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A Diary: Part Two (June 6, 1983 - April 8, 1988)

Sections of a diary kept regularly since June 6, 1982.

The Anniversary of Yaron's Death June 6, 1983

I'm reminded of a song we'd sing with great yearning when we were in the Zionist youth movement abroad: "The days pass, a year goes by, and only the melody forever remains..." We would sit around the campfire, and if there wasn't a real fire, we'd wrap red cellophane around a lightbulb. We'd sit huddled together, a group of youths in the far-off city of Rochester, New York, and we'd dream of Palestine [as it was recognized before the creation of Israel], of kibbutz life, of Aliya, and of a new and healthy society. We believed that we, each and every one of us, could have an impact on the course of history, could change it for the better. And now, even the words change, and lose, their meaning: "The days pass, a year goes by. And only the sadness forever remains..."

Here it is, the umpteenth time that I'm writing and thinking about the auspicious occasion which will take place in another few hours. I know that I won't be able to say even a quarter, nor even a tenth, of what I've written, because since Yaron was killed I have written every single day.

This time, I know that I'm going to release myself from the vows I made to my family members who had justifiably asked that during the year I not tie together my personal mourning with my "national mourning".

At a moment such as this, I'm having a hard time giving clarity to the complex of thoughts and feelings in me. It would be so simple to remain perfectly silent. To shut myself off to the outside. I respect the bereaved parents who act in this manner and weep for them. But, I can't not speak what I feel, and I truly believe that Yaron would have wanted me to do as I have done over this last year.

Wouldn't Yaron have done the same?...

Words Said at My Son Yaron's Grave June 6, 1983

One year after he was killed at the Beaufort, in Lebanon.

I feel as if I'm walking a tightrope above an abyss.

One wrong move, one word too many might make me fall, with no way out.
My remarks are singly directed at trying with all my might to come out of the abyss. For there is no clear path for doing so. If I could only find the one word which embodies the essence;

The short, perfect, crystal-clear sentence.

I am in need of you, my close and extended family, and your continued support and understanding.

Thus, I am obligated to try and explain to you what has actually befallen me, and us, this year. Perhaps by shedding light on our inner world, you'll be able to comprehend and continue to be with us.

I shall speak to you, because Yaron is unable to hear. But, in my mind, I shall continue to be with him all the time.

The last words in Yaron's memorial album are: "Remember the past, live the present, trust in the future."

It's very hard to trust in your future when it lays dead before you. But we are here today in order to be express faith in the spirit of his words; to try and find a way not to despair, not to give up.

It's so very hard to go on believing...Besides which, the last book that Yaron read, Your Land, Your Country, by Amos Kenan, ends thus: "Yigal Allon [a leading figure in the pre-State Zionist movement who became an eminent Israeli statesman of the Labor movement] died on foreign soil [referring, with irony to Israel itself]"..."the state which he created, robbed him of his homeland...1948 was the Revolution of Hebrews that never was. It was the dream that dreamt itself, faded away".

We are here to cry for Yaron. And we are in bad straits if we cannot cry, for then we shall either explode or turn to stone. But after the tears, between one cry and the next, we out it to Yaron, to ourselves, and to our sons to keep on thinking and acting and fighting for a future better and more just. Nonetheless, from where do I get the strength to speak at my son Yaron's grave?

From him, from Yaron. More than two years ago, he stood right here and gave a eulogy for his best friend, Yaniv. Could I be allowed to do any less?

I hope that I shall do it as well as he. Because at that time, I too gave a eulogy for Yaniv. But Yaron did it better than I, he knew what to say about Yaniv, his friend from reconnaissance, taken too soon from amongst the living, from his family, his girlfriend, and his friends.

Perhaps it stems from my real, profound need to try and find and comprehend the meaning of my son's death in this war. For it is unthinkable that we should allow ourselves and the world to become accustomed to burying our sons in war, while our lives go on as usual...

In his book, Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl says that any suffering can be borne so long as it has meaning. Is this true, really?

I'll admit, Raya Harnick, too, gave me a measure of courage. A widow, she lost her eldest son, Goni, in this war, and hasn't for one moment ceased fighting against the war and its undertakers. And I specifically mean undertakers and not those who undertook it.

