Uri Avnery on the Israel that many of us recognise but mainstream Zionism denies:
The King of Racists is the Minister of the Interior [leader of the Shas party, Eli Yishai]. He is more dangerous than his colleagues because he has absolute power over the civil status of every person in Israel, immigration and emigration, the Register of Residents and the expulsion of foreigners. In this position he is now doing to foreigners what others have done to Jews in many countries. He is untiring in his efforts to guard the real Israel – not the “Jewish and democratic state” as it is officially defined, but rather the “Jewish and demographic state”. For this purpose he has recently created a special para-police force for the detection and deportation of illegal foreigners.
It is difficult to decide whether Yishai is an extreme fanatic or a complete cynic, or some strange combination. As matter of fact, when Shas was still a moderate party, in those distant days when its guru, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, ruled that it is permissible to give back the occupied territories, and its former leader, Aryeh Deri, was the darling of the left, Yishai, too, declared “Yes to Oslo, Yes to the evacuation of Jews from Hebron, Yes to Arafat!” But since then much dirty water has flowed down our polluted rivers, Shas has turned into a radical right-wing party and Yishai is now the most extreme rightist in the government.
His unshakable devotion to the purity of the race arouses admiration. Hardly a day passes without some shocking news about his activites. He fights like a tiger for the expulsion of 1500 children of foreign workers who were born in Israel, who speak Hebrew and attend Israeli schools, who have no other homeland. Yishai is ready to lay down his life for their deportation.
The Interior Ministry prevents the entry of American and European citizens who bear Arab names. Officials of the UN and the EU in charge of projects for the Palestinians are normally unable to enter from Jordan (or anywhere else outside Israel), and if they somehow do obtain permission – they are then forbidden to cross the Green Line into Israel. Foreign women married to Israelis are expelled without mercy. There is no end to the examples.
In the eyes of Yishai, every son of a Thai is an enemy of the Jewish state, every daughter of a Colombian worker is a threat to the purity of the Jewish people. He has declared that the foreign workers are an “infection”, and warned that Tel Aviv is “becoming Africa”. He has disclosed that the foreigners carry frightening diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis and such. (And in this respect they resemble gays and lesbians, who, according to Yishai, are “sick people”.
Such a person would not remain a minister in the cabinet of the US or most European countries. In the homeland of the Nuremberg laws he would not even come close to a government position.
Recently, during the operation “Cast Lead”, Yishai demanded that we “bomb thousands of houses, to destroy Gaza” – which does not hinder him from denouncing Judge Richard Goldstone as an abominable anti-Semite. He himself, by the way, never risked his skin as a combat soldier – this national hero served as an NCO for religious services in a transport unit.