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January 18, 1985 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-01-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

36

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, January 18, 1985

Imal.111111111MI ■

your advertising dollars do better i

THE JEWISH NEWS

Culture shock in Israel

Call Us Today! 354-6060

Dana L. Cohen

BY HUGH ORGEL

"Where Flt Is Foremost"

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Tel Aviv (JTA) — "Is this really
Jerusalem, really Zion?" This
question is asked over and over
again by Jews from Ethiopia as
they alight from the planes which
have clandestinely brought them
to freedom.
When the newcomers are told
that they are indeed in the Jewish
state, most kneel down and kiss
the soil.
They arrive in Israel without
any luggage and dressed more
often than not only in a thin white
cotton shirt — the "shammas" —
and are usually barefoot. (A few
wear tattered sandals.) After a
quick medical examination at the
airport, the new arrivals are
taken to a special reception center
- in Ashkelon where they undergo a
more thorough medical examina-
tion and are given elementary
supplies, including new clothing.
For virtually all of them, this is
a spellbinding introduction to a
new culture — almost a new
world. They have never experi-
enced electricity or electrical
appliances. When they are pro-
vided with a refrigerator, some
use it to store their new clothes,
not knowing its proper purpose.
The newcomers are also amazed
by the tall buildings in which they
will now reside. They have never
lived in houses of more than one
story.
But the Israeli officials from the
Ministry of Absorption and the
Jewish Agency claim the new-
comers, who have been arriving
quietly and secretly for several
months, are quick learners.
"They are very well disciplined,
are quick learners, and adapt
speedily to new surroundings and
new circumstances," officials
said.
A special program has been de-
veloped to help the Ethiopian
Jews cope with their new
environment. For the first two
months after their" arrival they
receive medical treatment, rest
from their travels, are aided in
their search for relatives from
whom they had been separated in
the past who arrived here earlier,
and with the help of a team of
translator guides they begin to
acquire some idea of life in Israel.
After these two months, the
immigrants begin to learn the
Hebrew language and other
basics about Judaism. They are
taught arithmetic so that they can
shop. They are also taught how to
run a home, maintain hygienic
conditions and how to use house-
hold appliances.
Most of the immigrants who ar-
rived prior to 1984 did not know
how to read or write and were not
accustomed to basic ideas and
practices which are taken for
granted in Israeli society. The
route from the repressive society
in which they lived before to the
freedom they now enjoy cannot be
traversed overnight. It is an often
difficult and painstaking evolu-
tion. But Israeli officials and or-
dinary citizens take great care
and patience in helping the new
immigrants to assimilate the new
culture and integrate into Israeli
life.
There is, however, some criticism
of how the newcomers are divided
up among the various absorption

centers to which they are sent.
Members of the Gush Emunim
and the settlers in Kiryat Arba,
the Jewish suburb of Hebron,
have been eager to accept the new
immigrants — for political rea-
sons. The Jews from Ethiopia are
religiously-oriented and would fit
in well with the Orthodox milieu
of the Gush settlements. They
would also help expand the num-
bers of settlers in the adminis-
tered areas.
But villages and settlements in
northern Israel complain that the
Ethiopian newcomers have been
brought to their towns "like
thieves in the night — without
warning and without prepara-
tion. We wake up in the morning
and find that several families
have been settled in a new hous-
ing block which does not yet even
have a water or sewage system."
Residents in these areas ask:
"What are we expected to do with
them? We already have unem-
ployment among the veteran
residents — and the new immig-
rants have no knowledge of
machinery and have no special
skills. More thought should have
been given to their absorption."
Meanwhile, the new immig-
rants seem oblivious to all this.
They are busy settling down and
beginning a new life.

Tel Aviv court
releases two

Tel Aviv (JTA) — Two senior
officials of the Tel Aviv munici-
pality accused of accepting gifts
and lavish entertainment from
potential suppliers of sanitation
equipment to the city, were re-
leased by a Tel Aviv magistrate
on 500,000 shekels (about $750)
bail.
But the two men are neverthe-
less free to travel abroad. The •
judge rejected police requests to
prevent- the departure of Arye
Kremer for Australia where he
will head the Israel Youth Foot-
ball team in the pre-World Cup
games, and the departure of
Yehiel Partzelina for Europe on a
business trip.
Kremer heads the municipali-
ty's personnel department and
Partzelina is manager of the sani-
tation department. According to
the chargeS filed against them,
both went to the U.S. in 1979, ac-
companied by their wives to study
waste disposal methods. The trip
was financed by the city which
specifically forbids importers of
sanitation equipment from de-
fraying the expenses of municipal
officials.
According to the police fraud
squad, Kremer and Partzelina
were met in the U.S. by the repre-
sentatives of three Israeli impor-
ters of sanitation equipment who
treated them to flights around the
country, sightseeing tours, hotel
accommodations and entertain-
ment involving the expenditure of
large sums.
Kremer called the charges
"nonsense." Both of the accused
said -their -wives --paid -their-own-
way and no part of their trip was
financed by the 'importers.

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