I have been helped, too, by Ya'akov Guterman, Fania and Avraham Aliel, Mona and David Sherf, Dita and Ya'akov Ben-Akiva, Ruth Lilior, and, finally, Yehudit and Meir Reich, all of them bereaved parents of the Golani division reconnaissance unit family. I learned from each one how he or she struggled daily through this year. Each in a different and special way.

It was Raya who first said to me, during the first week while I was deep in despair, that we must not let Begin and his associates expel us from our country. Following this horrible year, I am ready to believe today that on their crazy and war-seeking path, they would be willing to expel from the country not only the Arabs, but anyone who opposes a Greater (and Growing) Israel ["Greater Israel", or in Hebrew, "Complete Israel" denotes the view of many on the Israeli right that Israel has historical and/or divine rights to the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, i.e. including the West Bank and Gaza].

But this is something we shall not let them do. Our vision is one worthy of fighting for, and we shall make it real:

That this shall be a country in which the sanctity of human life is the ultimate value. And indeed, every human being was created in His image.

At a cemetery, one is not supposed to speak of things political. But I truly believe that there is not one person in Israel today who has come out of the Lebanon War like he or she went in. We have all changed. Reality has changed. And if we do not closely examine what has transpired and search together for what we must do, then it may be that we shall be forced to stand over the graves of more young men. This is something we must not allow.

But I learn from Yaron on this subject, too. On June 6, 1977, at the age of 17, he wrote this to his brother, Gilad: "...The date, if you've noticed, is a pretty significant one, if not for us then at least for the Arabs. Because ten years ago was the Six-Day War which left a foul taste in the Arabs' mouths. But what can be done? In Israel, things are a total mess with Begin in power, there's no government yet and they're trying to set up a coalition."

And perhaps courage is not the issue here. For my words gush forth from inside me, and I don't have the strength to hold them back, for it's as if my life depends on them.

This whole year, you've accompanied me on the path by which I've tried to contribute my share to stopping the horrors of war: Through my letters to Begin and Sharon and again to Begin and Arens [Moshe Arens, who succeeded Ariel Sharon as Defense Minister]; through my participation in the protest vigil across from Begin's office and then the discharged soldiers' vigil across from his residence, 24 hours a day; through demonstrating in all the rallies of Peace Now; and lately, through my efforts to help as much as I can with "Parents Against Silence" [an organization of parents opposed to the war in Lebanon]. But there is still work to be done and we must try and discuss other ways of preventing war.

Yaron loved to write, and I go on at length, out of some hope and faith that words do indeed have the power to touch, to influence, to motivate, and to change things...But words alone must not suffice! Two days ago, at a Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv, I held up a placard with Ya'akov Guterman. On the placard was written: "What Did My Son Die For?" I said to him that, had we published the letters of the families bereaved in this war, maybe it would have brought many more out of their houses to get involved...And Ya'akov, the man who, from the moment his son, Raz, was killed at the Beaufort, has implored, cried out, spoken and written without a halt, helping to publish two books of protest poetry against the war in Lebanon, this same man broke out in bitter tears and in a loud voice said:

"Yehoshua, you're so naive. You continue to believe that words, poems, and letters have an impact. They're murdering our sons and you want to print letters!"

Nonetheless, words, too, may serve as a weapon and we try to contend with them. But this is something we shall not let them do. Our vision is one worthy of fighting for, and we shall make it real:

That this shall be a country in which the sanctity of human life is the ultimate value. And indeed, every human being was created in His image.

At a cemetery, one is not supposed to speak of things political. But I truly believe that there is not one person in Israel today who has come out of the Lebanon War like he or she went in. We have all changed. Reality has changed. And if we do not closely examine what has transpired and search together for what we must do, then it may be that we shall be forced to stand over the graves of more young men. This is something we must not allow.

But I learn from Yaron on this subject, too. On June 6, 1977, at the age of 17, he wrote this to his brother, Gilad: "...The date, if you've noticed, is a pretty significant one, if not for us then at least for the Arabs. Because ten years ago was the Six-Day War which left a foul taste in the Arabs' mouths. But what can be done? In Israel, things are a total mess with Begin in power, there's no government yet and they're trying to set up a coalition."

