Israel's 18th Anniversary—Recalling 1947
Hai—from the Hebrew letters heth and yud—means life, and num-
erically adds up to 18. That is why the current 18th anniversary of
the establishment of the state of Israel is labeled the Hai anniversary
and is viewed as especially significant in the life of the people record-
ing the historic event.
In the 18 years of Israel's existence. many great accomplishments
have been recorded. The rescue effort has been uppermost, the econ-
omic gains have aided in the resettlement of nearly a million and a
half Jews from lands of oppression in an environment of freedom.
From the earliest beginnings of Zionist activities which had led to
Israel's rebirth it was a quest for life and the gains in that direction
have been of such historic significance that the miracles of the re-
demption will be recorded indelibly in world history.
But the task was not an easy one. There were struggles for free-
dom. There were battles against great odds, in defiance of obstruc-
tions by a mandatory power and in efforts to win the cooperation
of the non-Jewish world.
This reporter recalls the days just prior to the recognition of
Jewish rights by the other nations of the world. He was at the United
Nations at the time the partition proposal was being debated, and in
this column, on Nov. 28, 1947—one day before the historic vote in
favor of the establishment of a Jewish State, he wrote as follows from
A LESSON IN PATIENCE—A Note from the UN.
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y.—On the eve of the momentous decision,
our people are learning the value of patience and perseverance.
This note is being written a few minutes after the release of the
report of Sub-Committee Two (the Arab group) of the Ad Hoc
Committee on the Palestinian Question. If it had even the re-
motest chance of receiving favorable consideration, this 66-page
statement would have caused heart failure and would be an ulcer-
creator. But it stands very little chance of getting more than a
The Arabs would make second class citizens of Palestinian
Jews. They would establish an immediate independent state in
Palestine and the Jew would be relegated to the status of a
permanent minority. This can never be . . . at least in those pro-
portions which have been selected for a Jewish State. Therefore
the Arabs, having had their hearing, are overwhelmingly outvoted.
They have, of course, an eighth state—the territory set aside for
them in Palestine.
By being patient and persevering, we are witnessing the
realization of an historic dream.
Your commentator's favorite story merits repeating at this
time. It is about two gentlemen who met on a train. One was
sour, depressed, pessimistic, in ill humor. The other was phil-
osophic, patient, hopeful.
"You sound impatient, depressed," said the latter to the cheer-
less one. "You must have faith. By being patient and persever-
ing, you can win almost any point."
"I don't believe it! It can not be! You can't prove it," was
"But it is so," persisted the hopeful one.
"It is not applicable to everything," the first gentleman in-
sisted. "Patience does not work at all times. Can you prove to
me for instance, that water can be carried in a sieve?"
"Why, of course," the optimist responded. "Of course, you
can. If you have enough patience for the water to freeze."
This story is applicable to the faithful in Israel. We have
waited, and waited. and waited! And, apparently, we have not
waited in vain.
It is with patience and faith that we have conquered the
Emek, that we are recapturing the Negev, that we have gained a
Patience and faith remain to this very day Israel's major qualities,
our instruments for survival and for service to humanity.
The *Hai year of Israel's rebirth is a good time to recall the ob-
stacles, to recognize that the road to freedom is never easy, and to
take pride in the faith that makes liberty obtainable.
The Things to Remember: It Was Not an Easy Birth
Those of us who had faith also made miracles of realities and
commenced to believe in miracles. Israel's birth was in an environ-
ment of turmoil, in an area of great struggles. There were so many
difficulties, so many obstacles to be hurdled!
It would be a pity, while marking the Jewish State's 18th anni-
versary, to accept the present glorious fact of Israel's existence as an
ordinary historic development, without taking into account the
struggles that marked the obstetrics, the heroism that went with
giving the embattled area of Palestine independence.
It is urgent that the conditions that marked Jewry's position 18
years ago should not be forgotten and that fighters for freedom
should be remembered. It is especially vital that our children should
know about the early days of Palestinian struggles and Israeli
Just as it is vital that the Nazi crimes should not be forgotten,
so that there should be proper defense against their re-emergence
so is it equally important that the Israeli saga should be fully
known and appreciated. That is why the evidence that is provided
in a film about David "Mickey" Marcus, the American hero who
fought in Israel's army of liberation ("Cast a Giant Shadow"), must
be welcomed as important historic data that describes events, condi-
tions, heroes who shared in Israel's rebirth. It is by keeping alive
the historic facts that we can better understand how and why Israel
The Continuing Fight for Security
Israel's battle for freedom is not over. Israelis are well protected
by an army of dedicated citizens. But there remains the danger from
without. There is still the ganging-up by unfriendly neighbors who will
not listen to appeals for peace. There are the rumors, the libels, the
falsehoods — about the refugees and their status, about an alleged
territorial greed on Israel's part. And there are the boycotts. The
Coca-Cola episode proves it. There is no doubt that pressure from the
Arabs causes some firms to refuse to do business with Israel, and
when a .hospital director in New York suddenly plays the role of a
diplomat by judging a protest against the soft drink boycotters as
representing an element that "suddenly got excited" by the reports,
he indicates how quickly people condone an anti-American action- by
When Arabs pressure American firms to boycott their fellow
Americans because they are Jews and because they do business with
Israel, they are indecently inciting Americans against Americans;
The Miracle and the Reality
of Israel . . . The Outrages
of Boycotts and Vandalisms
and when an American yields to such pressure, he is un-American.
