A TV scene of our times: The Hebron market. A teenage Jewish settler girl, in planned and well controlled "fury," strides through the Arab vegetable market, upsetting cart after cart, squashing the farmer's fruit under her feet. The new Zionism.
But worse than this new kind of love for Eretz Israel, is the frame following: the red-bereted Israeli paratrooper, member of the pride of Israel's Defense Forces, symbol of "Tohar Haneshek" (a phrase, used in the early days of the "Haganah," meaning "the preservation of the moral cleanliness of arms"), who nonchalantly walks beside her, protecting her, lest one of the vegetable vendors be unable to suppress his ire and--heavens beware--slap the young bitch's face.
What gall it takes, to compare this kind of Zionism with the spirit of Hanita! (an early pioneering Kibbutz in Galilee).
I came to, what was then, Palestine, as a 15-year-old kid. I believed then--and still do today--that we were struggling in a just cause. We wanted, we were entitled to, a homeland. A tiny speck of land where our forefathers had lived 2000 years ago. A land which in large part was barren and we could make green.
I grew up, fought, and helped in the struggle towards this dream. And I am blessed to see its realization--not only see, but document it with my camera.
I saw the Jews grow from a few hundred thousand to five million. I saw a land that once produced nothing but Jaffa oranges, build an industry and science that ranks among the best in the world. I saw a handful of ragged fighters turn into one of the finest armies in the world. I saw immigrants, whom I had photographed lying in tents on barren slopes of rock, become hi-tech engineers.
In short, I have lived to see the fulfillment of what I had come here to achieve: to have a homeland, to live free and without fear.
Now, let us return to the Hebron scene on TV. Is it the slave who after receiving his freedom becomes the cruel and heartless master? After we gain our precious goal are we doomed to use our new found might to deny this same freedom to others? After I have my home, do I want my neighbor's as well?
Zionism's watershed was in 1967, not in the 50th jubilee year. The large basic justice of Zionism is being replaced with a myriad of small injustices. That girl in Hebron is just one minor manifestation of it.
What of the next 50 years? History washes away the unnaturally imposed solutions with blood.
We can have the "peace of the brave" (don't sneer at this phrase so beloved by Arafat--it has great meaning for the underdog!!) Or, we can have the peace of two graveyards: one fairly large for Jews, and a giant one for Arabs.
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