From Revisionist to Realist

I cannot help being who I am. I enjoy reading the well-written comments of our Times of Israel bloggers but I am surprised that so few of us are Israelis. It seems that most of our writers are non-Israelis who view our lives and situations through different lenses.

Blogging has become for me a new way of life.

When I wrote a weekly column in a newspaper for some years, I was known as a journalist and a columnist.
When my stories are published in a journal which appears only three times a year I am known as a Contributing Editor.
Now, looking up the definition of a blogger on the internet, I discover that I am one of them.

A blog is “a frequently updated online personal journal or diary; it is a place to express yourself to the world. Every human being has a voice and wishes their voice to be heard. Bloggers have an opportunity of reaching hundreds of thousands of people each and every day”. So much for the official definition.

But I have discovered, sometimes painfully, that blogging has guidelines and there are things that I want to say but cannot say under the rules of guidelines.

I wish more of our bloggers were Israeli citizens, as I am. We can see more clearly our world and society than a writer from London or San Francisco. Or can we? Perhaps viewing from a distance one has a different vision.

I grew up as a Revisionist Zionist, a member of Betar (named for our hero, Josef Trumpeldor) and believed zealously in the ideas and ideals which Zev Jabotinsky put forward when the Zionist movement first began. I still hum (and sometimes sing) the words to Jabotinsky’s credo… “shtai gedot la Yarden, zu shelanu zu gam ken”… both banks of the Jordan, these also are ours.

Jabotinsky firmly believed that all of Palestine on both banks of the river Jordan were promised to the Jews as their future State. His dream was demolished in 1922 when the British gave 77% of mandatory Palestine to the Emir Abdullah of Trans-Jordan who ultimately became the first Hashemite monarch of the Kingdom of Jordan.

So this revisionist blogger has become a realist. Jordan is Jordan, it is not Palestine, and it can never be ours again.

When the Roman emperor Hadrian conquered Jerusalem, he re-named it Aelia Capitolina and the name of Judea was then called Palestine, a reference to the Aegean tribe known as the Philistines who occupied the coastal areas of the land.

In our centuries of exile and wandering, we longed for a return to both banks of our ancestral homeland and upon our ultimate return we fought to possess them. Our visionaries shared their visions, our dreamers shared their dreams, but those who ruled us made the visions and dreams an impossibility.

Everyone speaks of peace. Our prophet Jeremiah proclaimed centuries ago, “shalom shalom v’ain shalom”… peace, peace but there is no peace.

No. There is no peace and this revisionist-turned-realist blogger believes that there can never be a peace. But there can be a quiet existence. We have peace agreements with Egypt and with Jordan but they are cold peace. They don’t visit us and we don’t visit them. But they don’t shoot at us and we don’t shoot at them. Instead of fighting, we have learned to talk together harmoniously, even in matters with which we disagree.

It would be ideal if such a situation could develop between us and the Palestinian Arabs. But I don’t foresee it in the near future. So in the meantime our soldiers must guard our walled and fenced borders and our police must protect us from the daggers which are thrust into our flesh.

We Israelis are an optimistic people and we believe in possibilities. So if this Israeli revisionist could metamorphasize into a realist, there may yet be hope for our childrens’ future. As both we and they may say…halevai! or insh’Allah!

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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