KALINSKLI: A mosque in ein-Hod August 5, 2009

by Eitan Kalinski
translated by George Malent
Occupation Magazine JULY 2009

Ein Hod mosque now a restaurant-bar copy

Ein Hod village mosque now a restaurant-bar

To harm a place that is considered holy by believers is a unacceptable act. I understand the feelings of the people of Gush Katif (the evacuated settlement bloc in the Gaza strip), who suffered when places that had been holy to them, that they had used for prayer and Torah study, were desecrated. But I do not understand how we as a Jewish society can keep silent for over sixty years as places that are holy to Islam are desecrated before our eyes within the borders of the State of Israel.

The al-Suq mosque in Safed is now a gallery for paintings and sculptures. The al-Khalsa mosque in Kiryat Shemonah became a museum. The al-Hamah mosque in the Golan became a warehouse for beverages and alcohol. For many years the Great Mosque in Beersheva served as a museum, and today it is derelict. There are mosques that have become synagogues. The mosque in the village of al-Abbasiyya became a synagogue for the community of Yehud.

I will not count the hundreds of mosques the uses of which we have changed, thereby hurting the religious feelings of believers. I want to focus on what happened before our eyes at Ein-Hod. The mosque at Ein-Hod was converted into a restaurant where among other things alcohol is served. You will tell me that it all complies with the most stringent level of kosher supervision, for after all, a legal arrangement was made by the Jewish National Fund representative Hiram Danin and the lawyer Yosef Stramza according to which the mosque was “decommissioned”. I find it hard to believe that Jews would be willing to accept the “decommissioning” of a synagogue and its conversion into a restaurant where pork and lobster are served.

For sixty years Ein-Hod has stood out as a celestial sphere of art and culture, while the original residents who built the place lived nearby. For sixty years Ein-Hod has been the site of artistic endeavours by some of Israel’s best artists. That activity took place in houses the owners of which had been evicted and who could see the houses they had built, but have been forbidden to enter them. There are places in Ein-Hod that are holy to Muslims that we have been desecrating for sixty years under the cloak of artistic creation.

The Arab village of Ein-Hud is one of the villages that were not destroyed by Israel. To my dismay, the State of Israel decided to convert the village into an “authentic” village – without Arabs, called Ein-Hod* in Hebrew. As for the Arabs who had lived there before, some of them were expelled and some fled to the Carmel Mountains during the battles of 1948.

After the end of the fighting when they discovered that their lands had been expropriated for a Jewish settlement, they had to set up a new village near the village that had been stolen from them. For 57 years the village was not recognized by the government of Israel. Its residents were therefore deprived of minimal essential services such as water, electricity, schools, roads and other things.

At the end of 2005, after a long struggle in which Knesset members from Hadash and the Arab factions figured prominently, it was decided to recognize the village. But for all practical purposes, four years after the official recognition almost nothing has been done to improve the lives of the residents of Arab Ein-Hud, who see their houses flourishing before their very eyes in Jewish Ein-Hod. The original residents of Ein-Hod have become refugees – right in front of their own homes.

* The Hebrew pronunciation differs slightly from the Arabic – trans.

Eitan Kalinski is a poet and Bible teacher. He was a Jewish Agency emissary in the Soviet Union and South America.

LINK: original Hebrew text

Occupation Magazine:

If you liked this article, please consider making a donation to Australians for Palestine by clicking on the PayPal link
Thank You.
Bookmark and Share

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address