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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Am I a Second-Class Citizen of My City?

DSCF0007After a break of some weeks I return to this blog with a stiff public complaint about how as an Anglo resident, I feel that I am treated as a second class citizen of Karmiel.

I pay my council tax, electricity and water bills on time, so why am I not represented at public events like the annual Purim parade or indeed at an occasion like tonight’s Immigration Day festivity held at the local cultural centre?

It was billed as a free public event with ‘food stalls from around the world’. Local crafts-people exhibited their goods and the evening ended with a concert. I did not stay for that as I had not been advised in advance that I needed a ticket for the ‘free’ event and that I would have to wait for any vacant seats available immediately prior to curtain up.

When I arrived I saw the hall lobby and marquee extension festooned with balloons and visitors crowding round stalls with flags representing states from the Former Soviet Union including Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Azerbaijan along with South American countries like Argentina, Peru and Chile. But where were those from Western Europe, including the U.K., or indeed Canada and the U.S.A. and also South Africa?

Why were we left out and more startling yet, why was there no presence from the local office of Nefesh B’Nefesh, the biggest Anglo immigrant aid organization in Israel? It is quite shameful that NBN’s hard-working staff were not invited to play their part on government-backed Yom HaAliyah – Immigration Day!

Moreover, seeing video clips of part of the concert rehearsal it was clear that the show was Russo-centric. Since settling in Karmiel I have seen many music and dance shows featuring local talent originating from the FSU. This is highly commendable. But why do we not see more performers from other communities?

When I first came to Karmiel in March 2010, I could not buy an English language newspaper in my neighbourhood and I was told wryly that locally, Hebrew was the second language to Russian!

Very funny! But if either Karmiel’s present Mayor Adi Eldar or any of his bitter rivals expect me to cast my vote their way in the forthcoming municipal elections, then I advise all of them to think very hard about the feelings of their English-speaking residents.

© Natalie Wood (29 October 2017)

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