots from Asia and Africa, since Israeli society is stratified not only according to social classes and people’s property status but also according to ethnic groups. The indigenous Jewish population of Palestine, which is not numerous, constitutes the top privileged stratum called sabras. Below them are Ashkenazis, settlers from Europe and the United States.
The lowest rung in this multi-step social ladder is occupied by Sephardis, settlers from Asian and African countries. Contrary to Zionist demagogic claims of “national unity and equality”, the Sephardis, who are slightingly called “black Jews”, make up the main body of the unemployed. They are given, and only last of all, the hardest and lowest paid jobs. They are allotted inferior living quarters, mostly in barracks, where one room is shared by two or three families. Although the Sephardis constitute over a half of Israel’s Jewish population, their membership in the Zionist trade unions is less than one percent. Of the 120 seats in the Knesset, 33 belong to the sabras, 70 to the Ashkenazis, and only 17 to the Sephardis. “Black Jews” constitute a mere 5 percent of the student body of Israeli universities. The rabbinate have forbidden marriages between Sephardis and members of the higher ethnic strata.
The lot of the goyim, non-Jews, in Israel is the hardest of all. Not only Arabs but also half breed Jews are regarded as goyim by the Zionist racists. In 1970, the Knesset passed a law which specified who can be considered one of “God’s chosen people”. Under this law only a person whose mother is a full blooded Jewess and who professes Judaism can be a full Israeli citizen. If one of a woman’s parents is not a Jew, her children cannot expect to be regarded as genuine Jews. By their common roots in European Nationalist ideology, Nazi biological and racial theories, which inspired the disgraceful Nuremberg Laws, have been adopted in Israel. Both the racial laws of Nazi Germany and modern Israel stem from the same imperialist ideology.
Zionist authorities practise severe discrimination against the Arab population. To go from one part of the country to another Arabs must have special permission. In many towns and villages, even the Arabs who live there permanently must report daily to the local police station. The police have the right to place any Arab under surveillance, to confiscate his property, to evict him, to arrest him and members of his family, and to detain him indefinitely. Deprived of elementary civil rights, Arabs are only given jobs which low caste Sephardis refuse to do, or when there is a temporary shortage of labor. Such jobs include digging canals, laying roads across the desert, and draining marshes. Nearly all Arab children are illiterate.
Brutal reprisals follow the slightest suspicion of cooperation or even sympathy with Palestinian freedom fighters. At Moshe Dayan’s initiative, “collective punishment” and “punishment for being near the spot” are applied to Arabs. This punishment is dealt not only to those who are suspected of helping the guerrillas or of any other form of resistance to the occupiers, but also to people who lived near the place where guerrillas have carried out an operation. Again it is similar to the reprisals taken by Nazis against the Maquis and other anti-Nazi resistance groups in WWII.
Zionist newspapers readily feature the exploits of the “green berets”, a special frontier force operating on occupied territory. A report from the newspaper Haaretz by Michael Glaser, a West German journalist, said:
The patrol ordered everyone to stand still and get ready for a check. However, some tried to escape by jumping onto the bus that was passing by. The patrol opened fire on the bus, wounding five of its passengers.
Elsewhere he writes:
Several times I myself saw patrol men beat up Palestinians with clubs as their documents were being checked. A favorite pastime of the green berets is to undress women on the pretext of establishing their identity and to question them naked for hours. This is exactly what happened recently to a group of medical nurses.
Glaser relates other instances of the inhuman treatment of Arabs by the Israeli authorities. A detained Arab woman, Adama Abdallah Shafik Taga, told her lawyer in the presence of a police inspector that right after her arrest she was put in a cell together with some Israeli prostitutes who took her clothes off and beat her up. After that, absolutely naked, she was thrown into the punishment cell, where a police officer named Duwaik knocked her down and kicked her. The unfortunate woman was pregnant and began to hemorrhage, but she was denied medical assistance.
When Muaid Usman al-Bahash, an Arab student, was allowed to see his lawyer, he had a paralyzed arm. He related the following:
They hung me up to the ceiling by the arm and pulled at my feet. They kept beating me until I blacked out. Then they chained me, beat me up with sticks, put electric currents through my body, and burnt my skin with cigarettes.
Obviously, none of the practices of Himmler’s school was left unused, but these are older examples, today, the situation for Palestinians is worse, but there are many videos of their mistreatment available on You Tube.
