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November 16, 1962 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1962-11-16

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TH E DETROIT JEWISH NEWS -- Friday, Novembe r 16, 1962

Purely Commentary

David Ben-Gurion — the Historian; His Analysis of
Early Failures and Current Successes in Holy Land

David Ben-Gurion, Israel's 77-year-old Prime Minister, the
stormy personality who does not hesitate to speak his mind, es-
pecially when he sets out to emphasize his conviction that Jews
even from countries as free as ours must settle in Israel, also
loves to delve in history—as he does in literature and the Bible.
He never fails to tell Jews from all sections of the globe that
they must become a pioneering part of Israel. For instance, in
welcoming the large gifts to Israel made by the Bronfmans of
Canada, he reproved them with the admonition that their monies
are worthless unless one or some of them settle in Israel. (We
are informed that a grandchild of Bronfman—of the Seagram
family—actually plans to settle in Israel).
B-G loves to do .research and to draw upon historical expe-
riences when speaking of Israel. He did, that in his addreSs to
UJA leaders who were visiting Israel. In that speech, he made
reference to the fact that "the Silver Jubilee of the UJA falls in
the year of the First Pioneers—our Mayflower Pilgrims, to use
an American term—and in the 15th year of the resurgence of
the State of Israel."
His 'Mayflower Pilgrims" reference was to the French Alsa-
tian Jew Karl Netter who. a century ago, together with Adolf
Cremieux, the Jewish leader who was involved in efforts to over-
come prejudices against his people and in fighting the atrocious
blood libel propaganda during the Damascus incident of 1850, and
who was a Minister in the Gambetta government, founded the Alli-
ance Israelite Universelle, the French Jewish social service, educa-
tional and relief organization.
Netter's importance in Israel's history lies in the fact that
he founded Mikveh Israel, the agricultural school south of Tel •
Aviv on the way to Rishon LeZion and Hehovoth, 90 years ago.
Ben-Gurion called the establishment of Mikveh Israel by Netter
"the first practical- Zionist program which was proposed in the
19th century, and he quoted Netter as having described the
objective of the school as follows: "To bring up the new gen-
eration to till the soil, thus preparing a place of shelter and
refuge for our brethren, who today or tomorrow will flee in
large numbers from the hatred of their Gentile neighbors in the
lands where they reside, and we shall settle them gradually in
the Holy Land, to which the eves of all Israel are always up-
lifted, and then we shall see the new Jerusalem with our own
What remarkable vision on the part of a an who uttered
these words 75 years before the rebirth of Israel!
Ben-Gurion pointed out in his address that Netter directed
the Mikveh Israel school for four years, but he was "overcome by
bitter disappointment" due to the unfortunate experience of
Mikveh Israel itself, the abandonment of Petach Tikvah, the first
moshava, founded eight years after Mikveh, and the failure of
other attempts," and Netter expressed his despair in a letter to
'a French newspaper in which he wrote:
"Is it desirable that the Land of Israel should be settled
by Jews from Russia and Romania? Before passing judgment
we must examine the fate of the settlements that have been
created in this country during the past few years. The first
was founded by the Americans 15 years ago at the approach
to Jaffa; in less than 18 months the US Consul-General had
to send the survivors back to America. The second was founded
12 years ago by the Templars. Some of them settled in North
Jaffa and some in the neighborhood of Haifa. The members
of these two communities, having lost the resources they brought
with them, led precarious lives with the aid of charitable. dona-
tions collected in Germany and America. The third (Petach
Tikva) was founded two years ago by Jews from Hungary about
two miles from Jaffa. It was abandoned at the end of the first
"The following are the reasons for the failure of these
"1. The poor quality of the land acquired in the healthy
"2. All the fertile land in the healthy districts is occupied
by the Arabs, who should not be robbed of it.
"3. The trials of people from a northern country working
in the burning sun. .
"4. As the needs of the Arabs are few, and they are con-
tent. with their scanty produce, the Europeans cannot receive a
sufficient return for their toil.
"5. Lack of protection from the Arabs, who damage the
crops, either directly or through their cattle.
"6. Methods of tax exaction that enslave the farmer to the
rich tax-collector; when it comes to an argument the fanners
depend on the mercies of official bribe-takers.
"To these reasons for lack of success the following, which
are liable to affect members of our people in particular, should
be added:
"7. The religious injunctions connected with agriculture in
the Land of Israel, such as the tithe . and the Sabbatical year,
which are indeed good if the whole country obeys them, but are
bad and harmful with conditions as they are.
"8. The fact that there are no land-workers among our
people; and if there are a few, who were merchants or artisans
and trained for fann work in their own countries, there is
not a man among them who can succeed in a climate so dif-
ferent from theirs.
"9. The scanty capital of the immigrants, which is not
sufficient for buying land, digging wells, building houses, get-
ting farm tools, buying cattle and seed, and making a living
during the first two years until they can support themselves.
A Jewish settlement will have to have, in addition, a place for
prayer, a school, a public bath, and a hospital, and the officials
required by these institutions.
"If, as may be expected, the colonists in Palestine do not
succeed in their efforts, they too will deepen still further the
grievous poverty that has reigned since days of old among the
Jews of this country. From the point of view of the European
Jews, a special danger might also be involved in this attempt
to settle in the Land of Israel, namely that public opinion may
change its attitude to this movement, imputing to it other mo-
tives, and in a short time we may witness a catastrophe the
like of which Israel has not known during the past two thousand


