Quote of the day

“Shall I compose an idyll of the Land of Israel for him? And the other one said, That I leave to the poets and the tourists and I ask you all, are you the only ones sufering? Aren’t there people here who came before us, and if we tell all the troubles that befell them, time would run out. They came to a wilderness, a place of harsh malaria, and gangs of highwaymen, and harsh laws and evil governors. If they built themselves houses, the king’s oficials came and destroyed them. If they sowed, their neighbors came and threw their beasts on the grain. If they drove them out, they went to cry to the government that the Jews attacked them….

“But they didn’t despair and they endured all the troubles and they maintained the Yishuv through their suering and turned the deserts of the Land of Israel into homes and vineyards and fields. And as he mentioned their sufering, he told of their heroism….Thus they sat and told tales about afflictions and tales about heroism,….It is small our Land, and how great are its troubles. And since they were tell about the settlements, they told about their founders. And as they were telling, they were amazed at themselves that they hadn’t noticed the hoerism of those founders before now.

“How Isaac loved that hour when he sat in the Land of Israel in the presence of laborers of the Land of Israel who were telling of the building of the Land o Israel. The Land of Israel was acquired with sufering, and he who loves the Land of Israel and lovingly accepts her suffering, is privileged to see her being built.”

Shai Agnon, Only Yesterday, completed in 1943, published first in 1945.

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4 replies »

  1. Those were the days …. but sadly, Agnon’s heroes have been replaced in many areas, specially politics, by people he would not recognize nor admire. Still, different eras, different problems.

  2. The Land of Israel was acquired with sufering

    Indeed – also through the suffering of other peoples.

  3. Pretzelberg,

    “Indeed – also through the suffering of other peoples.”

    No one denies that the Palestinians also suffered. But who was the main cause behind their suffering? Could it be that it was their leaders who encouraged them to move out of their homes, since they would come back in a few weeks, after the Jews are annihilated? Could it be that it was their leaders, who rejected the 1947 partition plan, since they had other plans for resolving the issue? Could it be that to this very day, the Palestinians are still victims of the Arab regimes in the neighbouring countries? You know, the regimes which keep even the refugees’ grandchildren in the camps – the REAL prison camps – and do not let the Palestinians work in countless professions, as in Lebanon?

    Sometimes it is worthwile to check some facts before misleading the masses, a la Guardian.

  4. pretzelberg, respectfully, the suffering of “others” had nothing to do with the Zionist movement. Palestinian suffering was a direct result of the Arab nations’ decision to reject a Jewish state within any boundaries, and declare war on the nascent Jewish state. That war – in which Arab leaders in Cairo, Damascus, and Amman, openly called the war of annihilation against the Jews. The refugee problem was a direct result of that failed attempt to destroy the new state of Israel. If the Arabs had decided to accept a Jewish state in 1947/48, there wouldn’t have been even one Palestinian refugee, and the state of Palestine would be celebrating its 62nd birthday. (As a side note, when Egypt controlled Gaza, and Jordan controlled the W. Bank, form 1949-1967, neither country granted the Palestinians their own state in those areas.)