The December issue of Szombat begins with an interview on day to day life in Jerusalem since the renewed outbreak of the Intifada, given by Gábor Balázs who currently lives in one of the suburbs of Jerusalem,
“Arab presence is visible everywhere in the Jewish quarters, while the opposite is not true. We have Arab plumbers working for us, and many Arabs still attend the university lectures or sit around in the coffee-houses like before. For my part, I still think twice before taking my kids into Jerusalem. I have heard cases of Israeli Jews being attacked in an Israeli Arab village, even though they had been on friendly terms for decades, and their Arab friends’ looked on while their car was set on fire and they were beaten up. If they hadn’t had mobile phones, and their friends or the police hadn’t arrived in time, they would probably have been killed. These cases are mentioned in the Israeli press, but nowhere else.”
Szombat was also granted an interview by Norman Podhoretz the former editor of Commentary, the influential conservative journal. “In my youth I was left-wing, like most Jewish American intellectuals. The turning point came in 1967 when I became fed up with the left The Soviet Union’s anti-Israeli policy was just one of the many reasons. I was bothered by the fact that the left was unwilling to acknowledge the anti-Semitism of the radical black movement. I was a patriot even as a left-winger and I was shocked when the crowds protesting against the Vietnam war compared the US to Nazi Germany. Also, most left-wing intellectuals never cared and still don’t care about their Jewishness”.
Our columnist Moyses fumes over the overtly hate-mongering tone, often coupled with anti- Semitic attacks on Hungarian liberals, used in Hungarian public television in reports on the Hear Eastern crisis. “These hate-mongering extremists have stepped out from the closed world of political pornography and they ruin our evenings as active figures of the government’s media policy.”
“I am an old-fashioned left-winger. So is my sister – she is a Labour Party MP who is mainly concerned with human rights. My uncle is Ezer Weizman, the former President”, says Israeli movie director Assy Dayan, whose film, “Shadows of Tel Aviv” has been acclaimed as one of the best Israeli movie of all times.
The European Council of Jewish Communities held a large-scale conference on education in Budapest. The agenda included the role of theatre in education, reports on Jewish schools in the Balkans and the post-Soviet countries, fund-raising the role of IT in education and Holocaust education in non-Jewish schools. A declaration on the creation of a European communications system for the coordination of Jewish education was accepted at the close of the conference.
“I am a Jew, a dedicated and faithful Jew, and glad of it. And I am a Russian writer. But I am a Russian Jew, and I love this country much more than any other. How can this be reconciled? I have already done so, everything is obvious and clear to me, but others think otherwise. They say that a Jew cannot be a Russian writer – these are words quoted from Lev Lunz, who lived in the early 20th century. Published in this issue is one of his novels and Zsuzsa Hetényi’s essay.
Finally, an interview with Péter Feldmájer, the newly-elected president of Hungary’s largest secular Jewish organization.