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African refugees are likened to rats in Israeli exam question — and it’s supposed to be funny

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On February 14th, journalist David Sheen tweeted:

“College engineering exam question posits non-Jewish African refugees in Israel as rats to be rounded up for torture”, providing a photo of the exam paper.

Student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (where the exam took place) Moran Mekamel, who is also a prominent activist concerning African refugees, addressed the issue on the same day on her Facebook post, and provided further details. Ynet news took the case up on February 15th.

Moshe Kaspi

Moshe Kaspi

The university Dean had created a question for a test in engineering, within a course on planning and supervision of production, which came out a couple of weeks earlier.

The Dean, Professor Moshe Kaspi from the engineering faculty, pictured a situation, where during the digging of an underground train system in the Tel Aviv area, “it was decided to transfer rats to African territories, where the rats are needed for the development of a vaccine for rabies”. The question continues with specified quotas for the next four months. It is stated that the municipality can round up 400 rats per month during regular hours at a cost of 9 Shekels per rat, or apply other special means of getting rid of the rats– working extra hours, and even employing a ‘magic flutist’– at higher cost.

So far, it would perhaps be far-fetched to suggest that this is meant as any kind of comparison to African refugees.

But then comes the next “joke.” It is possible to send rats to a “facility in the south” called “Ruhot”, in “life extending conditions”. Now “Ruhot” means “winds”, and is very close to the name “Holot” (meanings “sands”) – the notorious quasi-prison facility in the south for the rounding up of non-Jewish African refugees, who Israel generally considers “infiltrators”.

At this point it becomes quite difficult to claim that there is not an intended comparison between rats and humans.

The Ynet article included a response from Prof. Kaspi, saying that “he apologizes”, and that he had “attempted to insert an aspect of humor into the exam.”

Mekamel, who was quoted extensively from her Facebook page in the Ynet article, said that “there is a horrific formulation here, it is racist, nauseating and reminiscent of dark historical periods”.

Mekamel, who has been leading the activist group “Students at Ben-Gurion for refugees and asylum seekers” for the past 8 years, also adds on her Facebook post several relevant facts concerning the fate these people can suffer when being sent back to African countries, as Israel systematically seeks to do:

A little bit on the edge of the fork, for general knowledge:
– just in the last few weeks we have received accounts of massive deadly attacks by the Sudan government on the area of Jabel Marra in Darfur. Looting, burning of villages upon their residents, rape as a war trophy
– the genocide continues unabated. In parallel there are repeated bombings of other areas in Sudan. Ethnic cleansing of the African citizens by the regime. Omar Al Bashir serves as President since 1989 and is responsible for millions of deaths and tens of millions of dispossessed people.
– Eritrea is listed last in the press-freedom index, many describe it as the North-Korea of Africa. Forced conscription for life, slavery, torture, disappearance of political dissenters, no freedom of movement, no freedom of religion – none! Isias Afwerki serves from 1991, whilst many countries boycott Eritrea due to its treatment of humans, Israel has tight and good relations with the country.

It may be of interest to read a translation of some of the Hebrew comments following the Ynet article:

“Notice!!! Yediot Aharonot [Ynet], as is to be expected from a media body representing part of the delusional left, takes a negligible case of a question formulation in a negligible course of a southern university and makes the formulation of the question into one of the two main articles appearing on the site’s front page. Why? Is it possible that the paper’s agenda is adjacent to the agenda of those organisations who assist infiltrators and in parallel seek to wipe out the Jewish Zionist identity of the Israeli state? These organisations, backed by Yediot Aharonot, are interested in a flow of African migrants as part of the world view epitomised in the crumbling Europe, and seek to enact the European destruction also here”.

“One must remember, most of them are not asylum seekers, they are criminals who have infiltrated Israel through the desert, they did not enter through border control because they know they are criminals. Only because they are black, one makes an immediate connection to racism, but if Romanians were to infiltrate Israel with boats they would be expelled immediately”.

“I really think it’s an insult to rats, a daring and highly intelligent animal – to be compared like this to the sub-human infiltrating criminals”.

“Tell me have you fallen on your heads? Lost your sense of humor? It’s an engineering exam! Why is it at all on the news?”

