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December 09, 2009

Golda Meir Wanted To Bar Sick, Handicapped Holocaust Survivors From Immigrating To Israel

Golda Meir "A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people."

Golda Meir proposed halting aliyah of disabled Polish Jews
By Lily Galili • Ha'aretz

Golda Meir In 1958, then-foreign minister Golda Meir raised the possibility of preventing handicapped and sick Polish Jews from immigrating to Israel, a recently discovered Foreign Ministry document has revealed. 

"A proposal was raised in the coordination committee to inform the Polish government that we want to institute selection in aliyah, because we cannot continue accepting sick and handicapped people. Please give your opinion as to whether this can be explained to the Poles without hurting immigration," read the document, written by Meir to Israel's ambassador to Poland, Katriel Katz. 

The letter, marked "top secret" and written in April 1958, shortly after Meir became foreign minister, was uncovered by Prof. Szymon Rudnicki, a Polish historian at the University of Warsaw. 

In recent years, Rudnicki has been researching documents shedding light on Israeli-Polish relations between 1945 and 1967. 

The document had not been known to exist before this time, and scholars of the mass immigration from Poland to Israel that took place from 1956 to 1958 were unaware of Israel's intent to impose a selection process on Jews leaving Poland - survivors of the Holocaust and its death camps. 

The "coordination committee" Meir refers to was a joint panel consisting of representatives of the government and the Jewish Agency. 

Rudnicki's study, undertaken together with Israeli scholars headed by Prof. Marcos Silber of the University of Haifa, has already been published in a book in Polish. 

The Hebrew version of the book will be published in a few months. However, the document containing the suggestion about the selection process does not appear in the book because it did not impact relations between the two countries. 

"Although there are numerous documents on the issue of immigration, we did not find in the archives of Israel or Poland - where they also opened the party archive for us - any response to this request by Golda to the ambassador in Poland," Rudnicki told Haaretz. "In this respect, the document remains an internal matter of Israel," he said. 

However, Rudnicki concedes that the content of the document surprised him as a scholar and a Jew. 

"This is a very cynical document," he said. "It is known that Golda was a brutal politician who defended interests more than people." 

Katz died more than 20 years ago, and no proof has been found that anything was done regarding the foreign minister's query. 

The 1956-1958 wave of immigration from Poland, also known as the "Gomulka Aliyah" was the second wave of immigration from Poland after World War II. In those years, due to a major lifting of restrictions on Jews leaving the country, some 40,000 Polish Jews came to Israel. 

In the first wave, in 1950, Poland prevented anyone who had professions essential to Polish economy and society from leaving, including Jewish doctors and engineers. With the rise to power of president Wadyslaw Gomulka and his initiation of reforms at the beginning of what became known as the "Golmuka thaw," the Polish government allowed people with professions more in demand to leave the country, including Jews who had taken up senior positions in the Communist Party. 

"Until 1950, there was indeed selection by the Poles on the basis of professions in demand," Rudnicki said. "After 1956 the Poles imposed no limitations, and certainly did not intentionally send handicapped and aged people to Israel. That is an Israeli story, not a Polish one," the historian said. 

During the years to which the document refers, waves of immigration were also underway from other countries, placing a heavy burden on the young state. 

Statistics show that the rate of immigration at that time was similar to that at the height of immigration from the former Soviet Union from 1990 to 1999.

So horribly, terribly sick.


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Who's sick? Rudnicki, for bringing this up more than 30 years after Golda Meir's death, or Golda herself?

During the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century, the US had an almost-unrestricted immigration policy. My great-grandparents and grandparents came here during that time. Yours probably did as well. Note that I said ALMOST unresticted: Those who didn't have a means of support, or who were sick or disabled stayed on Ellis Island, and in many cases were sent back, and this was at a time when the US was relatively a far wealthier country than Israel was in 1958. In any event there were lots of wide open spaces for immigrants to settle, and mine did, not just in Jersey City and the Lower East Side but in places as diverse as Tucson, Chicago, Sioux City, Marshalltown, and Cedar Rapids, and on the West Coast.

If it weren't for Golda Meir in 1973, Israel likely would be part of Egypt today. Either that, or Egypt would be a pile of still-radioactive rubble, and Israel wouldn't be in much better shape.

But as long as we're into alternative history, look at the bright side: The Palestinians would have a state of their own: Maybe. The Egyptians don't have much more use for the Palestinians than the Israelis do.

Assuming this letter is true, and not a Communist forgery, Golda had a wart on her. Well, so did Abe Lincoln.

Thank you for your beautifully stated post.

I can see her point of view, but it is still wrong and it puts to mind how the nazis viewed people.
The US is something else with the sick and the poor, but Israel was meant to be a home for the Jews and that means even the sick and poor Jews, especially what they had gone through.
No one is saying Golda was an evil bad person and a terrible PM for Israel. Everyone has good as well as bad in them.

This revelation should hardly be news. In the 1930s, Golda Meir was comlaining about the large numbers of older and weaker immigrants to Palestine and stating she would like to find a way to ship them back to Europe. And this was after Hitler came to power. The letter is cited in Tom Segev's "The Seventh Million."

