What Price Israel's “Normalcy”?
A Young Nation and its Ideals
Even a superficial observer might notice the three traits in Israel’s Jewish youth that still strike me as fundamental after twenty years of experience. Our Jewish youth here is distinguished by health, by a spirit of self-sacrifice, and, in its educated members, by a consciousness of being the heir and herald of Hebrew culture. But, while both the hasty and the long-term observer will agree as to these facts, they may evaluate them somewhat differently.
Even the concept of health, apparently so simple, has manifold aspects. One can distinguish between biological and psychological health; and health as a philosophy or way of life is still another matter, and again susceptible to different interpretations.
Biological health is unquestionably a positive value. To the newcomer from Europe, the straight, sturdy children and young people of Eretz Israel, with their fresh complexions and clear, carefree eyes, their waving hair, seem to represent a new type of Jew, and the general impression is no doubt highly favorable. The shift to physical labor, often on the land, the sense of national dignity and military responsibility—all these factors, taken together with wholesome food, have strengthened the bodies of the younger generation, who tend to be taller and stronger than their fathers. (A similar phenomenon can be observed in the second and third generation of American-born Jews).
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