And perhaps courage is not the issue here. For my words gush forth from inside me, and I don't have the strength to hold them back, for it's as if my life depends on them.

This whole year, you've accompanied me on the path by which I've tried to contribute my share to stopping the horrors of war: Through my letters to Begin and Sharon and again to Begin and Arens [Moshe Arens, who succeeded Ariel Sharon as Defense Minister]; through my participation in the protest vigil across from Begin's office and then the discharged soldiers' vigil across from his residence, 24 hours a day; through demonstrating in all the rallies of Peace Now; and lately, through my efforts to help as much as I can with "Parents Against Silence" [an organization of parents opposed to the war in Lebanon]. But there is still work to be done and we must try and discuss other ways of preventing war.

At home, our family reaffirms its decision not to let Yaron simply disappear.

We know that in a physical sense he won't be coming back to us. But we continue to speak of him, as a human being, a son, and a loved one, and refer to him often, with joy and in sorrow. And in such a manner, he continues to exist...in our imagination. We are hopeful that whoever reads the memorial album by and about Yaron will also be able to pursue a dialogue with him, and will even ask some new questions, although there's no way of receiving a direct answer.

In the diary I started after my son Yaron's death, I wrote:
"To cry, to feel, to wonder, to inquire, to search, to write -- and to act".

Lest my senses be dulled, and so that I may continue to uncover additional memories from the past.

When the tears had dried somewhat, when we found the courage to go to his room, we discovered that in his drawer, astoundingly well-ordered, were all the letters he'd received in his short lifetime and beside them a green notebook, `A Diary and Book of Compositions'. We decided to do all we could to publish a memorial album whose content and form would be as close as possible to that of his diary and his personality. The reader shall feel that a life bubbling with excitement was cut off before it had even gotten underway, and that this may be may be allowed to happen again!

And the very preparation of the album, the reading and rereading, through the long months, of all the letters, compositions, and poems, has helped us, if only a little, to bridge a gap unbridgeable: The disappearance, so sudden, of our dear Yaron.

It was, indeed, the roughest year of our lives. And the Fridays and holidays were the roughest of all. Waiting for Yaron to burst through the door, pour himself something to drink, put on a favorite record with the volume a little too high, take the Yediot newspaper, sit in the rocking chair... and read aloud the odd sentence which struck his fancy.

Sitting in the dining hall on Friday night, Sabbath eve, and seeing all the families with their sons [on furlough] from the army or after their discharge and knowing that Yaron would not be among them.

We find no consolation, nor shall we ever, for Yaron should not have been killed.

The fact that in our memories he will forever remain young, robust, and handsome is of no consolation. We want him alive! We want him growing older and gaining wrinkles, but alive!

There are some rough moments in which the danger of forgetting arises to assault us. Would it be possible for Yaron to recede from our memory? Would it be possible for him, over time, to slip away from us?

Daydreaming, it's as if I see Yaron descending and sinking further and further into shifting sands, into a bottomless swamp...and I can't save him...

And the dreams come nightly to haunt me the entire year.

Too many times have I wandered in them through desert land, sandstorms not allowing me to reach my goal.

Too many times have soldiers appeared, Yaron not among them.

Too many time have refugees asked for help getting home, and I incapable of showing them the way.

Too many times have I been unable to get back to my own home, Ein-Dor.

I want to tell you that we would never have made it through the year without you. For this, the entire family wishes to express its gratitude. And the special things about it was the innate, healthy sense of proportion which you all showed: You knew when to come, and when to leave us alone. There were some who came and asked in the simplest and most direct way possible: "Please, tell us how we can be there for you?"

We know how hard it can be to come to the home of bereaved parents. Just a few days ago, I met an old acquaintance, a press photographer who has taken part in all of Israel's wars. He embraced me and said: "Forgive me, Yehoshua, but I just haven't found the courage to come until now."