David Ben-Gurion
Tells How Israel
Defies Pessimism

By Philip


Such were the disappointments that preceded Israel's redemp-
tion. They were multiplied a thousand-fold during the 90 years
since Mikveh Israel was created by Netter. Ben-Burion stated in
his impressive speech that Netter remained an enthusiastic and
devoted lover of Zion until his dying day; that he returned to
the Holy Land and died in Mikveh Israel on Oct. 2, 1882. B-G
then proceeded to describe the developments which led to the
present realities, defying the fears that were expressed by Netter
and stated:
"Netter's disappointment was the outcome of the reality
in the Land of Israel in his day, but our agricultural endeavor,
which has never been interrupted since that time, has refuted
his dismal prophecies. The pioneering will of the settlers and
their capacity for action triumphed over the obstacles of nature,
the fact that many left the country, the corruption of the Otto-
man regime, the opposition of the obscurantists in the Old Yishuv,
and the absence of any agricultural tradition among the settlers;
and we have created in this country a Jewish agriculture which
is the most advanced in the entire Asian continent, and is not
inferior in progressiveness and productivity to that of the most
advanced countries in Europe.
"The second achievement that refuted the prophecies of
the pessimists—the most prominent of whom was the greatest
Jewish thinker who wrote in the Hebrew language in the 19th
century, Ahad Haam—was Jewish labor. Many believed that
the Jews were capable of being estate owners and overseers,
but that the plain, hard, rough work would not be done by Jews,
and that impression prevailed for decades &u•ing the growth
of our settlement in this country. That dismal prophecy too was
refuted: if the Jewish people in its own land has been distin-
guished in any fundamental respect from all Jewish communi-
ties in the Diaspora, whether in the United States or the Soviet
Union, Morocco or Switzerland—it is in the fact that in Israel
the Jews themselves do with their own hands every kind of
work—without exception—that is done in the country: in the
fields, workshops and factories, in passenger and cargo ships,
on the railways, in construction' and roadmaking, in ship-build-
ing and aircraft overhaul—and, of course, in scientific research;
and the productivity and scientific standards in Israel are not
inferior to those of the most advanced countries in Europe.
Here we have become a working nation. -
"The third change that took place in our people is one
that few even began to believe in 80 years ago—the transfor-
mation of the Hebrew language into a spoken tongue. Ninety
years ago there was not . a single Jewish child in the entire
world whose mother tongue was Hebrew; now it is spoken by
two million Jews in Israel, Buddhist youths in Asia, Christians
and Moslems in Africa, and even the ambassadors in Israel of
powerful States in America and Europe.
"When the first agricultural school was built here 90 years
ago, there were about 12,000 Jews in the country. During the
36 years between the founding of Petach Tikva and the First
World War, some 60,000 Jews settled in the Land of Israel—
about 1,650 a year. During the 30 years of the British Mandate
—from 1918 to 1948—about 482,000 Jews came, an average of
16,000 a year. Diming the first 14 years of the State, the im-
migrants totalled one million and seventy thousand—an annual
average of 76,500. The first agricultural settlements were es•
tablished, including 223 kibbutzim and moshavim. In the 14
years since the rise of the State, 443 settlements have been
established, 371 of the mkibbutzim and moshavim.
"The extent to which the Jewish population in Israel is
different from all other Jewish communities in the world is
shown by .the percentage that is organized in the Histadrut,
the General Federation of Labor. Forty-two years ago, when
the Histadrut was founded, it had 4,433 members, numbering
seven per cent of the Jewish population, comprising together
with their children over a half of the entire community.
"During the brief period of its existence, the State of Israel
has transformed the image of the Jew in the eyes of the non-
Jewish world. The non-Jews in Europe and America regarded
the Jews (though even then incorrectly) as a people engaged
mainly in trade and finance, having no 'connection with the
tilling of the soil or manual labor in general. They looked upon
the Jew as a coward, incapable of fighting, though the Jews
fought in the armies of the countries where they lived with no
less valor than their Gentile neighbors.
"Israel has created a new image of the Jew in the world—
the image of a working and, at the same time, an intellectual
people; the image of a people that can fight with no less heroism
than the most powerful nations. The tillers of the soil and the
workers on the one hand, and the Israel Defense Forces on the
other, have created a new type of Jew, arousing respect through-
out the world.
"The enhancement of Israel's prestige on the international
scene, in consequence of the valuable work she is doing for
developing nations in three continents, has also increased the
honor in which the Jew is held everywhere."
In this fashion, Ben-Gurion has described how Israel has,
indeed, defied pessimism, how the Israelis have refuted fear-
mongers and how they have rejected an abandonment to panic.
It was the pioneering of a Karl Netter, the sacrifices of the
early settlers, the work of the labor element as represented today
in the Histadrut, the statesmanship of the Zionists—no matter
how Ben-Gurion may object to the Zionism of the present time—
and the courage of men like Ben-Gurion that has made possible
the emergence of the present time.
The Netters and the others who, with him, made this great
era possible, should never be forgotten. They won't be as long
as B-G delves into history.

