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The Negativity That Israelis Refuse to Accept

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Sukkot 1933. Kibbutz Na’an was 3 years old, and in honor of the holiday, composer David Zehavi set Pinchas Lender’s short poem “Malu Asameinu Bar” (“Fill Our Stores”) to music. Life in this country was hard, very hard, and the optimistic song, which exuded hope and faith in the future, became hugely popular throughout the Yishuv, the Jewish community in pre-state Israel. It was practically the anthem of Sukkot. Its high point, the line “What else will you ask of us, homeland?” thrills anyone who sings it, even today.

In those days, when the skies of Europe were beginning to darken, the British had closed the gates to immigration and the Arabs were attacking in ambushes, the Yishuv experienced much bereavement and failure. But the near total belief that, as another song said, “Here in the land of our forefathers, all our hopes will be realized,” propelled the community on, “despite all the obstacles … to build, to create, to toil.”

Even then, the builders, creators and toilers had to contend with the “little foxes that spoil the vineyards,” as it says in the Song of Songs. Like those who........

© Haaretz