And when, thirty days after Yaron's death, our granddaughter, Maude, was born here on Ein-Dor, one of our young women came up to me and said: "Now that you've been provided with joy, I am able to approach you. I did not have the ability to come before that.."
What else can I tell you about the year gone by?

How hard it was for us in the first few weeks, when a hundred or so of our kibbutz members were called up [Israel in war-time needs to complement its standing forces with a mass mobilization of adult reservists], and we knew and sensed that wherever we went, you were worriedly, anxiously and lovingly keeping us company. And when, in the afternoon, we would flee our apartment and stroll on the paths of our kibbutz home during the red sunsets at the end of June 1982, we didn't cease to think about how Yaron would never experience all this beauty which we'd created since the first day of the kibbutz.

It's sad: We greatly extended our family this year. We call it the "Beaufort Family", six families whose sons were killed at the Beaufort on the first day of the war. We have been enriched by wonderful friends with whom we've spent long, meaningful hours. Nonetheless, it's so very sad that we had to meet in this manner, under these circumstances.

Within the immediate family, we did as much as we could so that our two infant granddaughters would not be too affected by the heavy atmosphere. As much as we possible, we tried to help each other to not descend into the underworld of grief and to keep on coping with life as well as we could.

It was a year filled with contradictions. I tried to find the words which would wisely and rationally convey that which is expressed by emotion, pain, and sorrow over the loss of my son Yaron's life.

I hope that you will be partners in my unrelenting efforts to bridge a wide gap: Between the need to cry for my son again and again, working through my private mourning to the fullest extent possible, and a profound and contradictory need to prevent further bereavement and to not let my life's ideals be destroyed. The former demands a turning inward, emotion, tears, pain, self-enclosure, being with the family for as long a duration as possible, and a prolonged immersion into the memories of the past. The latter demands the exact opposite: Exposure, moving outward with a thought process as coherent and objective as possible, while connecting with the world out there, and striding into the future.

It is clear to me, with the sharpest and most crystal clarity, that I may in no way allow myself to sacrifice either of these two profound and fundamental needs.

Marking the anniversary of a person's death is an ancient custom of human society. Undoubtedly, society designated this day so that we would not forget the singularity of the deceased, thus giving expression to the sanctity of human life. But certainly this custom is also maintained in response to society's existential need to return the bereaved families to the realm of the active and the living. Would it be that we shall find the strength to do so.

June 16, 1983

Yesterday morning, Ramah and I went to see Mona and David and we were with them for several hours. We went to the cemetery and added another potted plant to the great number of flowers and potted plants already there. And we smelled a new fire which threatened to destroy even the cemetery and its greenery.

We went to their room where they were alone. They had finished preparing for the rough day which awaited them, and greeted us with obvious affection. They showed us a well-ordered folder containing what they had written to Begin and Sharon: newspaper quotes about the Beaufort, and, most importantly, poems written about Avikam by his friends, most notably a poem written by Adi, from Kibbutz Beit Zera. There were some who were critical of this poem. "What's all the fuss about? People get killed in every war -- you have to get over it and move on."...

Mona reiterates that only a historical board of inquiry is likely to reveal the entire truth. David is satisfied with what was written in the Ma'ariv newspaper, and they argue the point on the morning of the Anniversary as marked in the Hebrew calendar.

They show me a poem which Avikam wrote on a napkin in the dining hall at a party for Tu B'Shvat [among the Jewish people, the New Year's celebration for Trees, a holiday in anticipation of the spring renewal], while he was on leave from the army.

I try to persuade them that, in spite of everything, as a year reaches completion, they must try to enter his room, start reading, and publish the many lovely and meaningful things which Avikam wrote. I related to them how important the work on Yaron's book had been for us.

June 18, 1983

Something sad and peculiar is happening to me. Suddenly, I'm tightening up, getting stiffer, and once more the tears go away. Its frightening and I search for an answer...

Ramah feels that right now she'd just like to get away from it all and relax -- to not go on talking about the war, but to find solitude with her pain, her loss. Perhaps she's worried lest I be overdoing things with an abundance of activity. If she were able, she'd get up tomorrow morning and go travelling off, whereas I feel that everything I do now is essential for me, that every activity, every contact that I make creates further reverberation and additional contacts...

