Friday, March 17, 2006

A Nation like all the others...

In the "anything you can do, I can do better category"...

Ha'aretz: Old Israelis can be racist bastards, too.

"They have got accustomed to a president of Eastern ethnic groups, and even a defense minister and a chief of staff," says Ben Yisrael, "but a prime minister is a bit too much for them. Why is that Peretz in such a hurry, they are saying. Let him be a government minister first, and then we'll see. They don't want to hear that the chairman of the Histadrut labor federation is carrying an infinitely heavier burden than the minister of industry and trade and even the mayor of Jerusalem. It doesn't interest them that David Ben-Gurion also started his career in the Histadrut.

"I'm hearing strange and varied arguments," sighs Ben Yisrael. "They say to me, 'Where has he come from? How come he wants to be prime minister all of a sudden?' Instead of saying he isn't one of us, they say he has no experience. Sometimes I don't restrain myself and I say to them, 'Why weren't you bothered by [former prime ministerial candidate Amram] Mitzna's experience and why aren't you bothered by Olmert's experience?'"

The Labor Ashkenazis' attitude toward Peretz takes Ben Yisrael back to the 1950s, when he founded the Histadrut branch in Be'er Sheva. He recalls Golda Meir, who related to the immigrants from the Eastern ethnic group as ignoramuses, and a joke about the Moroccan secretary who asked the work supervisor at Solel Boneh how to write "Wednesday" and the latter replied scornfully: "It doesn't matter. Write Thursday."

In your face, great-uncle Irving!

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