Israel and Hebrew
To the Editor:
“Zion Revisited” by Dan Jacobson in your July issue calls for a reaction. I accept all his criticisms of the country, and some of its institutions certainly remind one of Chelm. . . . But the main point Jacobson wants to prove—namely that the sabras are not a normal people, that they carry the burden of the Galut, and that they remain restless—is a joke! Your readers have certainly met sabras—did they find in them an “anomaly of Jewishness”? . . . And since when was the Jewish State “expected” to be a home only for European (“white”) Jews?
Jacobson (like Arthur Koestler) ridicules “the language no one else speaks on earth or wants to speak.” How can the warm author of The Zulu and the Zeide talk about the greatest miracle of our time, the rebirth of the Hebrew language, in such terms? Ask De Valera and Nehru (who both tried in vain to revive archaic languages)! If you brush away all Israel’s other achievements . . . and leave only the rebirth of the Hebrew language, only for this miracle—it was kedai. I think the greatest satisfaction in life a Jew can find outside Israel is to study and master this language; and then to read, for instance, in the original, the Bible, and all the wonderful literature around the Bible which, has been written in this “spiritual center” during the last generation.
Tel Aviv, Israel