Friday, April 14, 2006

Real ZIONISM: From Khartoum to the Kibbutz.

Zionism to make us proud: Kibbutz shelters Darfur refugees
Postad at Posted at ZioNation Web log

A feature story in this week's Ha'aretz newspaper, From Khartoum to the Kibbutz could serve as a reminder of what Zionism is really all about. Two refugees from Arab persecution in Darfur, in Sudan. found their way to Israel through Egypt, and ultimately were rescued and given a home by Kibbutz Tze'elim. This good deed can be added to those of the Kibbutzniks who are helping Palestinians harvest their crops and repairing the damage done to olive trees by settlers, and to that may be added the role of the Kibbutz movement in organizing rescue efforts for earthquake victims in Turkey and genocide victims in Kossovo. What were these two youths fleeing?
M., who is 16, managed to escape when his village was attacked almost three years ago by Arab militias. Like many others, he wandered from village to village and town to town until he reached the capital, Khartoum. There he was told by a group of survivors that his parents, sister and two brothers had not been so lucky; they had all been killed....The story of A., who is 17, is very similar to that of his friend. He fled for his life, along with his family, when his home village of Kurma was attacked in 2003. His first stop was at a refugee camp in a nearby village, Nalma, where they arrived one night after a massacre in that village. "Everyone was dead there," he says. "There were men, women and children and we saw all the bodies. There were many bodies. I saw my father was in shock. He was never the same after that." A few days later, the camp where they were staying was attacked. In the flight from the camp at night, A. lost touch with his parents, brothers and sisters, and to this day has no idea whether they survived or what happened to them.
Why did the Kibbutz people rescuse them?
Why do they do it? "Because we can't just stand on the sidelines," says Yankele. "As Jews, as people who were themselves refugees that no one wanted, we have a special obligation not to look the other way but to take care of those who have fled from the valley of death." He believes the state should care more for refugees in its midst and absorb them like it absorbed the Vietnamese boat refugees in the 1980s.
Next time someone tells you, "Zionism is racism," remember these two refugee boys, remember what they fled from, and remember who gave them a home. Israelis as a whole may rush to take credit for these acts of humanity. In fact however, they are mostly due to the decency and involvement of the Kibbutz movement and its members. Once the cornerstone of Israeli society and Zionist pioneering efforts, the Kibbutz was long eclipsed by the settler movement, which claimed to be the vanguard of pioneering Zionism. Changing government policies and economic realities moved agriculture and the "conquest of labor" off the Israeli national agenda and out of the forefront of Zionism. The kibbutz idea however has not died. It has undergone, and is undergoing, a transformation. From time to time, we hope increasingly so, the "moribund" kibbutz movement surprises everyone pleasantly with its vitality, commitment to humanitarian ideals and its ability to project a positive image of Zionism, and remind us all what Zionism is supposed to be about. Ami Isseroff
Copyright 2006 by Ami Isseroff and ZioNation Posed at where you may read the Ha'aretz article and comment on the Web. Please forward with this notice. Other uses by permission only =========================================================================ZNN - Zionism News Network - is for distribution of information about Zionism, Israel, Israeli and Zionist history, Israel advocacy and anti-Semitism and telling people about your Web site or activist issues. Please do circulate posts from this list by email with all list information and URLs to publicize ZNN and Zionist Web sites. Your submissions are most welcome and will be posted in accordance with list guidelines. To join send an email to Contents are the responsibility of the posters.We invite you to discuss issues at these Web forums:
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