web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Promised Land Of Paradox

Front-Page-121313

A decade further along, Shavit was a paratrooper posted in Palestinian cities. His “existential fear” for Israel’s future converged with his “moral outrage” over “occupation.” Following military service and philosophy studies at Hebrew University he launched his career in journalism by writing a pamphlet for Peace Now, describing settlements as Israel’s “folly.” A young writer for the left-wing weekly Koteret Rashit during the eighties, in the mid-nineties he moved to the left-wing daily Haaretz, where he has ranked ever since among Israel’s top journalists.

Along the way, Shavit began to ask: “Why was my Israel occupying and oppressing another people?” His mournful lament in My Promised Land (Spiegel & Grau) subtitled “The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” is his answer. Predictably, it has aroused considerable interest in American liberal precincts, where Israel is hardly warmly embraced. In the space of eight November days The New York Times ran Thomas Friedman’s suggestion that Shavit’s book be required reading for President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu; a laudatory review in the daily edition; an op-ed by Shavit himself blaming the recent U.S.-Iran confrontation on President George W. Bush and praising President Obama for demanding a settlement freeze in 2009.

The fusillade of praise was capped by a front-page review in the Times Book Review by New Republic columnist Leon Wieseltier, who joined Shavit in condemning “the utter derangement of the settlement policies in territories that Israel has an urgent and prudent interest in evacuating.”

Shavit has a political axe to grind, which is noisiest when he contrasts his moral golden age of kibbutz socialism, embodied in the founding of Ein Harod in 1921, with the “calamity” of Jewish settlements, launched in Samaria with Ofra in 1975. His sharp contrast between kibbutz morality and settlement immorality, converging in Israel’s “triumph and tragedy” after the Six-Day War, provides the central narrative theme of betrayal that pervades My Promised Land.

Shavit is smitten by Ein Harod, built between Degania (the first Zionist kibbutz, founded in 1909) and the Arab city of Jenin, on land purchased from its Egyptian absentee owner. In their “colonization process,” several dozen Jewish pioneers built a “communist colony. A kibbutz.” In Shavit’s judgment, they were “blessed and cursed with convenient blindness. They see the Arabs but they don’t.” After nearly two thousand years of exile, settlement in Palestine was “the Jewish people’s last resort.” Ein Harod was an experiment to determine “whether the Jews can establish a new secular civilization in their ancient homeland,” while realizing “the dreams of Jewish socialism in the Land of Israel.”

For Zionism to prevail, Shavit writes, there must be “a well-organized, disciplined socialist structure.” Without it, Zionism would lack “the sense of moral superiority that is essential for the colonization process to succeed. Without the communal aspect of kibbutz, socialist Zionism will lack legitimacy and will be perceived as an unjust colonialist movement.” Only kibbutz socialism could provide moral justification for Zionism “to take the valley and to take the land.” The young “comrades” settling the land “do not ask themselves how the eighty thousand Jews living in Palestine in 1921 will deal with more than six hundred thousand Arabs” who are already there. Nor, for that matter, does Shavit.

On acreage purchased from the Sarsouk family, the settlers of Ein Harod would “build and transform themselves in a valley inhabited by others.” To be sure, some lingering serfs and local villagers who remained nearby became “friendly neighbors.” But not for long. Following initial outbursts of gunfire from Arabs who did not welcome Jews to their neighborhood, and fires set in kibbutz fields, open hostility erupted with the Arab revolt in 1936. There was no alternative to Zionist military power, and kibbutzim like Ein Harod became the military vanguard in the struggle for Jewish statehood.

About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Promised Land Of Paradox”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PM Netanyahu
Netanyahu Attacks the Iran Nuclear Deal as “Unconscionable” [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Aaron Kotler

Those seeking accounting, finance, business, healthcare, technology, etc., will often enter a specialized graduate degree “track” created by Lakewood’s Professional Career Services, in conjunction with local institutions of higher education, for our alumni.

A still from recently unearthed FoxMovieTone Film

We are grateful to Hashem that we have been privileged to institute this program and that over the years we have experienced tremendous siyata d’shmaya, with the program spreading throughout the world and its membership rapidly rising.

.

Indifference to the pain of the many singles should require us to have our heart, not head, examined

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

More Articles from Jerold S. Auerbach
Knesset

For nearly sixty-five years national self-definition has been the skeleton in the closet of Israeli politics and culture.

Front-Page-081514

Times reporter Anne Barnard reported (7/15) that Israel was to blame (so her Palestinian sources asserted) for its continued “occupation” of Gaza – which, Barnard failed to note, ended nearly a decade ago.

During much of the 20th century, elite American colleges and universities carefully policed their admission gates to restrict the entry of Jews. Like its Big Brothers – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – Wellesley College, where I taught history between 1971 and 2010, designed admission policy to perpetuate a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite.

Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers (Harper) explores the lives of seven Israeli paratroopers in the Six-Day War who, his subtitle suggests, “Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.” It offers a fascinating variation on the theme of Israel at a fateful crossroads, in search of itself, following the wondrously unifying moment at the Western Wall in June 1967 when Jewish national sovereignty in Jerusalem was restored for the first time in nineteen centuries.

In death as in life, Menachem Begin remained who he had always been: a proud yet humble Jew.

Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.

One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Nearly sixty-five years ago Israel declared its independence and won the war that secured a Jewish state. But its narrow and permeable postwar armistice lines permitted incessant cross-border terrorist raids. For Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the mere existence of a Jewish state remained an unbearable intrusion into the Arab Middle East. As Egyptian President Nasser declared, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-promised-land-of-paradox/2013/12/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: