Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on May 2, 1973 · Page 18
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 18

Galesburg, Illinois
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 2, 1973
Page 18
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Golesburg Register-Moil, Golesburg, 111, Wednesday, May 2. 1973 19 Israel at 25: Future Is More Important Than Past fllaa ftftfVKtJF HttlG^ Yaffil ... «^Re» ByTOMTIEDE 20VA KIBBUTZ, Israel (NEA) - The Prime Minister of Israel is still getting used to the idea of nationhood, even after a quarter of a century. At 7ft, Mrs. Meir lived most of her life before Israel was fact. Two-thirds of her total experience predates May 14, 1M8. She spent her youth nurturing a dream of ages. Thus it is for her, and others of Israel's senior generation, that they cannot talk of what is now without remembering what was yesterday. BUT THIS IS not the norm here in the sifver anniversary of a tiny, tucked off, but remarkably significant Middle Eastern state. The lament of Jewish history is being heard less and less in a country which has simply become too young to be so sentimental. Jews under 30 now account for 61 per cent of the population. Jews 25 and under, born Shortly before or after the proclamation of statehood, whose experience is Israel as fact, now form nearly half of the citizenry. For these young people, the first Jewish generation in 19 centuries to have a place and government of its own, the length of Israel's memory is not so important at the breadth of its future. At 25, Michael Livne and his country share the same age. He does not waste much of his young life quoting the Torah, conjuring up the bromides of the prophets, or rocking away the hours musing about a Jewish history, which, as Arthur Miller once wrote, has been "packing bundles and getting away." LIVNE'S HOURS are too precious for such melancholy. He has a family to look after. The orchard apples need picking. There are textbooks to be read. "I learned about Jewish history in the Old Testament," says Livne, a bit surprised anyone would ask, "now I only worry about today and tomorrow." "Work hard." And tomorrow? . "Work hard, too." The work ethic indicated' here is, of course, not unusual for Jews of any age or period. Yet the philosophy behind it is: Unlike many Israelis his senior. Mike Livne does not thank God, Moses, Isaiah, David Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan for, his daily toil. He does not rise daily and mumble gracious prayers to the powers that allowed him a Return To The Land. His outlook is more contemporary than historic. He believes in the now; and he feels as an Israeli citizen, of 25 years duration, he deserves good work, the chance to succeed and the opportunity to live his life as he wishes. AND HOW else could it be for him or the others of his age here? Born 3,300 years after the exodus from Egypt, 2,400 years after the destruction of Solomon's Temple, even three years after the Nazi holocaust in Europe, Livne has little of the historic feeling of Jewish agony. His life, to be sure, has not been absolutely serene. He was born shortly before the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, was a teen-ager during the second war in 1958, and carried arms himself as a soldier in the Six Day War of 1967. Yet neither he nor his family have ever been scratched by battle, injured by social ostracism or defeated in oppressive societies. "Some distant relatives were Nazi victims during World War II," he says, "but I didn't know them. Since I wasn't there I can't know how they felt. I have been lucky, I guess." Indeed, lucky — a beneficiary, as others here of his years, of that Jewish miracle, the modern state. Actually, Livne was born when the nation was still under the, British mandate and called Palestine, but he did not suffer from the transition. As an Infant, he slept while Zionism triumphed. It is not surprising then that today Zionism is a nice thought to Mike Livne, but nothing so urgent or so ultimate as it still is to his seniors. "WHEN I WAS in my early 20s/' he says, "I went, to France with an Israeli youth movement. It was the only time I encountered any anti- Semitism in my life. I was at a tobacco shop one day with friends and I decided to buy a pipe. The shopkeeper knew we were Jews because we were speaking Hebrew. Anyway, the merchant said the pipe was ten pounds (Israeli), and by mistake I gave him a five- pound note. He looked at it, then at me, like I was trying to cheat him — and then he said: 'You dirty Jew.'" One moment of anti-Semitism. In 25 years. Livne says the incident greatly affected him. He learned then that "Israel is the only place for Jews to live." Yet, Zionism? The sufferings of time long past? To Mike Livne's age group, these are things for the old people. The