I am so disappointed in Bill Clinton. He made a very unpopular political statement today about Israel's Russian Jewish immigrants at his annual Clinton Global Initiative conference. He said, disparagingly, that the children of Russians and settlers are the hardest-core people against a division of the land. He's obviously referring to the division of Jerusalem and even the giving up of Judea and Samaria.
This shows to me that he has no understanding at all of the reasoning behind Israel's creation. He hasn't been following or caring about what has happened to the Jews of Russia and what they had to go through to get to Israel; that they could not practice their religion, that they had been discriminated-in other words, they had gone through hell. Little does he realize that a big majority of Jewish immigrants to Israel most likely had ancestors from Russia, like myself.
He's complaining about the settlers in Judea and Samaria wanting to hold onto the land. Sir, that's because they usually are students of Israel's history and practice their religion. They know how dear these places are and have made their homes there under the blessing of Israel's government. I had the opportunity to do the same while living in Israel from 1980-1985, but chose Safed instead. Several of our young friends from the Ulpan, coming from Cleveland, chose to go there. There are many American Jews living there.
This land means far more to us than it does to the Arabs. We've been pining for it for over 2,000 years. The Arabs just became conscious of it since 1965, and it holds no religious or national value to them. They want it because it fits their political goals; to cut off another piece of our land. Their main intention is to take it all.
Clinton even complained that 16% of Israelis speak Russian! Nu? It's a country of immigrants from all the lands on earth! They're learning Hebrew and will learn it faster than many in America learn English. That's because they will attend ulpans just for that purpose. As a matter of fact, Russians speak a lot of languages. I think that's what they study mostly in Russia; languages. I was in an ulpan for 10 months with Russian teachers and English speakers studying Hebrew. The Russians knew just how to study and were picking it up quickly. We Americans were lost as most of us never had to study another language.
Netanyahu regretted hearing this comment by telling him tersely that as a friend of Israel, surely he knows that immigrants from the former Soviet Union have contributed and continue to contribute greatly to the progress, development and strength of the Israel Defense forces and to the state of Israel. "Only a strong Israel can bring about a secure and stable peace," he continued.
Clinton is only interested in Israel's Jewish population as a matter of politics in getting the peace agreement, which I admit, is a big thing. I think he's only interested in it now to gain the accolades he would receive via his wife, Hillary, if she could pull this off. It's like getting something great to put on your resume.
He thinks that the peace-minded Israelis are the native-born Israelis who have lived in Israel for centuries. "They can imagine sharing a future" for they can see events in historical context, he added.
This I can't understand at all. I can truthfully say that all Israelis understand the historical context and their history. They're living in it. There's very few people who simply land in Israel and start working without a very good reason for being there. The practice is that all new immigrants live in a 3 month Ulpan and receive Hebrew and history lessons. Being a teacher, I was there for a 10 month period and received a ton of history lessons as well as everything necessary to receive an Israeli teaching certificate just like all the native born teachers.
Israel is there to take in all Jews who need a safe haven. This is the return, written about in our bible. We have suffered persecution and death for 2,000 years, culminating in the Holocaust. "Never again" is our motto. We've been praying for this time ever since 70 A.D. Gee, isn't it just too bad that none of us are ready to happily give up another part of our teeny country in the name of peace, which we want more than anyone in the world, but to people who keep taking our offerings and never give us peace! I'd like to know what Clinton thinks about them. What is keeping them from recognizing Israel if they want peace so badly. Why in the world does he think that we could give up land without a return in kind-recognition meaning there will be peace. How can you have peace with people who want you dead? How can you have peace with people who write such things in their charter and do not change it first?
Though we all came from different countries, we all learned Hebrew. That's the language of the land. You will also find that Arabs living in Israel learn Hebrew. Signs are all written in three languages; Hebrew, Arabic and English. We all came with a desire to help Israel's continuance. We all love the land and what it does for us. This is our inheritance. We know our history.
So now we know more about Bill's character. This is the man I had voted for. I defended this man when he had his problems. I had great respect for this man up until now. It hurts to be so disappointed. It also hurts more to think of what we might lose again without gaining a true peace.