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May 06, 1977 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-05-06

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2 Friday, May 6, 1977


Purely Commentary

as Defined by Hebrew University
• Israel's Realities
President Avraham Harman. and the Anxieties as Viewed
by a Former Resident for an Understanding of the Facts

By Philip

Judging Israel: The Realities, Agonies and Self-Testing

Bridging of relationships between Israel and Diaspora
Jewry becomes an even greater necessity now that the cm-
cial election is about to take place and will soon be anoth-
er experience in the history of the Jewish state. Now
comes a new era for cooperation that must be based in
proper understanding. Demands are mounting for a great-
er role in the conduct of the social services and the educa-
tional systems by American Jews. If these demands are
based on realism they should be considered seriously. If
there is discontent with leadership, perhaps those at the
helm of the major Jewish movements will look more deep-
ly into the developing crises—and the' crises are mani-
fold !—and will strive to effect improvements based on con-
sultations with the critics.
Israel's problems can not possibly end with the May 17
election. Whoever will be called upon to form a new gov-
ernment, and there seems to be no doubt that Shimon
Peres will head the party with the largest number of Knes-
set members to its credit, it is certain that the winning fac-
tion will have a mere plurality vote and that the inevitable
coalition may be haphazard. Therefore, many uncer-
tainties will prevail. Therefore, the even greater responsi-
bility for an understanding of the problems causing the
anguish of a - troubled nation.
The Israeli nation should be judged as a segment of a
troubled world. Dispassionately viewed, judged pragmati-
cally, Israel's needs—and troubles—can be accepted with
lesser tensions. Prof. William Haber took seriously some
of the criticisms of contemporary Jewish leadership, and
as a comment on the realities of existing conditions he
called attention to a deeply moving speech by the presi-
dent of the Hebrew University, Avraham Harman. With a
debt to both President Harman and Prof. Haber, the follow-
ing from the Hebrew University president must be accept-
ed as a guide for serious thinking about Israel and her
We are expected in this country to be paragons of
virtue, but it is not so and we are not. What are we in
Israel? We are an exact cross-section of the entire
Jewish people. Who do you have in this country?
Eighty-five percent of all the Jews of Romania. One
hundred percent of all the Jews of the Yemen. Ninety-
five percent of all the Jews in the Arab countries.
Nearly all the Jews who were alive in Yugoslavia and
Bulgaria in 1945.
The German aliyah to this country in 1933 brought
in Jewish illiterates, people who had never been ortho-
dox, never had any affiliation with Jewish religion or
Jewish association. There are 100,000 Jews in this
country today from the Soviet Union, where there is
not a Jewish literature in Russian that they allow'
them to produce as you produce it in America and
where one of our functions here is to produce a Jew-
ish literature in the Russian language.
There are scholars at 'this University who are now
engaged in reducing the 15-volume Encyclopedia Ju-*
daica to a three-voluine Russian edition. Where will
they get their knowledge? Where could they get their
knowledge in the Soviet Union where the writers were
murdered and where the Jewish school system was liq-
But all this is on our shoulders.
You mentioned yerida. I don't justify yerida. There
is a very deep ideological question heire. I remember
a conversation in this University with a student of this
University and somebody from America, and that
somebody from America, who is a very distinguished
person, said that there is a future for Jewish life in
America and you could live a full Jewish life in Amer-
ica. And this student said, for me to live a full Jewish
life I have to spend three years in the army and to
have fought a couple of wars, and if you tell me I can
live a full Jewish life in America, so why shouldn't I
go to America and be a full Jew? You have to say to
him ideologically, not from a University podium,
where you are teaching chemistry and physics, but
you have to say to him that we here are the future of
the Jewish people and the Jewish people can't live
without us.
We are living in a country where every one of our
students, every single one of our students, has not
known a moment of peace in his whole lifetime. So
there are people who are tired and have gone away
and have been attracted by the opportunities of
I want to conclude by saying this: that the issue
that has been raised is a real issue. It is a very pain-
ful issue. I think I have said enough to show that in its
proper sphere of operation, the University is not by
any means blind to these issues. And I have no
doubt at all that it could do some more here and there
and there is a question of budget. And within those
limits we could do more.
Without the fullest understanding of the problems there
will be no compassion. Certainly Harman's views portray