July 29, 1983

I write after a relatively long break. And the reason is that I'm bearing an increasingly heavy load.

I am neither able nor inclined to leave Yaron behind. His memorial album continues to flow out of me to others in the world out there, and from them back into me. I feel that I have created a tide of sincere, painful, profound identification with Yaron and with us; the tide's waves make me and us shudder anew, and create new waves within me which go out and reach others, too.

August 13, 1983

For a long time, Ramah and I anxiously awaited Natan Zach's [a renowned talent in the forefront of modern Israeli poetry] program about Yaron. We sat and cried for the entire hour, an hour of remembrance and sorrow. Natan Zach is not a subtle or soothing poet. He's more like a prophet, and prophets have to raise up their voices, and that's what he does. And how can one speak subtly or soothingly today?

We were with Yaron all day and every day. By morning I was already crying, reading in the "Hotam" weekend news magazine the letters to Yosef Galili whose son, too, was killed in Lebanon.

The program, Words Depict a Mood, broadcasted on the Army radio station, was a work of art. The selections were wonderful and the transitions were few and well-done. I felt Yaron all over again, my Yaron, our Yaron. Natan Zach peeled off the hard shell: He removed the pointy bristles and for a little while he brought Yaron back to us, alive and talking, not just on paper. Things are so different, the words are so different when they are read out loud.

It was very important for me that Natan Zach acknowledge us through his program. It was the most important affirmation that Yaron's memorial album has the power to reach out and motivate.

After the program was over, it was hard for me to be outside on the kibbutz, or in the dining hall. I had a hard time living with the stares of those who had just now experienced Yaron at the same time as us. Not to mention the stares of those who might have forgotten Yaron and who had a hard time hearing about him, as concerned as they are for the lives of their loved-ones in Lebanon.

As I've been writing this diary, I've noticed that I make frequent use of the conjunction "and". Could this be my way of trying to "form a junction" with Yaron, with the past, and with the people whom I'm trying so hard to reach?

August 24, 1983

Questions prior to the meeting with Shimon Weiss who is preparing to write a piece for the "Davar" newspaper.

Is it legitimate for bereaved parents to speak out about the war? Is it legitimate to abridge their right to cry out?

What limits have I set for myself: To always appear only on an individual level and never as part of an organization of bereaved parents.

What impact is there on those who sincerely believe that our activities lessen the resolve of the soldiers and weaken them and us?

If my goal in the Shimon Weiss piece is to reach as many people as possible and not let them forget the price of this war, will this really come about?

When history sits in judgement, Reuven Hecker's anti-war movie, "Bokito", will have to be included as material in the indictment of the Likud. But, as for now, this movie should be shown everywhere Israeli's are asking themselves what is the true meaning of the State of Israel. "Returning from war, paralyzed by the memories, you find the promises you made to yourself in rough times coming up against day-to-day life. You return from the war like a survivor, but make believe that it was a certain type of reserve army duty [Israeli men, following their regular army service, continue to serve as reserve soldiers four to six weeks a year until the age of 45-50].

How can I keep on walking on the fine line between a shout and a whisper?

Everyone's time-clock winds down differently.

Is it possible that we, "the most routed army on the planet", as Ya'akov Guterman calls us, could make a larger contribution towards coping with life in the shadow of war?

And perhaps Yisrael Ring of Kibbutz Ein Hamifratz is right when he maintains that now, a year having passed, I must get involved in "positive activities", and not just those in remembrance of Yaron or against the war. The reason:

"If we don't have positive things in our life, we don't have a reason to live."

March 8, 1984

A meeting of the Beaufort parents at our home on Ein-Dor.

The theme of the meeting was: In what ways can we help each other in our mourning? And what do we do and how do we live between one meeting and the next? How do we survive?

Following the Passover Seder [The Ceremonial April 17, 1984 Holiday Meal]

Everyday I think about Yaron and why he's not with us, but don't speak about it much with Ramah, Tamar, and David.

