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February 06, 1987 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

MMINIIIIIMI

■ 11111 ■ 111

Israelis In America

ble privations. They have drained the
swamps, made the deserts bloom, estab-
lished industries and commercial enter-
prises, and created the mechanisms by
which Israelis govern themselves and con-
duct their foreign affairs.
In the process, they have developed a na-
tional personality which is confident, ag-
gressive and assertive. America in
miniature.
The philosophy of socialist Zionism,
which gave life and meaning to the Jewish
state, has become for many an anachron-

HELEN DAVIS

Special to The Jewish News

erusalem — Israelis are infatuated
with America for a variety of reasons,
ranging from economic to emotional.
This infatuation is easily explained. The
basic struggle for survival — military, ec-
onomic, diplomatic — remains the over-
whelming Israeli preoccupation. And, over
the past 20 years, it is American largesse
that has enabled the Jewish state to
endure.
United States aid, some U.S. $3.6 billion
a year, has kept Israel's economic head
above water; its military hardware has en-
sured Israel's superiority over a coalition
of hostile neighbors; and its diplomatic
muscle has held open the doors of interna-
tional councils.
But that is only part of the picture; such
dependence could equally breed resent-
ment.
Now in its late adolescence, Israel has
transcended the phase of passionate ideal-
ism. Its pioneers have suffered their terri-

j

ism which belongs in the museums and
history books of Jewish renaissance. The
very term "Zionism" has become a term of
cynicism, an expression of ridicule.
The purity of the dream has been tarn-
ished; physical labor, a return to the
land — once considered essential elements
in creating the "new Jew" — have been
superseded by a society that is vigorously
kicking in the door to the 21st century.
"When I was a kid," reflected one kibbutz
mother, "the great debates were about
ideology — about our relationship with the
Soviet Union, whether we should use hired
labor in the fields. lbday, they squabble
about whether kibbutz members should be
charged for their international telephone
calls."
For religious Jews, the attachment to
Israel remains as profound as ever. But for
an increasing majority of Israelis, the goal
is not to "build and be built" in the Jewish
state; rather, it's the pursuit of the three
"Vs" — Volvos, villas and videos.
Scarcely a generation away from Euro-
pean ghettoes and North African villages,
modern Israelis increasingly dress, eat and

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