Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCXLIV. The Ma’abarot Stage (20 of 26)

Ma’abarat Bat Yam

The walk from downtown Bat Yam to the Ma’abara took me through a desert!

Downtown in those days was Kikar Ha Matzeva, or simply Ha Matzeva.  Kikar means square and Matzeva means monument (actually, matzeva in a general sense means the headstone that is placed at the head of the grave).  This particular monument was dedicated to the fallen fighters who had fought in this location during Milhemet Ha Atzmaout (the War of Independence of 1948).  Today the square is called Kikar Ha Meginim (Defender’s Square).

Once I turned my back to the matzeva, I did not take me long to leave the bright city lights behind me.  I walked on a dark kvich (road) that was lit only by the moon and the stars, or simply the stars.  At the end of the kvich was the ma’abara; by now I am sure you have concluded that the ma’abara was smack in the desert.  Indeed that area of Bat Yam was all desert; the Jewish Agency, as part of building this ma’abara, had built the road I referred to and installed the necessary infrastructure.  We had running water, electricity, and the bus came into the ma’abara.  In those days that was considered living in the lap of luxury!

Back to the road.  At night there were hardly any cars; therefore it was safe to use, indeed it was largely deserted.  What about crime?  Here again safety reigned.  At the beginning I asked friends to accompany me, eventually I realized I was reasonably safe and made the trek on my own.

Occasionally, I met other people and we either exchanged a quick shalom (hello), or chatted.  If nature called while walking, you stepped in the desert and stood or crouched; once you had relieved yourself, you proceeded to your destination.

On moonless nights, you may see couples making out; however, even a full moon was not necessarily a deterrent; thus, when the forces of passion could no longer be contained, the lovers did not hesitate to moon the moon!

I never saw couples doing it!  This piece of intelligence was reported to me.  While it was second-hand information, I have no doubt that it was accurate.  After all, how often do you get a chance in a city to make love under the light of a million stars?

The soukhnout had built a large number of asbestos houses; after all these years, I can no longer give you even an approximate number.  They were larger than Kfar Saba; each unit had two bedrooms and a living room of sort.  The surroundings were totally different; the green fields had now been replaced by desert.  A garden was out of the question; nevertheless, some hardy folks had managed to bring soil and to plant a garden.  And why not?  Didn’t Israel managed to make the desert bloom?

There was a grocery store (owned by dad and his partner, Goren) and a greengrocer; as well, the Soukhnout had an office to address problems encountered by immigrants; needless to say there were plenty of issues and the officials in this office were kept busy.

There was no kuppat holim or lishkat ha’avoda on site, but they were within walking distance.

Of course, in case of trouble, the police or an ambulance could be easily summoned.

The people at this ma’abara knew they were lucky to be there.  However, they were never going to admit that openly.

Borrowing from Shakespeare (All the World’s a Stage), all the ma’abara was a stage and the characters were more colorful than anything the bard could have come up with.  Let us therefore go and meet them.

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