Residents of Moshav Nahalal in the Jezreel Valley watched an extraordinary event last week, when a delegation of 83 senior business people from Japan sang Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah, as part of a social initiative of world peace they had launched on the occasion of Israel’s 70th anniversary and 2,700 years of Japan, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Wednesday.
We believe their reference to the Japanese anniversary is based on the history of the Japanese monarchy, the Chrysanthemum Throne, the oldest monarchy in the world. Japanese Emperor Akihito’s family has held it for 2,700 years.
Incidentally, Emperor Akihito wants to retire, he’s 82 years old, suffers from prostate cancer, has had heart surgery, and ready to let his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, take over. But Japanese emperors are barred by the constitution from stepping down from abdicating.
Moshav Nahalal, birthplace of the legendary General Moshe Dayan, was founded in 1921 as the first moshav ovidim (workers’ cooperative agricultural settlement).
A cornerstone laying ceremony was held as part of the event last Thursday, symbolizing the commercial and tourist ties between Israel and Japan – to encourage a Japanese tourists to visit Israel. The cornerstone, in Hebrew and Japanese, reads: “The Israel-Japan Friendship Association is celebrating 70 years for Israel and 2,700 years for Japan, Japan and Israel are joining hands to bring peace to the world.”
The ceremony ended with Japanese delegation and their Israeli hosts singing Hatikvah.
The event’s organizers intend to turn it into an annual tradition that will host delegations from Japan and Israel.
Eyal Betzer, head of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council, said at the event: “The Japanese flag symbolizes the rising sun and today, June 21, is the longest day in the State of Israel.”
Betzer then noted that “Moshav Nahalal is built in the shape of a circle just like the sun, so this is the most appropriate day for an event of this kind.”
The physical layout of Nahalal, devised by architect Richard Kaufmann, became the pattern for many moshavim established before 1948; it is based on concentric circles, with the public buildings (school, administrative and offices, services, and warehouses) in the center, the homesteads in the innermost circle, the farm buildings in the next, and beyond those, an ever-widening circles of gardens and fields.
Initially divided to 80 equal parcels, 75 to the members and 5 to the legendary Kaduri agricultural school (where many of Israel’s future leaders studied, including legendary General Itzhak Rabin). This equal parceling of the land became the trademark geometric shape of Nahalal.
And now, Japanese business people sing Hatikvah: