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Diplomacy and Prophecy: Jewry vis-a-vis Israel
to the original borders contemplated in the
UN Partition Plan of 1947."
There isn't much hope for an accord out
of deliberations with the Arabs, and there is
need, therefore, for caution. Diplomacy must
be confronted cautiously. The old Hebrew
warning — kabdehu v'hashdehu — Respect
(your antagonist) but suspect him. It is not a
Even a minimal measure of calm on the
part of the people of Israel is complimentary
to a people living under duress. It stems
from the will to live, and it is patterned on
the scale of historic experience which impels
the endangered to keep building protective
means for survival.
A testing of Israel's psychological ap-
proaches to dangers, the judging of situations
that create tensions and doubts, must be
viewed globally. The entire world may be
"From Renaissance to Renaissance" (Ktav) by Prof. Eisig Silber-
affected by what is happening in the Middle
of the University of Texas, former president of Hebrew College,
East. Therefore, Jews wherever they may be
will be inevitably embroiled in all the devel- Brookline, Mass., is subtitled as "Hebrew Literature from 1492 to
oping crises—and the indications and the anx- 1970." Thus, this volume traces the record much earlier than the
ieties are that the critical situation will con- beginning for such study suggested by Prof. Joseph Klausner as
tinue for a long time.
being that of the period of Naphtali Herz Wessely (1725-1805).
In the circumstances, whatever affects
In an introductory note, Dr. Silberschlag states that Klausner
Israel also affects the Israelis' kinsmen. It
the Wessely period rather than that of Moses Hayyim Luzzat-
affects American Jewry especially because
because: "though Luzzatto, in Klausner's view, was
the United States has a stake in the Middle
to Wessely, the latter was modern and aggressive
American Jews must, therefore concern in the good fight on behalf of enlightenment and secular education."
themselves with greater dedication than ever
Thus, from earliest periods of Hebrew literary creativity to the
to the needs that assure Israel's survival. present the author of this new elaboration has covered on the vital
When the 6,000,000-plus Jewish population in
this country is confronted with the need of subject thoroughly.
raising a billion dollars in support of Israel's
Its completeness is evident in the fact that he has included in
social, welfare, educational and immigrant- his study a most interesting volume by a Detroiter, the late Aaron
•bsorption needs in a single year, at a time D. Markson (1882-1932), who translated into Hebrew Mark Twain's
when the military costs had run into the mil- "The Prince and the Pauper."
lions (and the U. S. military assistance ex-
Mention also is made of the works of the eminent Detroit non-
ceeds the $2,000,000,000 mark), it is well to
ask whether even the extremes in generosity agenarian, Bernard Isaacs, superintendent-emeritus of the United
even 'begin to fill the need of the current Hebrew Schools, who, at 91, still is writing and publishing short
Students of philanthropic Jewish records stories.
In his comments about the two eminent Detroit scholars Silber-
will no doubt point with pride to the constant
progressive attainments in that field. After schlag wrote:
World War I, a Joint Distribution Committee
"Markson, sensitive to the niceties of the Hebrew language and
goal for relief of war sufferers - was considered to music, made his mark with a very meager output: a few stories
immense when it exceeded $20,000,000. To-
day such a sum is inadequate for a community and essays which were collected in a volume by his friends.
like Detroit alone.
"Isaacs traced the metamorphosis of a poor Jewish boy in Poland
Nevertheless, the goal must be much high- to a rich manufacturer of orthopedic shoes with compassion, skill and
er, the aim must be greater, the obligations without due regard to the land of limitless opportunities."
The latter comment is certain to raise many objections, in view
We are concerned with diplomacy, and
of the extent of Isaac's works which have been most embracing, which
one of the most noted of Jewish philosophers,
been published in this country and in Israel and have earned
Aand Ha'Am, writing after the First World have
widest commendations in literary circles. In the Isaacs instance, at
Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, asserted: least, the Silberschlag approach is incomplete, since the venerable
"Israel's salvation will be achieved by pro- Detroiter has dealt with a variety of themes encompassing Jc -
phets, not by diplomats." That was before experiences.
diplomacy became vital. Now we are gov-
On a larger scale, the Silberschlag work is informative. It in-
Under the chairmanship of Wayne State erned by diplomacy, and Israel's status is
University President George E. Gullen, plans affected by it. Yet, prophecy is not ruled out cludes the works of leaders in Enlightenment and Haskala, the Men-
are proceeding 'sere for the celebration of of consideration. The prophets who spoke of delssohnian period and the rich output of works by the Russian and
Jewish writers. It deals with Hasidism, with the interpreters
the American Revolution Bicentennial.
a glorious and secure future for Israel remain Polish
the ideologies of nationalism, with American writers which are
While the Jewish community of Detroit is guiding factors in the people's existence. It is of
not as old, American Jewry is older and has the adherence to such auguries that creates grouped n what the author-compiler calls a "minor center."
