The agricultural engineer Akush Shimon came to Israel because of “the identification of citizens,” a synonym for the anti-Semitism that has become common in Hungary in recent months. He sleeps next to the shelter in an Absorption Center in Ashdod, but dreams in Hungarian about finding work in the field that he loves: environmental science.
Since the rise of the Hungarian radical nationalist political party Jobbik, anti-Semitism has become common in Hungary and has spread from the minority to the majority.
Akush (first name) Shimon (last name) tells me that as soon as they started “identifying” people in Hungary and documenting their origins, the specific party that is in government became irrelevant. No matter who happens to be in government, the individuals who are “identified” will suffer. I asked him if he is referring to anti-Semitism and he says, “Certainly.”
Usually, he sleeps in his room in the Absorption Center, at Beit Canada in Ashdod. However, since the rockets started falling on Ashdod, he prefers to be close to the protected area ─ and to tell his family in Hungary that everything’s “normal,” with the hope that they will also make Aliyah soon.
He came to Israel as a volunteer on Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava. There, working on a project associated with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, he became familiar with the natural environment of the area, which is the lowest place in the world ─ and he fell in love with it.
He studied agricultural engineering and specialized in environmental studies, and he has been learning Hebrew at the Ulpan in Beit Canada since April, 2014 in the hope that he will be able to find work in the field that he loves. “My grandfather likes to say that what is good for Hungary is good for Israel, and I accept this.”
He sits in the Absorption Center and tries to be controlled, but he does not miss the opportunity to mention why he left Hungary and why he wants to bring his parents on Aliyah.
“The ‘identification’ in Hungary is not just for Jews, but also for the Roma; and it no longer matters who will be in government, the dam has been broken and Jews will suffer under any government.”
When I asked him what he tells his family on the phone about the situation in Israel, he says, “I tell them that everything is fine. I am in Ulpan, studying Hebrew and looking for work.”
His parents were tourists in Israel several years ago, and he hopes that they will be convinced and will come.