Dolfi Dolphi
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The place of tragedy
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The Poster
Lili Galili, Ha’aretz (July 9, 2001)
According to the National Insurance Institute data, out of 398 Israelis who died in the last ten years as a result of terrorist acts, 62 were emigres. Prior to Dolphinarium and subsequent attacks, 66 former Soviets became disabled.
Many Russian-speaking Israelis receive the sympathy shown them by the native-born after the Dolphi attack with a grain of salt. “They’ll get over it,” the Russians say. Deputy Minister for Absorption agrees. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleksandr Lubinsky, News of the Week, July 7, 2001 (excerpted)

"Sacred Offerings"
. . . In every respect, it was a “Russian week”: from dawn to dusk, Israeli media had one subject only — hastily building bridges between the “Russians” and the native-born. They never ask us what we want. Maybe we would prefer to put earplugs in, in order not to hear their official voices and their clumsy apologies — “We’ve been stereotyping the Russians, while they turned out to be quite different, really nice people . . .”

But it’s really not that simple. This purely Israeli impulse to do something immediately is rooted in a quite tangible feeling of guilt, and the horrible event at the Dolphinarium genuinely shattered the society.

These two topics — guilt and blood — dominated the chaos of undigested thoughts and overheated emotions that the media poured out day and night. One even got the impression that the reporters, in a bow to Freud, didn’t want to think it through and avoided the necessity to speak out the truth. Yet, in order that the truth be told, one should first question the tactics of containment declared by the government.

The enemies pick our weakest, least defended places. After visiting the wounded at the Ikhilov Hospital, Sharon declared that lately the Palestinians had repeatedly targeted the children: several cars with explosives had been detected and disarmed outside schools. Thus, the direction of the attack was no surprise for the Prime Minister. Indeed, all the elements of the tragedy had been there: the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorist activity, uncontained by countermeasures, and their intent to kill as many Israeli children as possible. The only thing left was to find the right spot. And what was better than a cheap "russian" disco on the border of Jaffa, the backyard of Tel Aviv?

Of course, everybody can be smart after the fact. Nonetheless, there was a high probability that the victims of the containment policy would be the weakest, the least defended social strata.

The Israeli guilt towards the Russian emigres is rooted in reality: the Russian community became the main victim of the policy conducted according to the principle “the better, the worse.” They were the sacred offerings to the cause of peace!

Psychologically, Sharon is a peasant warrior who loves life the way it loves itself: as the life of the clan. The clan must be preserved along with the state. The rest doesn’t matter. Even when he visited the wounded children, he had the air of a general visiting a field hospital, admiring the steadfastness and courage of these little “soldiers” and recalling his first wound that had brought him here years ago . . .

In other words, it is only now that we have earned the right to be called Israelis. The dozens of Russians killed earlier had not been enough? The lynching in Ramalla had not been enough?

In a week, everything will go back to normal. Israel doesn’t lack in new events that will send the tragedy at Dolphi to the back of the public mind. "Russian" children will still be playing in the backyards of Tel Aviv. But perhaps somewhere up there, a small window opened, and the glance of someone omniscient slid along these backyards, lighting them for an instant with His high thoughts and issuing unheard orders . . . -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“The Mistrust Is Most Likely to Resume”
Copyright © 2001 Novonet, June 11, 2001

The tragedy in the Dolphi nightclub in Tel Aviv called for an increased interest of the leading international media to Israeli’s Russian-speaking community. The pictures of dead teenagers appeared on the front pages of Der Bild and the New York Times.

On June 5, Yevgeny Chuck, the head of Max Data Monitoring, a data analysis center in Tel Aviv, appeared on BBC’s World Today program. The program’s moderator emphasized that the suicide bombing had taken place at a disco frequented by the teenagers from the former Soviet Union. “Do you believe that Russian-speaking emigres feel isolated from Israeli society?” he was asked.
“I don’t think,” said Chuck, “that we can talk about isolation when ex-Soviet emigres make up one-fifth of the country’s population. It is the largest community in the country, and its influence is felt in politics, industry, and arts. Without question, there is a certain alienation between ex-Soviets and the native-born. Many ‘Russians’ believe they brought considerable cultural ‘baggage’ and try to preserve it. You can see this phenomenon in the Russian communities in other countries as well. On everyday level, you can hear Israelis demand that no Russian be spoken in their presence, while on a higher level they accuse ex-Soviets of trying to recreate a Russian lifestyle in a Jewish country.
“I believe Israelis are somewhat intolerant of those who act differently. Many are not prepared to accept that the idea of the melting pot has failed. In the last eleven years, the ‘Russians’ have often made great strides, not due to the Israelis’ help but through overcoming their unwillingness to help. True, in some cases it concerns an absolutely legitimate conflict — jobs, for example. In my view, when life goes back to normal after this horrible act of terror, the mistrust between the Russian speakers and the natives is most likely to resume.”
Galina Pelina:
Two weeks after the terrorist attack I had a very unpleasant incident in a “community cab.” At the end of the route, the only passengers left were Russians and a thirteen-year-old Israeli boy. You should have heard the terrible things he was spouting at us! The Israeli driver did not react. And when that boy was leaving the van, he said, “I wish all your children had been killed!” I was in a state of shock. Yet, my Israeli acquaintances had called and sympathized and helped me.

Larisa Gutman:
I think this case has forced Israelis a little bit to think of emigres as not inferior. That day they treated us as families of killed soldiers. The kids were of the draft age, so they were considered dead soldiers.

Natalia Panchenko-Sannikova:
I didn’t feel any discrimination when this happened. Now I have been completely forgotten. I’m not asking for much, just to get a permanent visa, so that I could come here at any time, to see the place where my son got killed, to meet with the other parents . . .

Yevgenia Djanashvili:
It all depends on how you present yourself. I know a lot of Israelis, and they all respect and love me. I have worked for many Israeli families, and they showed a lot of sympathy in those hard days. I am very grateful to them. I never felt like a new arrival here; I have always felt confident. The same goes for my children. No one would ever think that Roman was a recent arrival. At school, they thought he was born in this country. He wrote beautifully, very refined style, and his Hebrew was so pure! He was liked very much here.