I am very grateful to my editor, Miriam Herschlag, for her very nice Chanukah gift to me. In her recent column she lists the 20 most-read articles in TIMES OF ISRAEL 2016. To my pleasant surprise I saw that of the 20, I was listed as number 3.
Fifty-two readers replied with kind messages of thanks for my article MIRACLE ON BUS #4 which was published on March 3, 2016. It told my story of a bus ride in July 1951 when miraculously a re-union between mother and son, both Holocaust survivors believing the other to be dead, met on bus #4.
There was only one critical response from an oleh from Lynn, Msassachusetts who referred to me as a known “writer of fiction”. While the books I have published over the past 60 years and the more than one thousand articles that have appeared in the press of several countries, I have certainly written works of fiction. MIRACLE ON BUS #4 was not one of them. It was an eye-witness account.
That critic was in diapers when I had already been an Israeli citizen. And my life in Israel, my education in Israel, my home in Israel have been amongst my greatest loves and memories. In the early 1950’s I was less critical of Ben-Gurion and the Mapai party, probably because they were the major force in obtaining our independence from Britain. In later years, I became quite critical of the labor parties and turned my allegiance to Menachem Begin’s Herut.
My early childhood Zionist education introduced me to the writings of Vladimnir Zeev Jabotinsky and he became my hero. Active in the Betar movement, my voice was very loud and clear in singing “Shtai godot la Yarden”…. a Betar anthem proclaiming a future state on both banks of the Jordan river. I continued to hope for the realization of the anthem’s lyrics especially following our victory in 1967. But alas, I understand it is not a reasonable expectation anymore.
All that we can hope to hold on to are the Jewish settlements in our historic biblical lands of Judea and Samaria. These are the foundations of Jewish history from the period of King David’s reign when there were no Christians and no Muslims in the world… only Hebrews or Israelites who later were called Jews, and the seven Canaanite pagan nations whom God commanded us to destroy.
We were ordered to remember Amalek, the arch-enemy who sought the destruction of our people as they marched from Egyptian bondage en route to the land of God’s promise to Abraham our first Patriarch.
The descendants of the Amalekites are our neighbors who inhabit our promised land and who, like their forbears, seek our destruction. Agag’s name has been changed to Arafat or even to Abbas but they too will meet the fate of Agag the Amalekite.
Fiction is fickle but truth is testimony. Inspired by the 51 out of 52 voices of readers of this daily newspaper, I pray for the strength to continue my writing in the new year 2017. Believe me, at age 84 I am certainly in need of strength. May the new secular year be for a blessing for us in Israel and for our people dispersed in alien lands.