Monday, May 05, 2008

Israel at 60 - take 6

Ah - what might have been!

Read this article from Haaretz on Yehuda Magnes.


Saving the Jews from themselves

... On April 12, 1948, Magnes wrote in his diary: "For more than a generation I have been pleading for peace, conciliation, understanding. How can I not and stand before the world and say: 'Friends, stop the bloodshed. Understanding is possible.'

On April 13, Magnes was informed that 34 Hebrew University and Hadassah hospital employees were killed in an attack on a convoy to Mount Scopus. All told, 77 people were killed in the attack, many of them Magnes' friends. But Manges was no less shocked by the massacre than he was by the circumstances that preceded it: Four days earlier, the Irgun and Lehi pre-state Jewish underground militias killed more than 100 Palestinians at Deir Yassin.

At the funerals of those killed in the convoy attack, Magnes condemned the cruelty of both sides, and was denounced as a traitor by many members of the Yishuv (Jewish community in Palestine).

Magnes considered himself to be a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and the prophet Jeremiah, and opposed all forms of nationalism that are based on military force.

Magnes predicted that even if we win the war, there would then be another war, and another one. It would never end.

Was Magnes a dreamer, or where his ideas workable? Sadly no one tried them. But if nothing else the last paragraph above was indeed prophetic. Jeremiah indeed.


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