the conditions factually, and they should serve as a guide
for those seeking a proper basis for Israel-Diaspora collab-
oration. This is the way to avoid being misled into what
often causes suspicion and the disruption of the vitally
_needed unity in Jewish ranks.
There are many other problems, those involving immi-
gration and a serious one about the yerida, the departure
of so sizable a number of Israelis from their homeland.
The yordim, the departed, have invited condemnations.
A severe criticsm of yordim by Philip Givens, the presi-
dent of the Canadian Zionist Federation, in the National
Jewish Post, aroused resentment, and the defense of the
departed also calls attention to realism of trying
situations. Gina Ausubel's letter in the National Jewish
Post invited attention for an understanding of what is hap-
pening in Israel. She wrote :
You hear so much about the Yordim, those Jews
who have left Israel 300,000 of them and many Sabras,
and have crowded into American cities but rarely in-
tegrate into the local Jewish communities, and what
you hear and read is usually critical. So that when
one rises up to object to the calumny, it is unusual.
Here is a letter to The Canadian Jewish News in re-
sponse to another letter of condemnation from the
president of the Canadian Zionist Federation.
Dear Editor:
Regarding Phil Givens' letter (Feb. 25), it is my
turn to find his letter to the editor incredible. I am
one of the Israelis who had to leave the country.
There are many who left Israel for various reasons:
some cannot take the climate, some have all kind of
financial problems and just have to try their luck in
other places, some—who survived the Holocaust and
World War II—have not the nerve and power to live in
continuous tension.
If somebody rings your bell in the middle of the
night, you are not afraid of the police, but you have
the feeling that something is on and you are drafted
again and again and again. If you hear a plane flying
low, you ask yourself what's going on and if there is
heavy traffic—sounds of armored vehicles—you ask
yourself where it is starting now. After a war in Eu-
rope, and some wars in Israel, many people cannot
take it any more.
But, who gives you, Mr. Givens, the right to say
that we "pulled up our stakes in scorn and that we re-
jected Israel"? It is true that Israel needs every Jew
(although there are more Jews on this continent than
there), but this does not mean that yordim are the
ones who "deliberately and purposely withdrew their
human and intellectual resources from Israel.".
What do you mean when you write "Israel permits
them to leave freely"? How would you feel if Canada
would not permit you to go and come as you please? I
strongly suggest that you and every Jew on this conti-
nent should live in Israel for at least a couple of years
of your life, giving Israel your human and intellectual
resources, your sons and brothers for the Fatherland.
You might feel some of the anxiety others feel, but
you could also have the wonderful, elated feeling of
being a Jew in a Jewish country. It is nice to send
money, but it is important to give a couple of years of
your life to living there.
I'm sorry you don't respect us, buy why do we Jews
have to be different from others in this matter? I'm
sure that people who emigrated from Greece, Italy,
Holland, etc. to Canada and the United States, did not
lose the respect of their compatriots at home.
There are many yordim—like my husband—who
were taken hostages by the Germans at the beginning
of World War II and sent to the border with Russia
because the concentration camps were not ready yet
in 1939. My husband could write books about his
situation in Russia during the war. He was lucky to be
able to leave Russia, and in 1948, together with my
brother, they volunteered and went to Israel with the
NAHAL and fought in the Independence war, fought
also in 1956, and my brother took part in the 1967 war
My husband is an active member of Irgun Zwai
Leumi and his feelings for Israel and Zionism are as
strong—and stronger—than yours, and there are many
yordim with the same strong feelings for Israel.
As far as I'm concerned, we do nekt need your re-
spect and admiration, but I feel that as president of
the CZF, you should think twice before you publish
such a strong article. You should look more deeply
and find out facts before insulting us. I feel you owe
an apology to many yordim, for whom your article
was disgraceful, insulting and in bad taste.
These are hard facts that can not be hidden. Unless the
truth is told there will be more tensions, more suspicions,
more splits in Jewish ranks.
Jewish leadership would be more effective if it elabo-

rated on the factual and did not resort to unnecessary rhe-
Israel and the Diaspora must work together in the best
interests of a free and secure nation and of a unity of pur-
pose to that end. No matter how difficult the times, how
many obstacles are to be overcome, only by stating the re-
alities frankly will the solutions be based on the solidarity
so vital for Israel, the embattled, and world Jewry, the kin-
speople to a nation whose future must be based on the
"One People" truism in Jewish history.

Recalling Harold Hoskins'
Role Antogonistic to Israel

How many who have read the obituary of Harold Hos-
kins in the New York Times, April 25, remembered his pre-
judices against Zionism? Here is one part of the record of
the former member of the State Department staff:
An item in this commentator's files, dated Feb. 9, 194,,
reconstructs the role of Harold Hoskins, who died on April
With regard to Harold Hoskins, Congressman Celler
charged: "This is the same Harold Hoskins who as a
long-time champion for the Arabs only last spring cir-
culated among Senators an alleged confidential and re-
stricted report which he himself wrote forecasting
dire disaster for additional homeless and persecuted
Jews who found asylum from Hitler in Palestine. Hos-
kins circulated this erroneous report, I am informed,
among Senators by and with the consent of the State
Department. I hope I am misinformed. The' Depart-.
ment should offer a disclaimer if my information is

The obituary described the deceased as an "authority
on the Mideast." How was his authoritativeness applied to
Zionism, to Israel, the eventual heir of the Zionist ideal, to
the entire Middle East as related to the Jewish people?
The frequent admonition not to speak ill of the dead does
not apply to retention of historical truths. How can the gen-
erations be warned agairqt repetitive prejudicial acts
unless the prejudiced are known by their actions?

Ivy Low Litvinov's Image:
The Litvinow Family Record:
From Statesman to Rebel Son

The death last week in Hove. England, of Ivy Low Litvi-
nov, at the age of 87, revives new interest in an interesting
family with Hungarian-Jewish, British and Russian roots.
Ivy Low came
from a prominent
Hungarian Jewish
family that settled
in England. She mar-
ried the prominent
Russian statesman.
Maxim Litvinov,
who represented his
country in Washing-
ton as the Kremlin's
ambassador, and
held many other im- •
portant diplomatic
Soviet roles. Per-
haps it is yet to be
established how he
died, whether he
was a -victim of Sta-
linism. His son
Pavel became one
of the chief figures
among the dis-
sidents in the Soviet
Union and was
given a long jail sen-
tence. It did not si-
lence him. He spol, -
out against his gc
ernment's oppressions.

Ivy Low Litvinov withstood many dangers, retained her
dignified role in Russia before returning to England sever-
al years ago. She was among the great ladies in Russia.

The Litvinov family portrait is multicolored. It represent
diplomatic ability, in the person of MAim Litvinov; cour-
age in resisting dictatorial oppression, as evidenced in the
record of Pavel Litvinov's resistance to oppressive govern-
ment measures; and the stoicism of Ivy Litvinov, who sup-
.ported husband and son ideologically.

When the complete story of the Litvinovs is written, as it
should be, there will emerge one of the most dramatic fam-
ily portraits. History will not ignore them.

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