Meanwhile, Israel suffers from boycotts and is subjected to other
abuses from the outside.
Israel has many internal difficulties and as the State enters
upon its 19th year of existence it is not necessarily trekking a road
paved with total security. There still are many threats, and on the
anniversary that spells life — in its numerical Hai connotation —
there must be a reaffirmation of kinship between us and our kinsmen
in the Holy Land, with an assurance that neither should be abandoned
spiritually and that we shall never permit the small new nation to
be sacrificed to the wolves physically.
In other words, when we say Happy Anniversary to Israel, we
also mean hazak ve-ematz — be ever strong and we shall help
you retain strength.
Swastika Painters and 'Delinquency'
Many swastikas have been smeared in our community in the
past few years, and whenever the insanities become evident the
police attempt to console us by stating that delinquents did it, that
they were teen-age pranksters.
How many people believe that?
In some instances, paint that could not be washed off was used.
They must be little geniuses who were able to procure that type of
material with which to smear homes, public buildings, synagogues.
Last week in Oak Park, the smearing was done, according to
reports, between 1 and 5 a.m. They must have been homeless waifs —
or were they the "delinquent" parents who made the early morning
The accumulating evidence of what has been happening here
cannot be explained away so easily.
What has happened represents more than pranks, and our civic
protective movements and the protectors of our community's security
had better look into the occurrences with a bit more scrutiny.
Matchmaking by Computer: A Shadhan in New Garb
"Ein hadashot . . ." there is nothing new under the sun. Our
scientists can make all sorts of claims in certain areas, yet there are
precedents for practically everything—and especially in matchmaking!
Our young people are using dating machines, and in the process
they seem to be unaware that the shadhan in Jewish life, the match-
maker, didn't take a back seat to anyone.
Nathan Ausubel has an interesting brief essay on the shadhan and
on matchmaking in his "Treasury of Jewish Folklore" (Crown). He
shows that the matchmaker was a subject of discussion in talmudic
times, that the talmudic tractate Baba Kama seriously discussed match-
making. He also indicates that the shadhan became "a pillar of national
revival" in the period of the Crusades, when normal social life among
Jews became impossible under conditions of wholesale massacres.
The shadhan was a skilled person. He knew how to provide wealth
for the poor, when he wanted an ilui—a great talmudic scholar for a
rich girl; how to link families who were separated by distances and
such as were affected by handicaps or ailments. The matchmaker
knew haw to glorify his trade. He always offered the moon, and when
he'd be questioned he'd pooh-pooh afflictions. If a girl was deaf, he
would explain that her beauty made up for it; if she limped, it was
more than atoned for by her wisdom; and when he offered everything
— good looks, wisdom, even great wealth, and the prospective bride-
groom questioned how a girl could have everything, the shadhan
conceded a slight fault: she is only a little bit pregnant.
There is the story about the matchmaker who was confronted by
the young man with a complaint, after the first prearranged walk with
the girl: "She limps." And the shadhan had his prompt explanation:
"Only when she walks." And there was the young man who, after
the first brief social visit with the young lady, said to the matchmaker
in a whisper: "She is so homely, and she stutters!" And the match-
making genius said nonchalantly, "You need not whisper. She is also
Now the shadhan comes to life again in the form of a machine.
He was more real—there was more humor to him—in his human form.
Jewish Quiz Box
By RABBI SAMUEL J. FOX
(Copyright, 1966, JTA, Inc.)
Why is it customary for the
Mohel and the Sandek to wear
yll?is at a circumcision cere-
A number of reasons are given
for this practice. It is stated 13
covenants a r e represented by
the circumcision ceremony reflect-
ing the 13 attributes of the Al-
mighty which are brought to mind
when seeking His mercy. The rab-
bis tell us that the Almighty
showed Abraham, and later Moses,.-
how to nut on the Tallis and recite;
the 13 attributes when pleading\--
for His mercy. In the course of
the Selihoth, the cantor wears the
Tallis to carry out this formula.
