Secular Hebrew and Esoteric Yiddish:
The Fate of Their Modern Literatures
Although occasional skirmishes still punctuate the armistice, it has been a long while since any large-scale action has taken place in the Yiddish-Hebrew war. Trading across the lines, not wholly interrupted even at the height of hostilities, is openly carried on now. Nor is it unusual to see soldiers from the opposing armies fraternizing in the trenches. Hardly a week passes without some learned, reverent mention of Yiddish in the literary supplements of the Israeli press, hardly a season without the appearance of Yiddish novels in Hebrew translation.
Histadrut, Israel’s federation of labor, has been especially eager to reconcile the two language camps, perhaps because its supporters include American trade union leaders who are still committed in principle to upholding the Yiddishism of their old (and by now virtually outworn) Bundist creed. Whenever a Yiddish dignitary visits Israel, he is certain to be honored with a reception by Histadrut, which takes pains to insure a large turnout of the older Hebrew writers.
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