Reuven Aberjel, one of the founders of the Black Panthers of Israel, takes us on a tour of the Moroccan neighbourhood of Jerusalem.
Aberjel points out the houses where Palestinians were evicted now inhabited by Arab Jews and some European Jews. He talks about the history of the Black Panthers in Israel and comments on the injustice of the occupation, the complicity of Arab countries, and his opinions on interests of Zionism and its elites.
You were born in Rabat Morocco, what are you doing in Israel?
I was born in Rabat in the Sheikh Daoud neighborhood, in the Mellah. In 1942. After 7 years, the Zionists started coming to the Mellah and all of Morocco. They came to our family. Our family left at the end of 1948, they followed the Zionists wherever they told them to go
That’s a quesiton we still don’t understand today. How did the Jews of Morocco leave their country, the country they had lived well in for 2000 years. How did they just get up and leave one morning to go to a country where they don’t know what’s awaiting them. They gave up everything, only God knows why. Maybe because the Zionists worked hand in hand with the immigration officials of Morocco. It’s incomprehensible, why would people just give up everything they’ve had for 2000 years to go somewhere they don’t know.
So if I ask you are you Moroccan or Israeli, what would you say?
I’m Moroccan, always. I was born Moroccan and will die Moroccan.
You don’t feel Israeli?
There is no such thing as Israeli. Even if you ask the best of Jews here, what does Israeli mean, they’ll tell you I don’t know. If you ask the Russian he’ll tell you I’m from Russia, if you ask the Polish he’ll say I’m from Poland, If you ask the Jew who came from Baghdad, he’ll tell you he’s Iraqi. There is no such thing as Israeli, this word is a lie.
If I had money, I would go live in Morocco tomorrow. I’d take my wife and kids and go live there. But I can’t go there without my Moroccan papers. I went to the municipality in Morocco asking for my papers saying I’m Moroccan, they said give us some proof that you are a national, I said the Zionists took all our papers. My parents were born here, I was born here, my grandparents were born here. They said maybe the French took your papers with them when they left to France. They only have on record the Jews who left after 1950. All of those who left/
And the Arabs here in Israel, are they helping the Palestinians or…?
There is cooperation but politics makes it very difficult for them to succeed. Life is very difficult here, and the authorities know what they’re doing. They purposely differentiate between the people so they can fight eachother. Palestinians against other Palestinians, Arabs from Morocco against those from Yemen and Iraq. That way they let the people fight, while they sit back and rule over us. During those ten days I spent in Morocco, I asked people there what they thought of the situation here. They just said, we have our own problems, we can’t really get involved with Palestine. It’s their business. This is in Morocco, not even Egypt or Iraq or wherever. This is how I know that Palestinians are alone against the Zionists. So, for things to change, it’s not just on the Palestinians. All the Jews from Arab countries need to work together against this system that takes away not only land, it takes away peoples’ health, employs them for nothing. People are just living day to day, there is no money. That’s why everyone living here need to work together, there needs to be a revolution for things to change here.
Who needs to make this revolution happen?
The people! The Arab Jews, of whom 90 % live a bad life, and the Palestinians living in Israel, and the Palestinians under occupation. The roads are closed in on them, they can’t even leave where they live, they need to ask permission for everything. Everyone has to stand against this situation.