Like Theodor Herzl, I too had a dream… long ago and never realized. It dates back to the year 1947.
On May 21, 1947, I was awarded second prize in an essay contest on Palestine from the Sefer HaYeled Shel HaKeren HaKayemet L’Yisrael (Children’s Register of the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) issued by HaLishka HaRashit b’Yerushalayim (The Central Office in Jerusalem).
For the past 71 years, it has hung framed on a wall in my home as a daily reminder of my connection with Israel in the waning year of the British Mandate…exactly one year before the independence of the State of Israel.
It looks strange to me as it bears my family name (Winer) prior to Hebraization in 1951.
Ever since, my dream has been to be a member of Israel’s diplomatic corps, to serve as a member of our delegation to the United Nations.
While I can never compete with the golden-tongue orator Abba Eban, I did win first prize in a major speaking contest.
In the 1960s, a former classmate from Chavat Halimud in Jerusalem, Moshe Netanel, an Israeli diplomat, suggested that I apply to the Foreign Ministry for a position.
But in the Israel then (and most likely, still in the Israel today) the key to any consideration was the infamous Vitamin “P” (protektzia)… influential recommendation and support. So without it, I never applied and I imagine that at this stage of my life the dream will continue to be unrealized.
Over the years I have published more than 1,500 articles in support of Israel’s history and culture and a book published in 1967 on the Selected Masterpieces of Israel’s Poets and Poems.
In the footsteps of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, father of our modern language, “eved anochi l’ivrit la netzach”…I am an eternal servant to the Hebrew language” to which it is vital to add “eved anochi l’Medinat Yisrael la netzach”. I am an eternal servant to the State of Israel.
No member of our government will ever read these lines written by a foolish dreamer. Nevertheless, the dream persists and my tongue will continue to speak of the glories and wonders of the State of Israel.
Theodor Herzl and the American Martin Luther King, Jr. both had dreams that were realized and live on.
My dream will continue to be only a dream that will perish when my days come to an end.
Without official “protektzia” my main source of service to Israel is through my writings. They give me a golden opportunity to share my thoughts with readers here in Israel and those in far away lands. So I call myself a “literary ambassador” representing beloved Israel to the world.
In one of Tchernichovsky’s beautiful poems he wrote: “Sachki sachki al ha chalomot, zu ani ha cholem sach…” “ Laugh at all my dreams, I the dreamer laugh…
For I still believe in mankind and the spirit in him born.”
Israel likewise believes in the spirit of all its people. It has faith in their potential, admiration for love of our land, willingness to endure hardships, and a burning desire to live in peace with its neighbors.
To be a part of that dream has been a life-long dream… unhappily one that is still unrealized.