Who is this Israeli Personality?
By the Jmag Staff
Can you guess who this impoverished child grew up to be? From a childhood of deprivation, this man grew up to become world famous. Who he is?
His father was a Jewish nationalist; but he did not include politics with his Zionism. He believed in living in Israel and working the land, but not involvement with political groups. He was an extremely strong willed person who studied agriculture in his European homeland so that he could make aliyah and fulfill his dream of working the land of Israel.
His grandfather was an ardent Zionist and left his European home to come to Israel. He lived in Rechovot for a short period, but he could not bear the hardships and returned to his native European home. However, their home was a Zionist home and the dream of settling the land was instilled in the family.
His mother studied to be a doctor in Europe, but due to anti-Jewish unrest, was forced to suspend her studies. She was a person who did what was required without complaints or questions. She was not a Zionist, but when she married his father they set their goal upon settling in Israel. She was more of an intellectual than he was. She hoped that she could finish her medical education in Israel.
They came to Israel soon after their marriage in the early 1900’s. Neither could speak a word of Hebrew. They were fired by an idealism that carried them through their difficulties in a barren land. First they lived on an experimental farm at Ben Shemen and then went on to the famous agricultural school at Mikveh Israel. She realized that she would never complete her medical education in Israel, but it was not her nature to complain.
Because of his father’s headstrong nature, they rejected life on a kibbutz. He felt that his steamy nature could not endure living a collective lifestyle. He had to be himself to such a degree that he could not join with others and work towards a common goal. Instead they settled on a moshav, a community in which each farmer had his own plot of land and lived a semi-independent life. They shared the use of the community assets, but were able to direct their own lives.
The moshav had been destroyed by an Arab raid the year before they settled there. Conditions were very difficult. There was no water and no electricity. His parents lived in a tent for a year and a half until his father completed his hand-built two-room house with a lean-to shed for a kitchen. At first the animals lived in one room and the family in the other room until finally a barn was built.
From the beginning of their existence on the moshav, the father differed with his neighbors in many matters. Being strong headed, he would not plant what the moshav decided to plant. He was always at odds with their policy and he refused to go along with the decisions of the majority. If he could not impose his ideas on others, he certainly had no desire to conform to theirs. He had no ability to compromise when be believed that he was right.
If the moshav decided that they should plant oranges, he would plant mangos. If the moshav decided that planting potatoes should be late in the season, he would decide that the proper time was early in the year. He considered himself an “agronomist,” a scientist, not a farmer and he wanted the other farmers to address him as such. The members of the moshav would mock him with this title. He was the first to fence off his property from the rest of the moshav to further separate himself from their influence and ideas. Socially the family was isolated.
Our mystery figure was born into this radical family and was basically friendless for the early part of his life. He had only one sister, a few years older than him. In school he was an average student, but was generally excluded from most of the social activities. However, he worked hard helping his father tilling, plowing, planting, and protecting their property from hostile neighbors and Arabs. He learned from his father the virtue of persistence. Many nights he stayed awake at night, alone in the field, guarding it from possible and real intruders.
His father was a very strict person who demanded obedience. He learned to protect his family and be satisfied with very little. These were very trying times in Eretz Israel, and along with most they suffered from a poor diet.
Who do you think this young fellow grew up to be? Make a selection and submit it in order to find out if you are correct.
from the November 2005 Edition of the Jewish Magazine