Friday, February 28, 2020

Bernie’s Kibbutz – A Research Challenge



As we know, the known extent of Senator Bernie Sanders’ Israel connection was a stay of a few months at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim in 1963. A report notes he was “a guest”. In other words, he may not have been a volunteer picking apples or pears but there was a specific reach-out, either by him or by the kibbutz or the Mapam Marxist party that supervised the affairs of the kibbutz, a member of Mapam’s Kibbutz Artzi Federation. But that is just a supposition. 

On the other hand, married couples usually did not come together as part of the ethos of going to kibbutz was the less-than-stringent sexual mores practiced at such places.

Perhaps either he or his then wife, Deborah Shiling now Messing, have friends or relatives there? It is claimed his older brother, Larry, was spending some time there. Had either of them been a member of the HaShomer HaTzair Zionist youth movement that commited its member to settle on kibbutz? If, indeed, his brother was there, perhaps he was in HaShaomer HaTzair and Bernie followed.

Sha’ar Ha’Amakim celebrated 25 years of its founder settling on the land and the headline of the article in the Mapam daily, “Al HaMishmar, of May 27, 1958, reviewing its history, read “25 Years to the Settlement”. As noted in The Forward, “The kibbutz founders had a strong admiration for the Communist system in the Soviet Union.”




But the author of that article, Aharon Cohen, adds another mystery to Sanders’ kibbutz stay. His biography includes several interesting aspects. He set up Hakibbutz Ha'artzi's Arab Department. Mapam advocated an undivided and Socialist Palestine and he went around lecturing and publishing articles in favor of good relations with Arabs. 

In 1942, he was responsible for having Mapam joining the League for Jewish Arab Rapprochement and Cooperation. In July 1947, he testified before the UNSCOP as the League’s official spokesperson and its secretary and got into an argument, demanding his right to read out a 20-page document that had already been presented to the committee members. As regards the territorial question of the future state of Palestine, Cohen added that “the relationship between Jews and Arabs and their problem has to be solved in a non-partitioned Palestine.”

Oddly enough, the English-language Wikipedia biography does not contain any reference to Cohen’s jail term. Details are in the Hebrew version.  And a Jake Pickering mentions the incident.




In 1958, he was arrested on suspicion of maintaining contact with a foreign agent, a member of the Soviet consular staff. He was charged with passing information and was sentenced in 1961 to a five-year jail term. He was pardoned and released early in 1963. Many believed he was simply continuing his pre-state idealistic vision, attempting to convince the Soviets that Jews and Arabs could reside peacefully in a bi-national state. Others, that Cohen was a victim of the GSS (then, the Shabak).

Could Sanders have been attracted by the affair? Did he come specifically to gain an impression of Cohen and his vision?

The research continues.

^

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Enjoying Each Other's Company in the Land of Israel

Did Jews strive to live in and immigrate to the Land of Israel, throughout all the centuries and despite the loss of political, military and economic independence?

Of course we did.

One new example I found, from the 12th century, in Cathedra, in an article by Oded Zinger:


until God decrees our death in the Land of Israel'



^



Saturday, February 22, 2020

Fedayeen - A Reminder

When referring to Arab terror, I always include the activities of the fedyeen who were active beteen 1949-1956.

But I now realize that many, too many of the younger generation really don;t know to what I am referring.

So, here's one example, tajen from the Bnai Brith Messenger of November 30, 1956:

