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Avraham Burg, Tish'a B'Av & Dual Citizenship

Rabbi Ari ShvatAv 8, 5777
92
Question
Over the weekend I read Avraham Burg’s book "The Holocaust is Over We Must Rise From the Ashes" . I think it was published in Israel as " Victory Over Hitler". First this man is extremely misguided but here are a few takeaways from the book. 1) He says that Tisha B’Av is largely unknown in Israel. How can that be? If the historical understanding of Judaism regards the building of the Third Temple, then how can Jews living on the land be ignorant of this commemoration? 2) Is this word "Holocaust" used in Israel when discussing the Shoah? Or is it a word used mainly when talking to non-Jews about the genocide in Europe? 3) After finishing Mr. Burg’s book I discovered that he obtained French citizenship for himself, and also encouraged other Israeli’s to get a second passport. This Dual Citizenship issue on the part of Israelis suggests a lack of confidence in Israel as a State. Are the majority of Israeli’s Dual Citizens?? If the Israeli government ended Dual Citizenship would many Israelis simply defect to Europe, North America, or Australia?? 4) Also, are these Palestinian refugees in the Middle East essentially stateless with no citizenship anywhere? Or do they have citizenship in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. etc?
Answer
1. One of the disadvantages of our generation is that it enables “fake-news” and presents perspectives as fact. Avraham Burg is very clearly a post-Zionist, and this unfortunately taints his writing accordingly. I can just point out a fact, that Tish’a B’Av, like Yom Kippur and Holocaust Memorial and Veteran’s (and Terrorism) Memorial Day, is a day where all of the restaurants, movie-houses and amusement parks are closed, and a recent poll this year showed that this doesn’t bother almost any Israelis. It commemorates not only a religious tragedy but a national and historic one as well, for by us, the 2 overlap. Non-religious in Israel are relatively traditional, and as opposed to America, most have basic Jewish awareness (and even if not from beforehand, in the army they mix with the religious and learn). 2. Holocaust, as an English word which has a common Hebrew parallel, is not used by Israelis. 3. Thank God, Avrum Burg is in the minority (fact: less than 16% of Israelis vote for his Labor Party and see Israel in the “defeatist” way that he does) and most Israeli’s don’t have dual citizenship. Most Israelis or their parents ran away from Germany, Russia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, etc. and after witnessing those exiles, are not at all interested in returning there. There are Israelis, like everywhere in the world, that would also like American citizenship, and unfortunately, some secular grandchildren of survivors even have returned to Germany to improve their standard of living, but recent polls show that in general, Israelis are satisfied people, and the Holocaust Memorial Day which is a very heavy day for the nation, is an annual reminder that the alternative to the Jewish State, in the long run, isn’t very appealing! 130 years of Zionism, including ten wars (depending how you count them), and hundreds of terrorist attacks in Israel have had less casualties than 1 week in Auschwitz! 4. Just as Israel absorbed all of the aforementioned Jewish refugees who were chased out (!) of their countries in the 40’s and early 50’s, there is no reason in the world why the Arab countries (aside from Jordan and to a certain extent Lebanon) prefer to perpetuate the refugee status of their brothers’ who chose (!) to leave Israel in ‘48. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that in the non-democratic Arab countries, the citizens’ aren’t too well off, either!
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