Yad L'achim's archives present a chilling document, hand-written by the inhabitants of one of the Ma'abarot (Transit camps) which were temporary housing villages for immigrants during the early years of the State of Israel. They describe their deep pain about the anti-religious coercion and the life style forced upon them, so distant from their beliefs. Incredulous.
Ksalon transit camp (Ma'abara) was set up on the hillside of Beit Shemesh in 1949-1950, as housing for Jewish immigrants from Yemen. Ksalon was the first such Ma'abara to be set up, as was publicized in the "Davar" newspaper of 23.5.1950.
Last week, the first Ma'abara has been established on the mountain slopes of southern Ksalon, in the hills of Jerusalem. The Ma'abara is a temporary settlement, for immigrants who have been taken from the immigrant camps for foresting work. They live with their families in tents.
Six years later, in 1955, Ksalon was inhabited by immigrants from Tunisia and Morocco.
The inhabitants of Ksalon had unfortunate spiritual experiences.
In the letter before us, (date unknown) the inhabitants of the Ma'abara pour out their hearts to Yad L'achim about their plight. (Unfortunately, we don't know if the people were from Yemen, Morocco or Tunisia). They complain that the wardens of the Ma'abara raise their children in a way far distant to Torah and Mitzvot. The immigrants yearn to see them continuing the lives of Torah and Mitzvot as they had been used to in their homelands. They appeal to Yad L'achim to establish a religious school so that their wish to educate their children according to the Torah should be fulfilled.
Following is a translation of the letter of protest from the inhabitants of Ksalon:
B"H, Wednesday, the 18th of Tevet: This is to affirm that we, the inhabitants of Ksalon camp, stand together as one. We have been religious from days of antiquity, and the Torah of the A-mighty we shall never forsake nor exchange. Shabbat and Mitzvot we shall not forget nor transgress. The wardens of the Ksalon camp came and took our daughters and sons, even the married ones, and brought them to the Israeli military against our will, and accustomed them to corruption, and we do not agree to all this. We came to the holy land to add sanctity to our existing kedusha, and this was denied to us by the counselors. We ask the government of Israel to give us back our daughters and wives, we will not give up, even at the price of our lives.
They desecrate the holy Shabbat, the counselors and soldiers smoke on Shabbat, and do all sorts of forbidden acts on the Shabbat, r"l. More so, they even take married women, and dance with them, and teach our children the ways of promiscuity. May Hashem take revenge upon them.
We ask for a religious school so that our children will learn and be educated – Tancha and Gemara, and all the words of The Living G-d."