Egyptian trained Fcdayeen commandos formerly based in the Gaza strip have escaped to Jordan, where they have now joined other Fedayeen groups in greatly increased raids against Israel. Correspondents in Washington, D. C. have quoted "Arab sources in Washington" during the past few days as being "delighted" at hews of these raids, and promising "more raids tonight and more tomorrow " Since Nov. 2, when this increased activity started from Jordan and Syria, up to Nov. 13, reports have been received of 30 separate hostile' actions against Israel'. A list of these attacks follows: November 21. Egyptian-trained Fedayeen operating from Jordan active in Negev. attacking vehicles and sabotaging water installations.1. Fedayeen squad attacks civilian bus traveling on Wadi Ara road near frontier with Jordan.3. Border patrol vehicle on way! to investigate bus attack blown up by landmine.4. Fedayeen group blows up railroad track near Givat Brenner.5. Telephone lines cut near Yavne. November 4. 6. Fedayeen commandos captured in Lachish area. near Jordan border, while making their way from Egypt to Jordan.7. Fedayeen commando captured on Jerusalem-Ramie railroad track November 6. 8. Explosions along railroad track near Eyal. close to Joidan border.9. Bridge demolished by explosives on Kfar Giladi-Metulla road, near Syrian border. Tracks of three men led across border. November 7. 10. Irrigation pipes blown up near Hagoshrim, in Northern Hule valley.11. Truck from Maoz. Haim settlement fired on. one passenger wounded.12. Hand grenades thrown at truck passing Sha'ar Hagai. on Jerusalem road.13. Water pipeline to Jerusalem blown up near Sha'ar Hagai.14. Fedayeen attempt' to blow up bridge on Ein-Shemer-Menashe road.15. Vehicle carrying guards on way to bridge is hit by rifle and automatic fire.16. Fedayeen shoot, throw hand grenades at vehicle near Nachshon: near Latrun demilitarized zone.17. Civilian resident of Lydda attacked by Arab commando outside town.18. Three empty houses blown up at Beit Arif. near Lydda. 19. Fedayeen commando . shot and killed by security patrol near Amiziah. in Lachish area. November 9. 20. Fedayeen commandos try to blow up houses in Alkosh village. November 10. 21. Fedayeen demolish a synagogue in Goren village.22. House demolished by explosives near Beersheba. Tracks of eight men followed to Jordan border.23. Water well blown up in Beit Safrar. near Jerusalem.24. Four soldiers injured when vehicle in which they were riding was blown up by landmine near Ramie.25. Water installations blown up at Shafat village, near Tiiat Tzvi. November 11. 26. Train derailed by mine on Tel Aviv-Beersheba railroad. November 12. 27. Tractor blown up by landmine near Gonen, north of Hule Valley.28. One killed and three injured, of party of demolition experts investigating tractor incident. By landmines sown in area west of Gonen.29. House demolished near Menara. near Lebanese border. November 13.30. Bus blown up by mine south of Menara.

Need I remind you that Israel "occupied" Judea, Samaria amd Gaza only in 1967 and had built no "settlements" up until then in those areas?

Monday, February 17, 2020

Even Seen the Hebrew Letter Samekh from the 12th Century BCE?

Coming out of a team of archaeologists led by Professor Yosef Garfinkel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology and Professor Michael Hasel at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, we now have a view of extensive ruins of a Bronze Age-era Canaanite temple dating to the 12th century BCE uncovered in National Park Tel Lachish. (Their academic article is here; I am working from the press release).

The layout of the temple is similar to other Canaanite temples in northern Israel, among them Shchem/Nablus, Megiddo and Hazor.  The front of the compound is marked by two columns and two towers leading to a large hall.  The inner sanctum has four supporting columns and several unhewn “standing stones”.

Credit: D. Rosenberg

In addition to archaeological remains, a trove of artifacts including, bronze cauldrons, 

Credit: T. Rogovski

Hathor-inspired jewellery, 

Credit: T. Rogovski

daggers and axe-heads adorned with bird images, scarabs, and a gold-plated bottle inscribed with the name Ramses II.

Credit: C. Amit/IAA

Of particular interest was a pottery sherd engraved with ancient Canaanite script.  There, the letter “samek” appears, marked by an elongated vertical line crossed by three perpendicular shorter lines.  

Credit: T. Rogovski

This makes it the oldest known example of the letter and a unique specimen for the study of ancient alphabets. 

We can only hope more will be revealed of the Biblical narrative as it comes out of the ground.

^


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Music of Palestine

A song copyrighted January 1945, Palestine


and catalogued here.

and another Dixieland jazz song, "Leena from Palestina".


Some of the lyrics:

In the Bronx of New York City
Lived a girl, she's not so pretty
Lena is her name.
Such a clever girl is Lena
How she played her concertina
Really, it's a shame.
She's such a good musician
She got a swell position
To go across the sea to entertain.
And so they shipped poor Lena
Way out to Palesteena
From what they tell me, she don't look the same.
They say that Lena is the Queen o' Palesteena
Just because she plays the concertina.
She only knows one song,
She plays it all day long
Sometimes she plays it wrong,
But still they love it

^

Monday, February 10, 2020

How Many Jews Reside in Post-67 Jerusalem?

I have posted about this before but as a figure of 325,000 has been published, I think a review of the most up-to-date figures should be reviewed.

From the Jerusalem Institute Yearbook for 2019, with 2017 figures (Jewish growth rate is 1.5% annually).

Their over all figure is 215,900.





Their breakdown by neighborhoods:




I can't come up with more than 225,000 Jews, even rounding off upwards.

I think a detailed explanation is required to justify a difference of some 100,000 Jews.

And don't get me wrong. I hope I am proven wrong.


^


Sunday, February 09, 2020

Then and Now, A Concise Perspective: Baker vs. Trump


It is therefore high time for serious political dialogue between Israeli officials and Palestinians in the territories to bring about a common understanding on these and other issues. Peace and the peace process must be built from the ground up. Palestinians have it within their power to help define the shape of this initiative and to help define its essential elements. They shouldn't shy from a dialogue with Israel that can transform the current environment and determine the ground rules for getting to, for conducting, and, indeed, for moving beyond elections.

