Skip to comments.Golda Meir proposed halting aliyah of disabled Polish Jews
Posted on 12/09/2009 2:33:16 AM PST by lizol
Golda Meir proposed halting aliyah of disabled Polish Jews
By Lily Galili, Haaretz Correspondent
Last Update: 09/12/2009 09:56
In 1958, then-foreign minister Golda Meir raised the possibility of preventing handicapped and sick Polish Jews from immigrating to Israel, a recently discovered Foreign Ministry document has revealed.
"A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration," read the document, written by Meir to Israel's ambassador to Poland, Katriel Katz.
The letter, marked "top secret" and written in April 1958, shortly after Meir became foreign minister, was uncovered by Prof. Szymon Rudnicki, a Polish historian at the University of Warsaw.
In recent years, Rudnicki has been researching documents shedding light on Israeli-Polish relations between 1945 and 1967.
The document had not been known to exist before this time, and scholars of the mass immigration from Poland to Israel that took place from 1956 to 1958 were unaware of Israel's intent to impose a selection process on Jews leaving Poland - survivors of the Holocaust and its death camps.
The "coordination committee" Meir refers to was a joint panel consisting of representatives of the government and the Jewish Agency.
Rudnicki's study, undertaken together with Israeli scholars headed by Prof. Marcos Silber of the University of Haifa, has already been published in a book in Polish.
The Hebrew version of the book will be published in a few months. However, the document containing the suggestion about the selection process does not appear in the book because it did not impact relations between the two countries.
(Excerpt) Read more at haaretz.com ...
Well frankly its a step up from the American practice at Ellis Island of telling the sick or handicapped to turn around and go home.
At the time, Israel was in dire need of able bodied citizens to help defend their small country. Allowing people in who were in need of care would have added to a burden they could barely maintain.
How would a disabled Jew survive in Israel circa 1958?
GOLDA MEIER’S COMMON SENSE. I WISH OBAMA HAD ONE.
MEIR not MEIER.
That kind of rationale could have been taken almost word-for-word from something I would have expected to read about Germany in the economic malaise of the 1920s under the Weimar Republic and in the 1930s under National Socialist Party (the Nazis).
The term they would have used was Untermenschen.
If Israel had been over-run by the Arabs because they didn’t have a high enough proportion of able-bodied, the Israeli Jews really would have found themselves being treated like ‘Untermenschen’ all over again...
When facing the kind of total annhilation Israel was facing at that time, they had no choice but to be pragmatic and realistic....
Did Israel permit exemptions from mandatory military service for religious groups like the Haredim back then?
I don't know. I only know the things that Walter Cronkite told me back then :)
The Eichmann Trial was a turning point in how Israel looked at the Holocaust. A lot of Israelis who came to Israel before the War and fought for her independence resented Holocaust survivors because of the perception that they didn’t fight back against the Nazis.
When the Eichmann trial was televised and Israelis heard the testimonies of the horrors the survivors endured, the attitude towards them changed. Meir’s policy would not have had nearly as much support after that.
Read Ben Hecht’s book “Perfidy,” and Menachem Begin’s book “The Revolt”, and her actions will make perfect sense.
This is exactly the kind of vile statement I would have expected from someone who has spent years at Free Republic making similar ugly comments about Jews. In making this comparison it is you in fact who is acting like the Nazi and in the worst possible way.
Spoken like a true fellow-traveller.
“Well, a bit like ancient Sparta.”
And given Poland’s long and ugly history of Jew-hatred, who who you compare her to? Had millions of Poles not actively collaborated in the Holocaust there would never have been a need for an Israel in the first place.
Yes they did, but at much lower levels then today. I think the number of yeshiva students exempted at the time was around 3000 — basically the elite students, not everyone. I might add that those kind of students would have made terrible soldiers. Most had spent their entire lives in a book and were terribly out of shape. Any many spoke only Yiddish. At the time, Israel needed able-bodied men, yes. But it wasn’t worth the resources to train a bunch of fat, bookish, Yiddish-speaking, anti-Zionist Haredim.
“Had millions of Poles not actively collaborated in the Holocaust there would never have been a need for an Israel in the first place.”
But besides that everything is OK with your health, I hope?