Since the circumcision reflects
these attributes, both the Mohel
and the Sandek, who are the chief
personnel in the circumcision cere-
mony, wear a Tallis. It is also
claimed that there is some kind
of affinity between the fringes of
a Tallis (Tzitzith) and the circum-
cision, both commandments serv-
ing a purpose of keeping a man
away from sin. Thus, the Tanis is
worn by the Sandek and Mohel to
indicate this affinity.
* .* *
Why is it customary to make
a feast after the circumcision?
Midrashic sources (Pirke d'Rab-
bi Eliezer, Chapter 29, Midrash
Tehillim, Chapter 112) contend
that whoever brings his son to
the act of circumcision is like a
High Priest who offered his
sacrifice on the Holy Altar. There-
fore, like the High Priest he in-
vites people to partake of the feast
afterwards. The rabbis also claim
that having a feast on the day
of the circumcision is following the
pattern of Abraham who is said
to have done the same thing when
he circumcised Isaac, his son
(Genesis 21:8). It is interesting
to note that some sources consider
the day of circumcision such a
festive day that they forbid the
father to go to work that day
(Ma'mar Mordecai, Orach Chay-
yim, 468). This is so because who-
ever would bring a sacrifice in the
Temple of Old was forbidden to
work that day (Tosafot Pesachim
50A). A father who has his son
circumcised is compared to one
who offered a sacrifice in the
Temple and is thus forbidden to
work that day.
Hard Bargain in Israel: Arab Prisoner Exchange
By ELIAHU SALPETER
JTA Correspondent in Israel
JERUSALEM — Last summer,
three Israelis — Oded Meir, 24;
David Hanukah, 40; and the lat-
ter's 12-year-old son, drove down
to the Besor area, near the Gaza
border, to buy some melons. They
did not know their way around,
got off the truck and walked to-
ward some people to ask for direc-
tions. It turned out that the men
were Arabs, and that the Israelis
had inadvertently crossed about 50
yards into Egyptian-held territory.
Even before they could quickly
withdraw, a patrol of the U.N.
Emergency Force, which guards
the border since the Sinai cam-
paign, appeared on the scene, took
the three Israeli civilians into
custody and, despite their explana-
tion, handed them over, next day,
to the Egyptian authorities.
The case created a minor furor
in Israel and brought about a con-
siderable deterioration in relations
with the UN organs here. The in-
cident was also embarrassing to
the UN Secretariat, and Secretary-
General U Thant personally par-
ticipated in the protracted negotia-
tions with the Egyptians to obtain.
the release of the two adults and
the child. •
First, the Egyptians demanded
a huge ransom in money for the
three. Then, when it became
known that Prime Minister Esh-
kol received their families to
hear their appeal for an all-out
Israeli effort to obtain their
release, the Egyptians suddenly
changed their demands. They
wanted, in exchange, all Egyp-
tians caught and sentenced in
Israel for security violations.
It turned out that the Egyptians
could not imagine that the Prime
Minister takes a personal interest
in the fate of three simple citizens;
they were convinced that the three
were relatives of Eshkol and
thus "valuable hostages." Israel,
of course, rejected the Egyptian
demand and the negotiations con-
tinued, on and off. Finally, Cairo
apparently got the better out of
the negotiations. When the ex-
change took place, Israel handed
over to the Egyptians two of their
marauders caught inside Israel
with submachine guns in their pos-
session and Kaburak Yakubian,
one of the most successful "plants"
of the Egyptian intelligence in
The exchange brought again
to public attention the fate of
Israeli prisoners in Arab hands
and the question of their ex-
change f o r prisoners wanted
back by the Arabs.
While some Israelis cross the
border either because they get in-
volved here with the police or for
personal reasons, the overwhelm-
ing majority are people who in-
advertently stray across unmarked
stretches of the frontier. The
Jordanian and Lebanese author-
ities behave in this matter in a
more-or-less civilized manner. Chil-
dren and mentally unbalanced per-
sons (who form a large part of the
border trespassers) are returned
without undue delay, and adults
are also returned after investiga si -
tion. The Egyptians, on the other;,
hand, hold captured strayers for,.
months and even years, use third-
degree methods trying to extract
information or induce them to
agree to anti-Israel activities,
Worst are the Syrians, whose
behavior can only be described
as barbarian. Usually, for years,
they deny that the missing
Israeli is in their hands. When
his being in prison is somehow
established, they simply refuse
to hand him back. It is known
that they are holding Israelis
who have been in their jails for
five, seven, or even 10 years.
The I s r a e l i authorities have
come under criticism for these
exchanges. The press and the pub-
lic questioned the wisdom of
handing over trained marauders
and valuable spies to the Egyptians
for innocent citizens, whose re-
lease should have been obtained
long ago by the UN which was
responsible for their being handed
over to the Egyptians, in the first
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
2 Friday, April 22, 1966