Friday, January 29, 2010

"Yom Ha'atzmaut or Australia Day?" AJN recklessness

Mary Walsh's blog "Glen Eira & Thereabouts"

From a quick glance at the above-named blog one can understand why some smell a whiff of anti-Jewish sentiment. But we are yet to be convinced that this can be labeled as anti-Semitism.

However the points that the lady makes in the following post have more than a smidgen of merit.

Yom Ha'atzmaut or Australia Day? You choose!

Ah, I am privy to a better understanding of why Cr Lipshutz reacts to constructive criticism in the way he does!
There ain't no way of pleasing some folk! but fortunately not all!
In this weeks AJN the Vox question was:  "Which mean more to you, Australia Day or Yom Ha'atzmaut?

55% of the on line poll answered Yom Ha'atzmaut, while 44% said Australia. The total numbers who responded weren't provided.

Only those who voted for Yom Ha'atzmaut were photographed and quoted, 5 in all. Aged 22 to 71, the 71 yo psychologist said that 'without the State of Israel my whole life as a Jew would be threatened', another said 'Israel would always be in her heart where ever she lived in the world'. The 22 yo said 'Australia is a comfortable place but Israel is my true home',(but you live in Australia so isn't that your real home?) an engineer 45 yo said "I'm an Australian Jew and Israel is my priority.(so what are you doing living here if your priorities are elsewhere?).

I feel like Australians 'are being used by a system' that does not require people from elsewhere to put the interests of this country, first and foremost. We tolerate being told, that we don't matter effectively, as a nation!

I looked at their happy cheerful faces and wondered why the hell they lived in Australia, if Israel is so very precious to them, why don't they go and live there?

It was a divisive question to ask in the first place but with attitudes like that, possibly more volatile cultures than Australians are offended by that attitude towards a Country they chosen to live in of their own free will. No one is forcing them to stay if they'd rather be elsewhere!

I see on page 16 of the AJN that 'anti Semitism is the highest since WW11.'  Perhaps offending the host country with what some would see as 'ill considered' comments.

The majority of people worldwide, I believe, don't HATE Israel, but neither do they HATE Israel's enemies. Most people worldwide do not spend so much of their day looking for things to be 'offended' by.....All races of people have their preferred options and Jews themselves are a race that prefers inhouse socialising - but they just don't seem to get it, that the rest of the world - doesn't do that! They get on with living their lives, and don't allow the offensive terms which one race may apply to another to spoil their day. (Just the book I'm reading at present is about the fear of an Indian mother that her daughter is seeing a white man, or worse, an African!!) (The hero is working through his own sense of prejudice when he realises how intelligent, beautiful and fully independent the Indian mother is...almost as if he expected, that in England, she could only be a cleaning lady!)

I was heartened that 44% of Jewish folk appreciate the wonderful gift of fate afforded them, to be living in Australia! And that was only those who responded to the poll.....The rest are out there living their lives!


In our view the Jewish News should have shown more 'seichel' and responsibility than to pose such a question and then publish the results. We do not look forward to the field-day that the unambiguous and openly Jew-hating websites will have with this piece of AJN "research"! (We placed "research" in quotation marks - as our information is that the AJN had less than 100 responses to its Vox Pop. That's under 1 in 1000 Australian Jews - rendering it as totally useless information – except for the anti-Semites.)

As to the respondents we too ask: You so adore Israel? Lovely. So what the heck are you doing here? The answer of course is that you far prefer to live here in Australia rather than Israel. But should you say what you REALLY feel, you'll be letting down Israel. You are being false, damaging and irresponsible.

Those of us who have visited Israel, are convinced that should the doors to Australia be opened wide to the locals, half the population would grab the opportunity to immigrate here. (And then, of course, they too will celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut with barbeques in Caulfield and Toorak backyards and but tickets for Song and Music Festival at the Palais...)


  1. The AJN has a history of irresponsibility and an attitude of 'couldn't care less'.
    Didn't this blog start after they frontpaged rabbi Engel with that disgusting 'charged' headline?

  2. The 22 yo said 'Australia is a comfortable place but Israel is my true home',(but you live in Australia so isn't that your real home?)

    If your home is in disrepair you might go live at a hotel, or rent a house while repairs are going on, but your home remains your home. Tax law says that so long as you have a fixed intention to return, even if you don't know when, it remains your home, and you can claim expenses for living away from it. The law also says you continue to vote from that address, and continue to drive on the license from your home state even when you live in another state or country. It doesn't stop being your home until you decide that you're not going back after all.

    I don't see how it is possible for someone to call himself an orthodox Jew and not see Israel as his home, and Australia (or wherever he lives) as a mere temporary abode. It may be more comfortable than home, and the people at home might envy the one who is staying at a nice resort instead of sleeping with them under the leaky roof, but it is forbidden "lehishtakea bemitzrayim".

    Chazal saidכל הדר בחוצה לארץ דומה כמי שאין לו אלוה, and R Chaim (the Maharal's brother) explains that דר means one who believes that chu"l is his permanent home,ששם יהיה ביתו עד עולם ושם תהא קבורתו.

  3. The AJN poll is worthless.

    Firstly, it can be technically manipulated very, VERY easily, facilitating ballot-stuffing. I pointed this out to the editor (Ashley Brown at the time) who couldn't care less.

    Secondly, online polls in general are worthless as only people with a vested interest ever vote in them. Either that, or they are a cynical attempt by website owners to increase their traffic and hence advertising revenue.

    Want more traffic to your website? Host a poll asking who you prefer, Israel or Palestine, and sit back waiting for the visitors...

    Finally, to the poll itself. I'm sure some will view it through the prism of historic antisemitic arguments about Jews having divided loyalty. Instead, I would regard it simply as a failure by Australia to entrench itself in the national psyche.

    I'm sure any number of non-Jewish Australians also regard Australia Day as little more than a day off work. The only difference is Jewish people have a related holiday. I'm sure if you asked for a contrast between the solemnity of Australia Day and say, Yom Kippur you'd receive a similar answer, albeit one which proves nothing.

  4. Milhouse said
    I don't see how it is possible for someone to call himself an orthodox Jew and not see Israel as his home, and Australia (or wherever he lives) as a mere temporary abode.

    Israel has (sadly) not been our home for 2000 years and is still not home for the majority of Jews. It will only truly become our national home bevias hagoel.

    But whatever the case, you do not say to your host nation that elsewhere is better. That's showing a lack of derech eretz, brains and hakoras hatov

  5. abc, if you truly believe that Israel has not been our home for 2000 years, then you are not an orthodox Jew, you are דומה כמי שאין לו אלוה, and all of your mitzvos are worthless. A Jew's home must be in Eretz Yisroel, even if he has never been there and has no plans to go there until Moshiach comes; and the nations should know this.

  6. I agree that the Australia Day question was a stupid idea. That it compels people to be seen as loyal to Israel, at the expense of perhaps honesty. I was feeling quite patriotic on the day that I read the comments and as a non Jew I felt offended. I'm easy offended by people who don't seem to fully appreciate the gift of living in a peaceful and harmonious country!

    Truth be known, it doesn't really matter where anyone calls 'home' as long as they leave their troubles behind them when they land here!....


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