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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 06, 2004

A lesser-known chapter in Israel's history


On the assumption that we all read JPost, I don't usually highlight articles posted on theJPost site, but I will make an exception for SARAH HONIG's "Mother knew best".

Anyone who studied the pre-1948 history of Israel-in-the-making is familiar with the internecine fighting among the Haganah, IZL and Lehi, including the ignoble persion known as "the season" (Haganah denouncing members of the other organization to the British). Less known, perhaps, is the day-to-day war that Ben Gurion declared on the rank and file of the Revisionist Zionist movement. In her article, Sarah Honig recalls:

t's almost 60 years since David Ben-Gurion addressed the Histadrut convention (November 20, 1944) and ordered the expulsion of "all Revisionists from all work places, be it in an office, factory, or grove the same goes for students in higher or secondary education, or any other school."

My mother could quote that speech by heart for the remainder of her life.

She was among those who paid the price for their beliefs. She wouldn't be intimidated or enticed. She was often counseled to do the expedient thing and get herself the little Histadrut red book to make life a whole lot easier.
But to her that was tantamount to selling her soul.
Sarah Honig's article doesn't concentrate on history, however, but rather on the implications vis-a-vis the current situation. Her closing paragraph:
But when Sharon, breaking all the rules, reverses and does precisely what he recently trashed, that alternative disappears, liberating Labor from its dread of the electorate's wrath. Hence, sooner or later all settlements everywhere may be doomed.

Mom was so right: The Likud might not be worth saving. Its damage can be worse than Labor's worst.


What is the connection between that finale and Ben Gurion? Read the article!

A final comment. Shameful as the Jewish internecine feuds are, one should remember that such feuds are not uncommon in national liberation movements. Ireland had her de Valera - Michael Colins civil war, and the Kurds have had their feuding faction fighting each other to a point that they were unable to show a unified force until very recently.