Quotation from David Ben Gurion “It lacks the most basic and primary con­cepts of civilization” — Nov. 27 1950

Referring to Yemeni Jews in a letter to the first Israeli Chief of Staff, Yigael Yadin.

Author : Thematics :
" This tribe is in some ways more easily absorbed, both culturally and economically, than any other. It is hardworking, it is not at­tracted by city life, it has—or at least, the male part has—a good grounding in Hebrew and the Jewish heritage. Yet in other ways it may be the most problematic of all. It is two thousand years behind us, perhaps even more. It lacks the most basic and primary con­cepts of civilization (as distinct from culture). Its attitude toward women and children is primitive. Its physical condition poor. Its bodily strength is depleted and it does not have the minimal no­tions of hygiene. For thousands of years it lived in one of the most benighted and impoverished lands, under a rule even more back­ward than an ordinary feudal and theocratic regime. The passage from there to Israel has been a profound human revolution, not a superficial, political one. All its human values need to be changed from the ground up. "

Tom Segev, 1949, The First Israelis (Owl Books, 1998), p. 186-187.

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