...Gathering at the dining hall on the eve of the Passover holiday [Jewish holidays begin, and are celebrated, at sundown]. Many members come up to greet us with a "Happy Holiday". It's been a long time since I've known how to react. Though I must note that this year I respond with a "Happy Holiday", albeit quietly. But I don't initiate the greeting. Each time, I try to convince myself anew that, by looking me in the eye and clasping my hand, these people are really trying to say: We know it's hard on you that Yaron is no longer with us, but accept these greetings from the bottom of our hearts because this is the way we know to say it: We're glad that you're with us and wish you the least possible sorrow, hoping that you'll find consolation in our kibbutz home with your friends...Am I off-base?

I look over at Uzi and Mickie, members of Yaron's age-group. They're performing music tonight, right before my eyes. Uzi, too, has lost a family member -- his father, Rafi, who died of a heart attack. And he performs, and comes over to extend his greetings...

I make a mental note that this is just about the maximum time that Yaron would stay seated with us at the Passover Seder. Passover was not one of his most favored holidays because of the speeches and how long it took. Mimi, a friend of our daughter, who became one of the family, remarked that she recalls how happy Yaron was when, two years ago at Passover, rain began to fall and right in the middle of the Seder they had to bring the hay inside [hay is a traditional decoration at the Passover holiday]...

During the Seder, I think about the book by that American rabbi, "Bad Things Happen To Good People", and I believe that in Lily Pinkas' book, too, "Death and the Family", she talks about how hard it is for them to go out and have a good time, and how, nonetheless, they've reached the point where they can enjoy themselves and only afterwards think about their loss as well. In this respect, it just may be easier for someone who's not on a kibbutz, where everyone who sees you knows that you've recently lost a son. When you're off the kibbutz, sometimes you can be around people who don't know you whatsoever...

A few people came up to us to extend special greetings: Ofra, who lost Yaniv, Yaron's close friend; and Pirhia who lost her two children in a traffic accident. And I knew what they felt inside...that it's so sad, but that, for everyone's sake, you have to go on...

March 15, 1984

At the meeting this week of the Beaufort parents, it was made clear to me once again how hard it is for a "stranger" to understand the bereaved parents.

...I feel today, after 39 years of building the country, the Galilee region, and the kibbutz, that only our children Yaron and Amit, buried in the Ein-Dor soil, can be sure of their future in this land.

March 19, 1984

This morning, I read in the book, "The Territorial Imperative", about the Emperor penguins of the Antarctic polar region. The female lays an egg on the male's foot, and then all the females leave the males and return to the warm, nourishment-bearing sea. For two months, the males guard the eggs, crowding together in order to keep warm. However, the males in the outer circles get colder than the ones at the center, so they're always taking turns, letting those on the outside come to the center , and so on and so on.

Ostensibly, it is the utmost in consideration. The scientific explanation ties it to hereditary traits which evolved in order to preserve the species' existence under conditions of extreme cold and little food.

And yet, could we not learn something from this phenomenon? As human beings? As Jews? As Israelis? As members of a kibbutz?

...and now that Tamar and David have decided to try living a life outside the kibbutz, there is a welling up of personal sorrow, pain, and foreboding from the impending separation from them and from our granddaughter, Maude.

March 20, 1984

How does one measure a memory?

Yaron, where are you? Don't run away from me, don't disappear. Stay with me as you were, my "Walnut".

It will soon be two years since you went away never to come back. Why are you? And where are you now? What's the meaning of all this? What did you think about in your final moments, there on the slopes of the Beaufort?

Every week, Mother and I visit the grave, the cold stone, not knowing what else to do, we make a garden, tend the plants around the grave. In between the tending and the watering, the hoeing and the clearing of stones...we do some crying. It's you who is to be credited for the fact that we've begun tending Amit's grave, Amit, our little son who died at two weeks of age.

If you were able to give us a signal, you'd tell us to stop all this grieving and mourning. Enough is enough! Life has to go on. Does it really? Is that really what you said when Yaniv died?

June 6, 1984

...Each day, I keep on thinking about Yaron, who is no longer among us, searching for the meaning in his death and the meaning in our continuing to live. I put the two thoughts together. As time goes by, the questions multiply, and for each answer more questions are added.