We should not hide from ourselves the difficulties that face even these steps here at the very beginning. For many Israelis it will not be easy to enter a negotiating process whose successful outcome will in all probability involve territorial withdrawal and the emergence of a new political reality. For Palestinians, such an outcome will mean an end to the illusion of control over all of Palestine, and it will mean full recognition of Israel as a neighbour and partner in trade and in human contact.

Let the Arab world take concrete steps towards accommodation with Israel, not in place of the peace process, but as a catalyst for it.

And so we would say, "End the economic boycott. Stop the challenges to Israel's standing in international organizations. Repudiate the odious line that 'Zionism is racism."'

For Israel, now is the time to lay aside, once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a Greater Israel. Israeli interests in the West Bank and Gaza, security and otherwise, can be accommodated in a settlement based on Resolution 242. Forswear annexation; stop settlement activity; allow schools to reopen; reach out to the Palestinians as neighbours who deserve political rights .

For Palestinians, now is the time to speak with one voice for peace. Renounce the 'policy of phases' in all languages, not just those addressed to the West. Practise constructive diplomacy, not attempts to distort international organizations, such as the World Health Organization. Amend the covenant. Translate the dialogue of violence in the intifada into a dialogue of politics and diplomacy. Violence will not work. Reach out to Israelis and convince them of your peaceful intentions. You have the most to gain from doing so, and no one else can or will do it for you. Finally, understand that no one is going to deliver Israel for you.

Today, Remarks by President Donald Trump, the White House, January 28, 2020

My vision presents a “win-win” opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security...This is the first time Israel has authorized the release of a conceptual map, illustrating the territorial compromises it’s willing to make for the cause of peace.  And they’ve gone a long way.   This is an unprecedented and highly significant development...We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved.  

We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian State for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism.  (Applause.)

Under this vision, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s undivided –- very important — undivided capital.  But that’s no big deal, because I’ve already done that for you, right?  (Laughter.)  We’ve already done that, but that’s okay.  It’s going to remain that way.

And the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel.  Very important. 

And, crucially, the proposed transition to a two-state solution will present no incremental security risk to the State of Israel whatsoever.

We will not allow a return to the days of bloodshed, bus bombings, nightclub attacks, and relentless terror.  It won’t be allowed.  Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security.  Can’t do that.

As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel: moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem; recognizing — (applause) –- recognizing the Golan Heights — (applause) — and, frankly, perhaps most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal.  (Applause.) Therefore, it is only reasonable that I have to do a lot for the Palestinians, or it just wouldn’t be fair.  Now, don’t clap for that, okay?  But it’s true.  It wouldn’t be fair.  I want this deal to be a great deal for the Palestinians.  It has to be.

Today’s agreement is a historic opportunity for the Palestinians to finally achieve an independent state of their very own.  After 70 years of little progress, this could be the last opportunity they will ever have — and “last” for a lot of reasons...

This map will more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open an embassy.  (Applause.)  No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.  (Applause.)

Israel will work closely with a wonderful person, a wonderful man — the King of Jordan — to ensure that the status quo of the Temple Mount is preserved and strong measures are taken to ensure that all Muslims who wish to visit peacefully and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be able to do so...

Our vision will end the cycle of Palestinian dependency upon charity and foreign aid.  They will be doing phenomenally all by themselves.  They are a very, very capable people.  (Applause.)  And we will help by empowering the Palestinians to thrive on their own.  Palestinians will be able to seize the new future with dignity, self-sufficiency, and national pride.

To ensure a successful Palestinian state, we are asking the Palestinians to meet the challenges of peaceful co-existence.  (Applause.)  This includes adopting basic laws enshrining human rights; protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel — so important; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists.  (Applause.)

Perhaps most importantly, my vision gives the Palestinians the time needed to rise up and meet the challenges of statehood.  I sent a letter today to President Abbas.  I explained to him that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years...President Abbas, I want you to know that if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries will — we will be there.  We will be there to help you in so many different ways.  And we will be there every step of the way.  We will be there to help...In truth, Jerusalem is liberated.  (Applause.)  Jerusalem is a safe, open, democratic city that welcomes people of all faiths and all places.

It is time for the Muslim world to fix the mistake it made in 1948 when it chose to attack, instead of recognize, the new State of Israel.  It’s time.  (Applause.)

...But America cannot care more about peace than the stakeholders in the region.  There are many Muslims who never visited Al Aqsa, and many Christians and Jews who never visited the holy sites in the West Bank described so vividly in the Bible.  My vision will change that.  Our majestic biblical heritage will be able to live, breathe, and flourish in modern times.

All humanity should be able to enjoy the glories of the Holy Land.  This part of the world is forever connected to the human soul and the human spirit.  These ancient lands should not be symbols of conflict but eternal symbols of peace.

 ^