Listing all of the noted Hebrew writers in the centuries under
many experiences upon which we can draw the calm amidst stress, that gives hope to a
as participants in the important celebration. people that has a right to be embittered, yet review, Silberschlag frequently mentions some controversies iota,
The significant contributions of American carried on by the urge and the will to live. which they were involved. There is, as an instance, the lengthy an-
Jewry to this nation, the inseparability of
Prophecy, to be fulfilled, is dependent on notations, a reference to disputes with Ahad Ha'Am, in this note:
reports an interesting remark by Mendele (Moher
the American and Hebraic spirits in advanc- action. To attain it the people as a whole must "Klausner
in the course of a conversation: `I'd like to hand Ahad Ha'AUL and
ing social causes and in upholding libertarian be unified. In unity there is security. That pronounce a eulogy myself. A spiritual center—is that all he Needs?
ideas, and our great pride in our citizenship unity demands that Israel have the identifica- Does the Jew lack spirituality? A spiritual existence, the joy of life,
in this land of freedom, combine to make tion from kinsmen that spells strength. the love of work—that's what he lacks, not a spiritual center. Fven the
us important partners in the forthcoming Through the cooperation that is so urgently spiritual aspirations of Herzl and Nordau will not detract an iota from
needed, diplomacy can be turned into a tool the spirituality of the Jews. What the Jew lacks is ground Tinder his
The totality of various religious and racial for justice. This is where the roles of the feet and political rights on that ground, and an economic an political
elements involved in the Bicentennial pro- Jewries in this country and all the free na- life like that of all other nations in the world."
gram makes the forthcoming event an occa- tions of the world—wherever there is still a
While this review can not spacewise list the eminence of Jewish
sion for total participation by all citizens, semblance of fairness—become so very vital writers and their names, it should be noted that Silberschlag's task
with Jewry playing its role with marked en- in this era of great need for the people of fulfills the totality with much success.
Speculation predominates on all levels
whenever and wherever diplomacy operates.
Israel was and remains a victim of speculative
disputes. The continuing wrangling over a
possible accord with some or all of the Arab
states, the roles of the United States and the
Soviet Union, the energy crisis, the yielding
to pressures by many nations out of the dire
need for oil—these combine to create uncer-
tainties and to arouse tensions.
It is no wonder, therefore, that Israel has
been transformed into a society of deep con-
cern over the future. It is to the credit of the
people of that embattled state that they have
begun to reconstruct the economy of the
nation, that they are, as one noted psycholo-
gist—Prof. Noah Milgram of Tel Aviv Uni-
versity—stated, "calm under stress."
Had the enemy spoken of unqualified rec-
ognition of Israel and of the possibility of
peace, the situation would be vastly different.
But there still are the uncertainties, there are
the views of men like Hebrew University
Prof. Yehoshafat Harkaby, former chief of in-
telligence of the Israel army and an unchal-
lenged leading authority on the Arabs and
their aims towards Israel, which are definable
Prof. Harkaby views the future prospects
tragically. He retains the opinion that the
Arab aim is the ultimate liquidation of the
Jewish state. He was interviewed recently by
Yediot Ahronot and this is how he summar-
ized his view of the future developments:
"At the outset the Arabs will adopt a
`moderate' stance—at least from their stand-
point—so far as world public opinion is con-
cerned. Something along the lines of a de-
mand that Israel return to the boundaries of
May 1967. After achieving an agreement in
that spirit—toward the end of the conference
—the Arabs will unveil their true extremist
position, namely, 'restoration of the rights of
the Palestinians'. Their line of argument will
be roughly as follows: following satisfaction
of Egyptian claims in withdrawal from the
Sinai; and of Syrian claims by withdrawal
from the Golan Heights; and of the Jordanian
demands to vacate the West Bank, the Arabs
will say, 'let us now satisfy the Palestinians
who are refugees. Some place must be found
for them.' At that juncture the Arabs will
introduce a demand for the Israelis to give up
Lod and Ramle and the Western Galilee. In
other words, Israel is to be asked to go back
Hebrew Anthology Records
Markson and Isaacs Works