From what I understand...
If you are over 40 years old and want to make Aliya, one better be sure of a job waiting for you.
Otherwise age discrimination is fierce in Israel

This from Wikipedia:

In July 1938, Meir was the Jewish observer from Palestine at the Évian Conference, called by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to discuss the question of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Delegates from the 32 invited countries repeatedly expressed their sorrow for the plight of the European Jews but made excuses as to why their countries could not help by admitting the refugees. The only exception was the Dominican Republic, which pledged to accept 100,000 refugees on generous terms.[10] Meir was disappointed at the outcome and remarked to the press, "There is only one thing I hope to see before I die and that is that my people should not need expressions of sympathy anymore."[6]

This is 180 degrees at variance with what you states Tom Segev claimed.

To Mr. Apikorus and the rest of the blog members:

I apologize for my misquote. It was not Golda Meir, but Henrietta Szold who wrote the letter in the 1930s. Nonetheless, in the 1930s, the Jewish Agency was more interested in immigrants who could build Palestine into the "Jewish Homeland" than in accepting refugees from persecution. And please remember that when the British had limits on immigration in the 1930s (not as severe as they became in 1939) the Jewish Agency chose not to challenge the British or engage in illegal immigration. Very simply put, the number of people they wanted to take in fit within the British limits.

No Emma Lazarus

News must be slow Scotty. Anything is game if it makes jews look bad.

Henrietta Szold?

In 1938, Ms. Szold was 78 years of age. I wonder if she could still run a 5 minute mile and do 100 pushups without a break.

I have read that Golda had a retarded child and this was hidden from the world by her b/c she was so ashamed. When Tovah Felshuh played Golda on Bway the M.O.s gave her screaming standing ovations and waited outside the stage door like Tovah was the reincarnation of Golda who was G-d herself.

the offical Zionist leadership where and still are a bunch of sicko's yes there where a few good ones but you don't need to read neturi karta books to get the real story there are plenty of books by respected people on the subject a big resson why there are very few charadim in the army is less to do with the fact that they don't want to help Israel but more to do with the fact that the state does not want them and makes the army and other public agencys run in a way that makes charadi particaption inposible


“The question was what to do with those refugees who were neither Zionist nor fit to help build the new society in Palestine. ‘Only God knows how the poor little land of Israel can take in this stream of people and emerge with a healthy social structure’, Chaim Weizmann wrote. The German Immigrants Association complained that the Jewish Agency’s representatives in Berlin were giving immigration certificates to invalids. ‘ The human material [direct quote and their words] coming from Germany is getting worse and worse’, the association charged after almost a year of Nazi rule. ‘They are not able and not willing to work, and they need social assistance.’ A year later the association sent to Berlin a list of names of people who should not have been sent. Henrietta Szold, who headed the Jewish Agency’s social-work division, also frequently protested about the sick and needy among the immigrants. From time to time Szold demanded that certain of such ‘cases’ be returned to Nazi Germany so that they would not be a burden on the yishuv.” (p. 43)

On one hand, they were in the business of state building. We argue today over delegating limited funds for domestic problems in the richest country in the world, what was fledgling Israel supposed to do with limited resources? Not an easy decision to make.

I remember a few years back talking to several Israeli friends of mine and they all seemed to be of the opinion that the Russian immigrants coming in the 90's were viewed similarily..... all sick, problems, needing vast State assistance.

Maybe if the Israelis would stop kicking jews out of their homes as was done to me and all of my neighbors in gush katif and i would add also stop kicking arabs out of their homes in order to make more settlements and would start having ahavat yisrael and do more to encourage all jews to move to Israel, we wouldnt have the horrible problems that we have from the arabs and we wouldnt have a constant war with the arabs. People are people and must be treated with respect whether they are jews or arabs. Stop kicking people out of their houses!

Just like Ben Gurion and Weitzmann before her. We know the ideology of the labor zionists was poisonously elitist.... It is only the delusional who refuse to admit it.

"Very simply put, the number of people they wanted to take in fit within the British limits."

That's because those court Jews felt that they were working for the British interests and that by doing so, Britain would behave beneficently toward them and the Jews. Of course naive and foolish policy, but that is what it was. And of course there would be no benevolence that they so desperately and pathetically hoped for in vain.

The British on the other hand, had in mind to limit the Jewish population as much as possible, simultaneously increasing the Arab population as much as possible (and radicalizing them) in order to pit the two sides against each other and to imprint into the psyche of all the inhabitants that Great Britain is absolutely needed to control the situation and maintain their colonial presence there. For the Jews, they would look upon the British desperate for protection against the raging Arabs, and for the Arabs, incapable of running a society or state, but armed and radicalized, they would have an arrangement with the British whereby the British kept the Jewish population under control and in submission.

They didn't want the sick and handicap people then, as they didn't want them with the Great Russian Alya. I use to work for the Join (JDC) in Ukraine and I had the orders to prevehnt the old people from making Alya.

But the State of Israel got the money from Germany to absorb the Jews frp the Holocaust, and the got the money from US to absorb the Russians.

It's long been said that Meir was a מכשפה. Now, there's documentary proof.

Meir isn't Mengele, but her advocacy of "selection" still shocks.

Labour and the Left -- wherever they may be -- live with the smug conceit that their leaders know best. This is yet another example.

And just think of all the diasporan Jews she defrauded over the years, raising money to rescue Jews that she preferred to leave behind in Poland.

I would not be alone in saying that the witch be disinterred and burnt at the stake in effigy.

nobody, you don't know what you are talking about. There were no Pakistani immigrants in the 1930s, they all came later on, i think the 60s or 70s and the only reason they were allowed in was because India/Pakistan used to be a British Colony. Now Britain takes all the sundry in the country and look where it's got her.

Sorry, Britain takes all and sundry.

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