young prefer to concentrate on the present and the positive. There is no doubt that for all their "history, Jews have progressed more in the last two-and-a-half decades than they did in previous centuries combined. "We have," says Israeli .President Zalman Sha- zar, "witnessed a sequence of wonders." THE STATISTICS tell some of it. In 25 years, as prophet Amos foresaw, Israel has "restored the fortunes of its people." More than 450 towns and villages have been created in the nation since state proclamation. More than 1.5 million immigrants have been resettled. Economic output has increased sevenfold in the past two decades. The payroll is three times the size of 1950. "Twenty-five years are but a brief moment for a nation with a memory more than 35 centuries long" Where once the nation had to rely on imports for day to day subsistence, it now exports $2 billion worth of goods annual? ty (30 times the 1950 figure). Factory production is up by 12, electricity use has jumped by a factor of 30, cultivated land area has multiplied by three, irrigated areas have Increased sixfold. The gross national product has gone from 259 million (Israeli pounds) in 1948 to 21.6 billion last year. "And I don't know if it's a sign of progress or what," grins a government spokesman, "but nearly everybody in Israel now owns his own television set." THIS IS not to say that all that glitters on the occasion of Israel's 25th anniversary is necessarily silver. Remarks one Tel Aviv educator: "It has never been, nor will it ever be, easy to be a Jew." Currently the nation is suffering from what Foreign Minister Abba Eban categorizes as "outbursts of evil spirits." Call it, for short, extreme nationalism. Hard-core militants have threatened the Arab population in Israel with expulsion. The same bullies have intimidated Christian mission­ aries who try to convert Jews to Jesus. Palestinian Arabs have been killed or brutally beaten for such offenses as having sexual relations with Jewish women. The national greeting is "shalom" (peace), but there are monuments everywhere to war and to bloodshed and, especially to victory. Even moderates acknowledge one justification for Israeli jingoism: Survival. JUST CONTINUING to exist, as Mrs. Meir says,, "has been the major effort of our lives." Today, as 25 years ago, Israel's central concern is still the endless war with its Arab neighbors. Three million Jews vs. more than 100 million Arabs. Survival is the be-all and end-all of Israeli life. Israelis spend up to 40 per cent of their tax dollars on defense. Last year the nation paid out $850 million for foreign munitions alone. No western nation uses so much of its capital for objects that merely explode. And mere is no sign that any reduction of vigilance can be forthcoming. Every year the population of Israel's most immediate Arab enemies grows by one million. Kibbutz Nursery Communal living for children, the nursery needed to release mothers for work in the where Hava Livne, right, works, is a fea- « e M s NEA ture of kibbutz life even though no longer Palestine refugee guerrillas have all but gone mad in their war Of terrorism against "THE SITUATION," says a government officer, "is one of hate breeding hate. People are reacting desperately to endless fear. It's small wonder we have so many idiots cropping up." Peace then, as Abba Eban says, may be the answer to everything wrong in Israel: Kooks, hard heads and tension. "In 25 years," to quote him, "Israel and the Arab States have spent more than $25 billion for military purposes. If one-tenth of that sum hid been invested in a refugee solution (for exiled Palestinians), the problem would have been solved long ago." About the only time Mike Livne thinks about peace is once a year when he's summoned by government for 30 days of reserve military duty. All healthy Israeli males remain in the reserves until age 55 and few especially enjoy the annual duty. Peace, therefore, might bring about a change in the mandate. But. Well. Shrug. SAYS LIVNE: "One time I was called to the Sues Canal for a month. The Egyptians shot some shells at us. I didn't appreciate that. But if it came to it, I wouldn't hesitate to go to war again. Look over there, right over those mountains. That's Jordan. My home here is only a few miles from the border. If anything happens, I'd be fighting for my home as well as my country." Livne's home Is well worth fighting for. Like this young man, the ZOva kibbutz is 25 years old, feisty, gently ir- See 'Israel'(Continued on Page 26) Graftsman 20-in. Rotary Mower With 9.0-cu. in. Engine That's Eager to Start Because You're Eager to Finish! Sears Craftsman 18-in Power Hedge Trimmer Double insulated electric trimmer needs no grounding. Develops 140,000 cuts per minute. 18-inch donuble-edged blade. 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