“The responders forget that Beersheva is in the south and I have no doubt that its residents suffer from the infiltrators. Have you thought about that? The lecturer took it to the personal level and I understand him”.

“I suggest the scientists find out what vaccines can be produced from terrorists’ corpses and to fix extermination quotas according to the results. Maybe that way there will only remain quality Arabs here which are worth living with”.

“The war criminals, criminals [in general] – should be thrown straight into the garbage bin (Europe) – they know how to treat foreigners already”.

“Enough with the ‘politically correct’ already”.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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9 Responses

  1. xanadou on February 17, 2016, 7:43 pm

    This rabid national psychosis that is growing at an exponential rate reflects the national insanity of the citizens of the 1930’s 3rd Reich. Just as the Germans believed then, so do the Israelis believe today, that they can prevail against the whole world.

    Back then the Germans obsessed about the terms of the 1918 Versailles Treaty. Today, rather than live respecting the lessons (that should have been) learned from the Holocaust, the latter is used as a get away card from the consequences of their present day inhumanity.

    The global generation that had a real time connection to the monumental tragedy is mostly gone. The generation that followed has become tired of being so crassly manipulated, and the generation that is just now taking over – does not care.

    In sum, 70 years later, Israel is heading into into an iffy future with a disastrous baggage that is being handed over to a generation indoctrinated with unrealistic expectations of non existent grandiosity built on contempt for the humanity that lives outside the phony safety of the walls of Ghetto Israel.

    • rosross on February 18, 2016, 10:46 pm

      It really is very sad. Israel is a classic example of the shadow made manifest in a culture, just as happened in Germany as you say.

    • Lillian Rosengarten on February 18, 2016, 11:30 am

      sheer racism. Israel des not comprehend it is emulating another time in Germany.

      • lysias on February 18, 2016, 11:55 am

        The 1940 Nazi propaganda documentary Der ewige Jude [The Eternal Jew] explicitly compares Jews and rats:

        The film utilizes a montage that juxtaposes these images of ghetto Jews with images of rats to draw an analogy between the migration of Jews from Eastern Europe with the migration of rats. For example, one of the shots shows a pack of rats emerging from a sewer, followed by a shot of a crowd of Jews in a bustling street of the Łódź Ghetto. Close-ups of those in the crowd reveal sickly, malformed facial features. The narrator states that, as rats are the vermin of the animal kingdom, Jews are the vermin of the human race and similarly spread disease and corruption. Unlike rats, however, the narrator continues, Jews have the uncanny ability to change their appearance and blend into their “human hosts.” A scene depicts four bearded men in traditional religious Jewish clothing, then shows them shaved and in modern business suits, while the narrator explains that only a “trained eye” can distinguish their Jewish features.

        “Where rats appear, they bring ruin by destroying mankind’s goods and foodstuffs. In this way, they spread disease, plague, leprosy, typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, and so on. They are cunning, cowardly and cruel and are found mostly in large packs. Among the animals, they represent the rudiment of an insidious, underground destruction – just like the Jews among human beings.”[26]

        German Wikipedia version of that entry quotes the original words in German:

        „Wo Ratten auch auftauchen, tragen sie Vernichtung ins Land, zerstören sie menschliche Güter und Nahrungsmittel. […] Sie sind hinterlistig, feige und grausam und treten meist in großen Scharen auf. Sie stellen unter den Tieren das Element der heimtückischen, unterirdischen Zerstörung dar – nicht anders als die Juden unter den Menschen.“

      • Marnie on February 18, 2016, 1:52 pm

        I think it purposely emulates nazi germany. Moshe Feiglin has expressed admiration for Hitler. They are obsessed with ‘pure’ blood. Of course, the nazis were inspired by american racists and their fascination with eugenics. It’s no wonder the US does nothing WRT israel.

      • Boo on February 18, 2016, 6:39 pm

        Why yes, the parallels are clear and undeniable. Cushim also = “rats”. Couldn’t be more stark.

  2. eljay on February 18, 2016, 12:50 pm

    Germany must rid itself of rats. It is possible to send some rats to a facility in the east called Ouchwits.

    Ha-ha, just kidding! :-\

    Mr. Kaspi is a racist, a hatemonger and/or a complete idiot.

  3. charlesfrith on March 12, 2016, 2:32 am

    Appalling Zionist racism.

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