37. Israel's melting pot

In his column in the New York Post of May 30, Eric Breindel makes the very important point that Israel, whatever else it might be, is not racist.

I spent a month in Israel last year in which I worked at an army camp under the Volunteers for Israel program. I saw for myself that the army is completely integrated, with black soldiers performing all sorts of duties. I watched a parade and awards ceremony in which trophies were handed out to soldiers who performed their duties well. I noticed that the black soldiers received quite a few of those trophies.

I sat beside a young Ethiopian in the mess hall and tried to converse. I speak no Hebrew and he spoke only a little English. But he made it clear that he was happy to be out of Ethiopia and in Israel, despite the fact that he was drafted into the army for three years.

But one does not have to go to an Israeli army camp to see equality. The same insight can be gained by sitting on a bench by the beach promenade in Tel Aviv, and watch the people go by. We saw white people, black people, dark-skinned people and Oriental people strolling by. I have no idea who were citizens and who were tourists but, racially speaking, everybody was there.

Izzy Siev, Queens

June 12, 1991

For a reply see [38]