Honoring Ambassador-Elect David Tesher

Our community's reception in honor of Israel Consul David
Tesher next Wednesday deserves considerable attention. The
Israeli diplomat, who has been elevated to become his country's
Ambassador in Australia, has his offics in Chicago. Yet, he has
been here often, has participated in many of our community's
affairs and has been helpful to us in all matters involving
American Jewry's participation in pro-Israel projects. He has
made many friends here and upon leaving his post as Consul for
Israel in our Midwestern Slates he takes with him the affections
of Jewish communities and their best wishes for success in his
new assignment.

Festive Banquet
Will Launch 25th
UJA Anniversary

The historical impact made
by the United Jewish Appeal
on the world Jewish community
will be highlighted by a series
of distinguished American and
Israeli leaders at a banquet Dec.
8, marking the official opening
of the year-long observance of
the UJA. 25th anniversary year.
It will be held at - the Ameri-
cana Hotel, New York, and will
constitute one of the features
of the Dec. 7-9 UJA 25th an-
nual national conference.
Welcoming the more than
2,000 delegates at the banquet
will be Herbert H. Lehman,
honorary general chairman of
the UJA 25th anniversary year
Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel For-
eign Minister, will trace the
vitally important role played by
the UJA in the development of
The history - packed years
since UJA's creation in January
1939, will be recalled by Ed-
ward M. M. Warburg, UJA na-
tional chairman and chairman
of the Joint Distribution Com-
mittee, a principal beneficiary
of UJA funds. Joseph Meyer-
hoff, UJA general chairman,
will outline the functions of the
Another highlight of the eve-
ning will be a specially-pre-
pared audio-visual presentation,
"The UJA Story," portraying
the headline-making events that
marked the epochal years since
the establishment of the UJA.
Included will be filmed mes-
sages by Israel Prime Minister
David Ben-Gurion and Trygve
Lie, former UN Secretary-Gen-
eral, and a message by Dr.
Joseph J. Schwartz, executive
vice-president of Isi'ael Bonds
and former executive vice-chair-
man of the UJA. The narration
will be delivered by Chet Hunt-
Earlier, an Oneg Shabbat ses-
sion will be devoted to "The
Meaning of UJA—A Historical
Review." Speakers will include
Moshe Sharett, chairman of the
Israel national committee to ob-
serve the UJA 25th Anniver-
sary Year, and Rabbi Herbert
A. Friedman, UJA executive
vice-chairman. Presiding at this
session will be Max M. Fisher,
UJA national chairman.

Israel Cabinet
Expected to OK
Educational TV

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

JERUSALEM — Formal ap-
proval of an educational tele-
vision pilot project in Israel is
expected to be given by the
cabinet next week, it was report-
ed here Tuesday.
Approval is expected after
completion of negotiations by
government representatives with
the Edmond James Rothschild
Memorial Group which is
financing the project.
The Education Ministry Direc-
tor General and representatives
of the Rothschild Group will
head the project jointly.
As part of the pilot plan, a
number of Israelis will soon
leave for the U.S. and Europe
for training with television com-
panies in those countries.

Imports from U. S.
to Israel Increase

rael's imports from the United
States during the past 12 months
have -increased by 13 per cent
over the previous year, accord-
ing to figures released here by
the Department of Commerce.
The data showed that during the
first 10 months of 1962 Israel
imported goods valued at $101,-
000,000 from the United States,
compared with a total of $86,-
000,000 in the same period last

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