In Berlin, Israelis join tours to 'get to know the enemy'
I find that some of the articles written by Zionist Jews often are funny and bizarre at the same time. Here we have the Ashkenazi European people who colonized and terrorize the indigenous Palestinians, they can now afford to live a life of luxury in the midst of squalid living conditions of the Palestinians, and they could also afford to take a vacation in Germany and they have the chutzpah to refer to their visit to Germany as 'to get to know the enemy'. They perhaps forgot that my stampeding to the Arab region and stealing Arab land with the collaborations of the major powers, they now have not only 300 million Arabs who hate them, but over a billion Muslims worldwide. Talk about 'the enemy'!
By Assaf Uni
BERLIN - Dan Segev has an aversion for Germany, which makes it difficult for the former educator from Holon to explain why last Saturday, along with his wife Sally and 40 other Israelis, he began a one-week tour of Berlin.
"For years, we refused to step foot on German soil," says Segev, traveling with the group from the memorial for Berlin's Jews to a museum in the city center. "We boycotted German goods, and we educated our children to do likewise." Sally Segev lost almost her entire extended family during the Holocaust, and her husband and children picked up her anti-German sentiments.
So why did the pair decide to come to Berlin? "With time, logic enabled us to overcome our strong feelings," he says. "Besides, I'm here as someone who is getting to know the enemy."
This tour of Berlin answers his need: It covers World War Two-era sites and memorials commemorating the Nazis' victims.
"On the left, you can see an upper bunker that survived the war," the guide says to the tour bus passengers, "and on the right is where the Luftwaffe headquarters once stood. Soon we will arrive at the stadium where the 1936 Olympic games were held under Hitler, and then we will visit the memorial marking the spot from which Jews were sent to the extermination camps."
About half a million Israelis fly abroad every August. Of these, one quarter go for organized trips, the tourism industry estimates. This trip, run by the Natour company, is called "The new gateway to Europe," but it might as well have been called "German requiem."
Nurit, a retiree from Holon, says she came to learn more about Hitler. "I have read all the biographies about him," she says. "I borrowed all the books on World War Two from the public library." She is in Berlin to understand better what she read.
The guide, Sarah Friedman, says interest in these tours has grown. "The visits to Berlin began as a trickle of people who were interested in Germany because of their own heritage. But now they attract everybody - a representative sample of the Israeli population." Friedman has been leading tours to Germany three times a year for the past four years. Just like Avraham Hazut, the local guide who led the group on the second day of the trip, Friedman does not conceal her admiration for German culture. "I show them the construction work, the discipline, the preciseness, and the order that characterizes the Germans - for better or for worse," she says.
This admiration annoys the Segevs somewhat.
"Every time that they praise some impressive building, I recall the incinerators at the Majdanek extermination camp," says Dan Segev. "I don't buy all the Germans' atonement attempts; I don't believe they are genuinely sorry. I want to go into their schools, to see what is happening there," he adds.
"I hardly even told my children that I was going to Germany," Sally Segev says. "They are more extreme than we are - they would never, ever visit."
Some members of the group are there to learn not about Berlin's past, but the city's present. "I read a bit about Berlin online and I thought it would be cool," says Moshe Abudi from Zichron Yaakov. "I wanted to see this lively city." He was attracted to Berlin in the summer, with its sprawling beer gardens and coffee shops.
"Sometimes people claim that we address too much Jewish heritage," says Friedman, the guide. "But that is an inseparable part of the city, and perhaps what is most intriguing about it."
Abudi has no complaints about the trip. "Just breathing the cool morning air makes the trip worth its cost," he says, smiling.