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May 07, 1971 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1971-05-07

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Green's Zion Travelogue Adds a Gem to His Writings


Zion is filled with stones. Many
have been removed by pioneer
builders of Israel. There still are
stones in the oaths of the redeem-
ers of Eretz Israel. It takes a
poetic soul to grasp the signifi-
cance of what is transpiring in
that land.
Many have written about it.
Scores of books have been pub-
lished on the subject. Others are
in the making and new ones ap-
pear almost weekly.
Gerald Green,:a novelist who has
captured the imagination of his
readers, has written another such
book under the title "The Stones
of Zion." Gerald Green, who be-
came famous for his "The. Last
Angry Man,"- is the author of this
impressive, informative and deli-
ghtful new book, published by
Hawthorn Books.
(Green also is the author of
"To Brooklyn With Love" and "The
Lotus Eaters" and another of his
new books, "The Wrong Hungar-
ian," is a most recent issue from
Trident Press).
Green's "The Stones of Zion"
takes into account every con-
ceivable aspect of Jewish life
relating to Israel; it deals with
tourists and archeologists, his-
torians and kibutzniks. There is
humor in it and pathos is not
ignored. In its totality, it is fac-
tual and as an observer Green
is superb.
Because he concerns himself
with the human aspects and the
very beginning of his story is an
account of non-Jewish tourists,
the Gerald G r e e n story is for
Christians as much as for Jews.
As a matter of fact, Israelis will
learn much from it. For instance,
he chats with the man who pro-
duced the best guides to Israel,
Zev Vilnay, and the report on his
conversations with the Vilnays
make reading as fascinating as
its author's novels.
Green gives credence to the
views of the people he has met
and chatted with. One of the Is-
raelis gets into his book with
this interesting comment:
"God offered the Command-
ments first to the Arabs. 'What's
in it?' the Arabs asked. Thou
shalt not steal, God said. Not
interested. Then, he offered
them to the French. 'What's in
it?' they asked. Thou shalt not
commit adultery. 'Sorry, not in-
terested.' So he offered the Com-
mandments to the Germans.
'What's in it?' they asked. Thou
shalt not kill. 'Impossible,' said
the Germans, 'we don't want
'em.' So he came to the Jews.
And the Jews asked God, 'what
do they cost?"Nothin', said God.
'Fine,' they said, 'we'll take two
of them.' That is why there are
two tablets."
The effect of Israel's continuing
glory is reflected in another com-
ment, quoted as follows: .
"This country is the only place
on earth where •there are an-
cient remains that the local peo-
ple can identify with their own
culture, language, literature,
religion and tradition. There is
a continuity of our history from
early times to the present and
we find it buried in this earth."
Then there is the description of
life in the kibutz, and the reality
of it is described in these senti-
"Kibutz life is appealing to
many of us . . . We have our
problems though. Many people
complain of the lack of privacy.
They get tired of being cheek-
by-jaw with the same people all
the time. We try to overcome
this though. The evening meal
no longer need be eaten in the
dining hall. Our school is run
somewhat differently also. The
children don't spend the entire
day at the school or sleep there.
They come home at 4:30 in the
afternoon and sleep with the

Thousands of ArabsQuit Jordan for West Bank

Gerald Green in a reflective
moment at Rockefeller Museum
in Jerusalem.

"This did not thoroughly re-
assure me. But he did know
his way around Jericho. A lady
tourist, a New York school-
teacher, was having trouble with
her shoe. Our guide had the bus
stop in the heart of downtown
Jericho, found a cobbler, and
had it fixed. On the way back
he bought dates from a pushcart
and chatted with some elderly
Arabs puffing nargilehs outside
a coffee shop. (This compulsion
to buy Arab fruits and vege-
tables is universal in Israel)."
There are 64 pages of photo-
graphs—all but two of them taken
by the author and his wife Marie
who figures in this book as his
traveling companion.
There is great charm and fas-
cination in Green's "The Stones of
Zion," as this concluding descrip-
tive story indicates:
"Golden stones—burning sky
—desert air. I was vaguely,
Pleasantly, dizzy. Nelson Glueck
was right: This is a land of ex-
tremes. Yet how could they go
about their day-to-day existence,
burdened with all that history,
all those responsibilities? How
does a small nation stage con-
certs and educate children and
cure diseases and build apart-
ments and grow wheat—and still
fight an endless war?
"Zeve, you are a people who
don't give a visitor any choice.
You- make us believe. You forced
me to believe in you.
"He squinted at me from be-
neath the brim of his Panama
hat. 'What is this "believe in
you," Gerald? If you believe in
us, my boy, it means only one
thing. You believe in yourself.'
"And, of course, he was right."
Totally good, Gerald Green has
added a gem to his writings.—P.S.

family. It's considered a radical
departure by the traditional
among kibutz educators."
Green doesn't pull any punches
when it comes to criticizing
American visitors to Israel. There
is a chapter entitled "Who Are
We Waiting For—Moshe Dayan?"
He was on an Egged bus. One
tourist was late and there had to
be a wait of some minutes. Green
"There was an American-Jew-
ish family on the bus (I shall
try to be objective about them)
who, from the moment of board-
ing, acted as if they had invent-
ed Israel. The details pain me.
They sang, they joked, they
were loud, they applauded, they
called to one another and they
seemed to want the other tour-
ists to notice them. Look at us,
how Jewish, how pro-Israeli we
When we are happy we are al-
are! They made me uncomfor-
table. They had built a fence ways good but when we are good
around their Zionist pride. They we are not always happy.
talked to no one else—a mother
and father, two sons, and a
daughter—and there was some-
thing about their insular exhibi-
tionism that did not invite par-
"After some loud complaints
about delay, the woman — the
most aggressive of the party,
leader of songs, applause, cheers
—walked up to the driver and
spoke angrily to him. What is
going on here? Who are we
waiting for—Moshe Dayan?
"He looked at her with the
weary wisdom of a man who
had run armored buses through
the Latrun Pass. 'Lady, in this
country everybody is Moshe
"It silenced her, but not for
long. The missing tourist ar-
rived, we left a bit behind
schedule, and spent an enjoy-
able day in western Galilee. I
tell the story to indicate the in-
formal nature of organized tours
in Israel. I recommended them
wholeheartedly to the tourist.
The guides are superb: well-in-
formed, friendly, multilingual.
'Many of them were trained by
my redoubtable friend, Zev Vil-
nay. The drivers are skillful,
patient, good-natured. Normally
I am not a man for organized
group tours, but strictures of
time and schedule required us
to do some of our sight-seeing
by bus. It turned out to be a
good decision.
"One of the first tours we
took was to Jericho. It had a
marvelously ad-lib quality. To
begin with, Jericho is occupied
territory, a West Bank city that
once housed a great many Arab
refugees. Private cars still can-
not drive through the West
Bank area at night, but tours
leave daily from the major cities.
"Absolutely safe," the short,
stout guide said. "I know all
Aisiwe 1.9
the Arabs in Jericho."

of Arab families are moving every
week out of Jordan and resettling
on the West Bank (Judea and
Shomron) now held by Israel, ac-
cording to a story in Haaretz.
Israel's military authorities place
no obstacles in the way, other than
to exclude those who have a rec-
ord considered dangerous to Is-
rael's security.
In the past 36 months, more

Friday, May 7, 1971-21

than 12,000 Arabs left Jordan,
and the flow of migrants was ac-
celerated in the wake of the bloody
civil war that raged in Jordan
last year.



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