Daily Israel Report

Literary Icon Warns: Judaism Important? Come to Israel

Literary icon A. B. Yehoshua warns Diaspora Jews: Come to Israel if you value Judaism, and he says Holocaust was a “Jewish failure.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/18/2012, 1:19 PM

A.B. Yehoshua
A.B. Yehoshua
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli literary icon A. B. Yehoshua warns Diaspora Jews to come to Israel if they value their Jewishness, and he says Holocaust was a Jewish failure.”

The winner of the Israel Prize broke the barrier of the concept of the Holocaust is a victory for Jewish survival, he said in a lecture Friday, reported by Haaretz.

Yehoshua harshly criticized Israeli “yordim” who leave the country to work in the United States because it is “convenient" and noted, “Swedes also have no work in hi-tech, but you do not see so many Swedes in the United States."

His view of the Holocaust is totally different from what has become the accepted norm among Jews and non-Jews as well.

Terming the Holocaust a "Jewish failure,” he explained, “I have never heard Jews analyze the Holocaust as a failure of the Jewish people, who he said did not see “the flashing red lights of the previous 2,000 years.”

He reminded listeners that the Holocaust resulted in the extermination of one-third of the Jewish people in the world, “not because of ideology, not because of religion, and not because of the economy or territory.”

As for those who remain in the Diaspora, Yehoshua had bitter words that might be hard for Jews outside of Israel to swallow.

He called them “partial Jews” as opposed to Israelis who are “total Jews.” He regretted that he and his friends have to defend Israel, even against Diaspora Jews, “as a state as if it is only a matter of citizenship although the concept of Israel is authentic and steeped in the Jewish people.”

He pointed out that the “People of Israel” never were called the “The People of Jews, and that the word “Israel” appears in prayer books, which never contains the word “Jews.”

In response to a comment among listeners that it is difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to leave their countries and come to Israel, Yehoshua, a self-described secular Jew, replied, “If Judaism is important to you, then come here and participate in with us....and learn Hebrew

“With all of their [expressed] love of Israel, visitors come here for only five days, and only 20 percent even come at all,” he said.