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September 15, 1989 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-15

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

FOCUS I

THANK YOU for sharing your ROYAL VIKING
MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE with us.
Allan and Loretta Kalt

Scotland Prompts
Familiar Perceptions

NECHEMIA MEYERS

Special to The Jewish News

e Israelis tend to
vacation overseas, if
we can afford it,
because we find it difficult to
truly relax in our tension-
beset homeland.
If we remain within its
borders, we feel duty-bound to
listen to the hourly Kol Israel
news broadcasts lest we fail to
hear about a recent "inci-
dent," and in the evening,
even at a resort on the shores
of the Mediterranean or in
the hills of the Galilee, we
will almost certainly discuss
"the situation" when we sit
down to dinner.
That is the main reason
reason that my wife and I
have just spent our vacation
in the lush Scottish coun-
tryside, where we could forget
about inflation and the
intifada.
Nevertheless, we gradually
discovered a number of
similarities between Israel
and Scotland. For example,
the Scottish, like the Israelis,
feel close links to their
Diaspora, in which there are
far more Scots and descen-
dants of Scots than in
Scotland itself.
We met hundreds of these
"Diaspora Scots" — from the
U.S., Canada, Australia, New
Zealand and England — at a
- worldwide gathering of the
Clan Cameron in the Scottish
Highlands, near Fort
William. Most of the men pre-
sent brought with them, or
purchased for the occasion,
Cameron kilts, and also had
ceremonial daggers stuck in-
to their long woolen
stockings.
Like a bunch of delegates to
a Zionist Congress, they rose,
one after the other, to pledge
their support to the home-
land, though their accents
betrayed the fact that it was
a homeland in which they
had never lived. The head of
the U.S. Camerons, for in-
stance, spoke with the
southern drawl of his native
North Carolina rather than
with the lilting tones of the
Highlands.
The "export" of Scots, in-
cidentally, has not ended and
we heard a great deal about
yerida when we were in
Scotland. This has much to do
with the fact that, like Israel,
it is a land that produces a
disproportionate number of
skilled men and women who
find it hard to obtain suitable
employment or earn a decent
salary at home. As a result,

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64

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1989

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Scotland suffered a net
population loss of 24,700 peo-
ple in 1988, nearly 50 percent
more than in 1987. The pro-
blem is worse yet in regard to
university graduates: last
year 33 percent of them pick-
ed up their degrees and took
jobs outside Scotland.
In an attempt to combat
yerida, efforts are being made
to develop science-based in-
dustry, but, apparently, not
quickly enough.
Security problems, albeit
less pressing than in Israel,
also exist in Scotland. When,
for instance, we attended the
world-famous military tatoo,
held in conjunction with the
Edinburg Festival, my wife
and I had our bags
thoroughly searched at the
entrance by a mustachioed
military policeman. Then,
when we and the others were
seated, the master of
ceremonies announced that
because of the present unfor-
tunate conditions (meaning
IRA terrorism) "people depar-
ting early should not leave
anything behind and spec-
tators who notice suspicious
behavior should immediately
report it to the ushers."
While they love their kilts
and bagpipes, most Scots,
from a linguistic viewpoint,
have become completely
Anglicized. There is a vocal
minority, however, which
dreams of a Gaelic revival,
and they were quick to tell us
how much they admired our
successful revival of Hebrew.
Indeed, when we met a
pastor who had just officiated
at a Gaelic church service on
the bilingual Isle of Skye, he
proudly announced that he
had learned Hebrew at Edin-
burgh University, though now
he remembers little more
than "boker tov."
Whatever their cultural
orientation, Scots are ex-
tremely friendly and their
tourist facilities are excellent.
Indeed, Israel, also dependent
on income from tourism,
would be wise to emulate
their inexpensive bed-and-
breakfast establishments and
their clean public toilets.
We were sorry when our
vacation ended and even sor-
rier to find ourselves, the mo-
ment we got off an El Al 747
at Ben-Gurion Airport, in the
midst of "the situation" that
we had left behind three
weeks earlier. For our son-in-
law, who came to meet us, was
once again in uniform, having
been called up for reserve du-
ty — the third time in the last
year. ❑

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