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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Germany: Home, Sweet Home

Recently, there were a number of articles discussing the dramatic increase in the number of Israelis applying for German citizenship.

Sharp rise in Israelis seeking German citizenship
- Yediot Achronot

'Sweet revenge,' say new Germans - Ha'aretz - (One of the most depressing articles I have read in quite some time.)

Below are some selected quotes from the articles:

* "The grandparents did not want to be German for obvious reasons. They taught their children that being German was a bad thing. But this is the first generation which thinks differently," said Katy Elmaliah, whose law firm in Tel Aviv helps young Israelis get German passports.


* "For my mother and my father the memories of the past are too hard. They would never want to be German but for me it is important that I can have a European passport," he said. "I have no problem being German."


* Holding her brand-new German passport, Avital Direktor, 29, of Azor, just had to laugh. "What a crazy world," she thought to herself. "Germany's soil is drenched with my family's blood, and in spite of it all, I got German citizenship. I see it as taking revenge on Hitler. Sweet revenge..."

"Now, I will be able to pass it on to my children," she added.

Avital said she is not surprised by the sharp rise in demand for German citizenship among Israelis. "Look at what's going on here. Ours is a land that devours its inhabitants. The obtuseness to the needy, the corruption. People are dying to get out of here..."

Avital hopes to study to be a sound technician in Germany. "Here, it's expensive like you wouldn't believe, but there, I'll get it practically free of charge. I had intended to study it in Israel, but I just can't afford it financially," she explained.

According to Avital, most of her friends supported her decision to apply for German citizenship. "They said they wished they could get a German passport, too, and asked me what I was still doing here in Israel."

All of the above makes the following story almost seem logical:

Berlin Jewish Center builds replica of Western Wall

”This is a symbolic part of making Berlin a central hub of Jewish life again,” the center’s executive director, Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
In light of the above, consider these verses from the book of Judges (2:10-11):
And in time, death overtook all that generation; and another generation came after them, having no knowledge of the Lord or of the things which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord...
Some things never change.

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  • At 1:16 PM , Blogger amechad said...

    I don't mean to defend yeridah, but it doesn't matter if it's yeridah to Berlin or New York. And I don't like the replica Wall b/c it reminds me too much of "Berlin is the New Jerusalem" of the 19th century (which bothers me no more than the notion of many frum Jews that New York is the New Jerusalem).

    But I was just in Germany last week, it's a wonderful country that is dealing with its past. The German government's relationship with Israel is the best in Europe and they are Israel's top defenders in the EU. They are certainly doing a better job (and this includes many of their young) of dealing w/ their past than Poland or even the US (Evian Conference anyone?).

    Of course I think Israel is home (hence I moved here, neighbor) but it's unfair to treat Germany worse in 2007 than any other Diaspora community.

    And that flag is offensive and insulting. Last I checked the Nazis lost power over 60 years ago. In fact, the Nazi flag is illegal to own or display in Germany and one can find more swastikas even in Israel than Germany. CHANGE IT TO THE FLAG OF THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT TODAY.

  • At 1:31 PM , Blogger Ze'ev said...

    Amechad, thanks for the comment, i will try to adress your points one by one.
    1) I agree with you. All yerida is bad. But... while the US may not have a sparkling record towards its actions / inactions to save the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust, they did not murder the 6 million Jews. Could they have prevented it - to a degree, certainly, but there is a difference between the US and germany - and I find it hard to believe that any Jew who is conscious of their Jewishness - as opposed to their Israeliness - to run to live in Germany.

    2) I am sure that Germany is a wonderful place. However, every few months articles appear in the news about how neo-nazism is once again on the rise in Germany, or how German youth are tired of having the guilt of the Holocaust shoved down their throats.

    I do not believe that Germany is a friend of Israel. I believe that they have guilt which they believe they can repay through reparations and providing us with some gas masks and political support.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    3) I agree with you that the Nazi flag is offensive. But how many people would recognize the present flag of Germany.

    If my posting of the flag got you worked up enough to read the post and write this comment, then it was worth posting it.

  • At 6:37 PM , Blogger Yishai said...

    On a similar topic, I got this email recently:

    Malkah and Yishai,

    I'm sitting here listening to your 4th of Av broadcast with the guy who calls in and says he buys german products when they are the best. I have been avoiding german products my whole life. I caved in one time.

    We needed a new hand mixer. I went to our local heimish owned appliance store in Monsey and looked at what they had available. There was this beautiful Braun mixer. It was the most expensive but came with additional attachments that would have been very convenient for me. I went against my policy of not buying german and bought it. By the second or third time I used it it developed a short and would only work if you played with the power chord. I took this as a sign from Hashem (after all, Braun is known for their reliability). Although I knew that it would be easy to fix, or that I could probably go back to the store and exchange it for new one, I decided to take my punishment. I threw it out, bought a Black and Decker (btw it's terrific) and reaffirmed my commitment to not buy german.

    When Chrysler was bought out by Daimler I stopped buying Chrysler products (I had bought 2 previous Chryslers and was a satisfied customer). When I looked into my family geneology I found out that the Jews from the Rzeszow area of Poland, where my maternal grandfather came from, who did not go directly to Belzec concentration camp were used as slave laborers at a Daimler factory nearby.

    I know that Israel deals with Germany all the time. As individuals, we don't have to.

    Ben Tzion
    Monsey, galut

  • At 2:19 AM , Anonymous shimshinhagiber said...

    I have spent my life putting the blame of the Holocaust on everybody else but us, however, after reading seems we need not look any further then....the mirror.....G-D help us!

  • At 6:32 AM , Blogger Brad said...

    Sorry for my ignorance, but since when is a growing Jewish community a bad thing? As an American Jew living outside New York City, maybe I see things different from Israeli Jews...
    To Yishai's post, I don't buy German products either, and my parents would never consider buying a German car.
    But having traveled to Germany last year (school band trip) I can't honestly say the the growing Jewish community there is a bad thing.
    Yes, there are anti-Semitic incidents there. But there are also anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., the U.K., France, and many other Jewish communities.
    Germans are very self-aware about their past. We were told that only until World Cup 2006 did many Germans display any signs of outward nationalism, for obvious reasons. Most Germans we spoke to considered themselves European and not German. In the three main cities we visited, there were signs of remorse and rebuilding: Munich, a new synagogue and Jewish center, Frankfurt, a Jewish museum (if I remember correctly), and in Berlin, the restoration of the Neue Synagogue and the Holocaust Memorial there (which a huge square block in the middle of the city with concrete slabs of varying heights--I didn't like it very much but it was immense).
    Compare that to Poland, Ukraine, or other country's recognitions of what happened. Yes, the Germans were the main perpetrators, but compared to America's recognition of the slaughter of Native Americans, or Turkey's recognition of the Armenian genocide, they have taken it upon themselves to do as best they can.
    While I understand from many Israeli's points of view this a disturbing trend, to say the Holocaust is happening over again I think is quite unfair. I think if anything the return is very symbolic, and should be heralded by Jews all over the world--the ultimate triumph, in a way.


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