The world Zionist movement and the imperialist countries render considerable financial aid to Israel, but it is not large enough to cover its military spending which is growing from year to year. During 1950–66, Israel spent an average of 9 percent of its GDP on defence. Defense spending reached a high of about 24 percent of GDP in the 1980s, but have since proportionately dropped. The total defence budget in 2010 is the highest in Israel’s history, at $14 billion, around $2500 per person.
Many immigrant Jews, besides persecuted Arabs, protest against the Zionist regime in Israel. There is an anti-militarist movement in the country. Campaigns against capitalist exploitation, racialism, terrorist methods of administration, and the prevalent state of lawlessness is gaining momentum.
The implementation of the UN Security Council resolution and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied Arab territory was advocated by the Movement for Independence of the Left headed by Knesset Deputy Jacob Riflin. The Hablam Hazeh group which had two seats in the Knesset called for an immediate return of the lands captured from the Arabs and a lasting peace settlement with them. Several Israeli youth organizations were active in the struggle for peace and against the government’s militarist policy.
As the living standards of the Israeli working people deteriorate, the class struggle becomes increasingly acute, and the strike movement assumes greater scope. According to official statistics released by Tel Aviv, 90 strikes took place in the period from January to September 1969, the number of strikers was 30,000. In the same period of 1970 there were 127 strikes in Israel in which 72,000 people took part. The total number of strikers in 1970 was 120,000. In 1971 the strike movement continued gathering momentum. It was joined by workers in the paper industry, post office employees, railwaymen, electricians, dockers, doctors, the ground personnel and pilots of civil air lines, bus and taxi drivers, and workers in various industries. Secondary school teachers went on a seven-week strike; and the customs employees of the country’s second largest port, Ashdod, staged a slowdown, demanding higher wages.
The end of 1972 was marked by a new wave of strikes in which thousands of Israeli industrial workers and office employees took part. Once again the ports stood still. The striking dockers were soon joined by workers from several state owned and private companies, as well as by hospital technical personnel. According to US news reports from Tel Aviv, the telephone and telex communications were paralyzed, power systems were turned off in some areas, and the functioning of the Lod airport was disrupted when 150 technicians and administrative personnel of El Al Israel Airlines went on strike.
In early January 1973 continuing strikes compelled the government to call an emergency meeting of its committee in charge of the regulation of wages, taxes, and prices, which latter had gone up 14 percent in 1972. However, the government did not publish any statement that showed its intention of improving the situation of the working people or of meeting, at least partially, the strikers’ demands.
Worried by the growing number of strikes, Prime Minister Golda Meir called on the workers to end them, since the country could not meet their demands of higher wages. When her appeal was not heeded, the aged Premier became enraged and ordered forceful measures to put down strikes, including punishment of the strikers. Defence Minister, Moshe Dayan for his part suggested that the strikers be dealt with in a most severe manner, including imprisonment.
Poverty, unemployment, a high cost of living, slums and the inaccessibility of education for a great number of young people are constant factors in encouraging crime, drug addiction and prostitution in the Holy Land. Abraham Polak, a former Israeli army officer, explained why he had left Israel:
I was happy to get out of that hell.
Despite stringent laws providing for up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 dollars for selling narcotics, they are sold almost openly in Israel. This profitable business is growing turning thousands more young men and women into drug addicts and ruining their lives. Prostitution, which is not illegal in Israel, is rapidly increasing.
The crime rate in the country was doubling every decade in the 1970s. Burglary particularly flourished in that period, showing a growth of 200 percent. The number of armed assaults grew rapidly every year. Attorney General, Meir Shamgar, expressed concern that armed violence was increasing. Crime in Tel Aviv assumed such proportions that in October 1972 special detachments of troops which had been used to put down Arab revolts in the Gaza strip area were rushed to Tel Aviv to help the police. Juvenile delinquency in Israel was also growing. About 20,000 youth from the ages of 14 to 17 neither studied nor work, many of them have connexions with the underworld.
Such are some of the consequences of militarization in the country, and Israel’s policy of violence and aggression towards neighboring Arab states. Such is the bitter fruit of the terror practised in occupied Arab territories, the barbarous raids on peaceful towns and villages in Syria and the Lebanon, and the cult of violence, the abandonment of all restraint which is being advocated by the Israeli military.
- I Abuelaish, I Shall Not Hate, 2011
- R Brodsky, The Truth about Zionism, 1974
- S Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, 2009