web analytics
November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
France Jew in a French synagogue talks about rising anti-Semitism.
Israel to Ease Absorption, Employment for Immigrants from France
Latest Indepth Stories
Jo-map

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

bulb

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

Medics evacuate the dead and injured after attack on Har Nof synagogue Tuesday morning.

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Kfar Kana Riots

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

More Articles from Jerold S. Auerbach
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.

Jerold S. Auerbach

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.”

For anyone with historical memory the expulsion of Jews – by the Romans, English, French, Spaniards, Nazis, and Muslims – instantly evokes tragic episodes in Jewish history. Now the state of Israel expels Jews from their homes. Something is amiss in Zion.

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: