Letter to the Editor

Haaretz
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Haaretz

We were only trying to prevent a reverse Nakba

In response to “Where did the Israeli blood libel against Arabs come from?” (Oudeh Basharat, April 5).

I was born in Rehovot and attended the Labor Zionist Beit Hahinukh school there, whose principal was Yaakov Sarid (who went on to become director general of the Education Ministry on behalf of Mapai, the predecessor of the Labor Party). One day he took the very unusual step of convening an assembly of all the students, and informed us that “the children of the Domenitz family will not be coming to school any more, because last night a gang from their neighboring village of Zarnuqa entered their home in Kfar Givton and murdered the mother and the three children, using ‘cold’ weapons.”

I leave the details to Basharat’s imagination, but a Google search of Emmanuel Domenitz’s name in Hebrew can provide a description.

Emmanuel was my good friend. His father and his eldest sister survived the attack because at the time they were in a hospital after a car accident. It was in 1939, we were both born in 1931. Relations between Zarnuqa and Rehovot were very close, and included the purchase of fresh produce, the employment of villagers in the homes of Rehovot farmers and the Rehovot author who described the neighborly relations between the two communities. He called himself Hawaja Musa, but his name was Moshe Smilansky.

Years went. One day, after November 29, 1947 [the day the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 favoring partition], my mother came home shaken up. She told me that outside the house were two women from Zarnuqa who were arguing over which of them would take over our beautiful house after they killed all the Jews.

As we know, the Arab states promised to drown in blood the state established by the Jews and tried to do so. I and five of my 11th-grade classmates were removed from school, outfitted with Sten submachine guns and the like and brought to Kfar Bilu. There, beside a metal barrier, we were told that the Egyptian column would pass by the next morning on its way to Tel Aviv: “Use your weapons and your training and try to stop them.” In the morning our commander came and told us the Palmach had stopped them near Ashdod so we could hand in our weapons and return to school. There were other adventures, but this should suffice to convince Basharat that we weren’t the ones to initiate what followed. We were only trying to prevent a reverse Nakba, and that’s what happened.

Uri Zehavi, Kibbutz Tzora

What disdain for Jimmy Carter says about Israelis

With regard to “Hillary guarantees Democrats will keep the U.S. Jewish vote,” (Eric H. Yoffie, April 14),,

“Jimmy Carter was widely seen as indifferent to Israel’s well-being,” writes Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie. Indeed? And in 1980 no less! Just one year after Israel signed its historic peace treaty with Egypt, and two years after President Carter devoted an unprecedented 13 days to peace talks at Camp David, following this up with visits to Cairo and Jerusalem to wrap up the agreement.

The accord with Egypt, in which the U.S. president played such a vital role, was undoubtedly the single most important event in our history. It removed the danger of the only army that ever really threatened us. At the time, Zeev, the brilliant cartoonist of Haaretz, depicted the agreement as placing the roof on the Israeli “house.” He was conveying the message that, at last, Israel’s existence was guaranteed.

Is there no limit to our ingratitude, or is it simply that we aren’t really grateful for the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty? And what does either interpretation say about us as a people?

Daniel Gavron,
Motza Elite

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