Once in a while, I feel strong enough to stand before members of my kibbutz and tell them what I've learned over the two years passed. I sense that if I share my thoughts and feelings with them, I'll help myself go on living in their midst and I'll help them go on living in mine. For we shall never learn how to live with death so close at hand. We shall never know how to act as bereaved parents who've lost their son in a war which was anathema to them.

As his father, I want Yaron to be remembered, and not disappear from view. They all went off to this unnecessary war, and only he did not return to us on Ein-Dor. Why, isn't it unthinkable that Yaron should just fade from view? But, how will it be possible to preserve his memory, and the memory of our other sons and fellow members who were killed in previous wars?
And I ask: Can memory be quantified?

These past few months I suffered from a severe backache which eventually caused me to be hospitalized and treated with cortisone which, by some miracle, brought me back to health; since that time there's been no reappearance of the terrible pain which stayed with me during the hard times (in both senses of the word). Just lately, I've found the emotional strength to stand by Shraga Weisskopf and his family in their battle against cancer, through transient victories of the powers of life and, at the end, through the victory of death over life. I don't know from where I've drawn the strength during this time. And perhaps, the answer lies in the fact that I myself have experienced the death of my son, Yaron.

Written while in the hospital with a severe backache. May 9, 1984

The first response to my taped proposal for a joint book came from Fania and Avraham of Kfar Tavor. After listening to it, Fania didn't sleep all night and Avraham wasn't able to listen at all. But, they're willing to go with us, to at least give a hearing -- and to try and collaborate on our book.

On the other hand, and in spite of this, I'm fearful of this step. Maybe I'm making a mistake, putting myself and everyone else in reverse...Tomorrow, Philip and Yehudit Agon will be coming from Haifa; they lost their beloved son in Lebanon. They're coming to cry with us over our bitter fate. And today, we're going to see Meir Reich who, after also losing his son, Melmel, has been so despondent about all that surrounds him.

At Raya's house in Jerusalem, we met with Amia Leiblich who served as moderator for the discussion of "Do we want to publish a book in common, and if so, how?"

October 18, 1984

...Ramah told me this morning that she'd been by Shraga for just a few minutes. She related to him what had been on her mind: She doesn't believe that there's life after death, but who could prove it...and so, should a miracle occur, and should Shraga meet Yaron, he should tell Yaron how much she loves him. And he hugged her...and gave his word...

My mind wanders back to "The Thibault Family", to the epilogue and the death of Antoine...his thoughts about life and death -- about family and war and the future -- 70 years ago. It's all so fitting for our own time! How, at least in the novel, the final months of his life saw such a fine reconciliation, first and foremost with himself, as well as with his close friends and members of his family via his brother, Jacques, who learned belatedly that he could have been such a very close and beloved friend...and not just a brother...

March 23, 1985

I write because I do not want to lose my memories, although one might ask why I'm saving everything? Maybe, deep-down in my heart I believe that the day will come when I'll return to direct involvement in life around me, and then I shall try to create something meaningful for myself, and maybe even for others, out of all the texts and photographs. And in the meantime, the writing helps me live and maybe even helps me try and help others...

...Last night, I read the newspaper article about Benda, my niece Noah's husband. He talks about how he'd accepted the responsibility of instructing the previously non-combat officers who'd now been called for reserve duty in Lebanon. Without a doubt, his is a very moving story. I learned something else I hadn't known until now! Our extended family has paid above and beyond its share of the cost for the creation of the State of Israel. Benda's father was killed in the army, and his mother was killed in a shelling of Tel Aviv!!! Ramah says: Is there a family in Israel who hasn't paid the price? Surely such families exist, too. In any event, our extended family has paid more than enough.

...Several times this week we spoke with our children in Israel and abroad. We're anxiously awaiting the birth of Naomi and Shaul's son. They're thinking about names: Daivd or Moshe...I'll speak my mind, if only to reexamine where I stand on such a sensitive issue. In Jewish tradition, it is customary that the son or daughter be named after a dead parent or grandparent as a way of acknowledging the perpetuation of the family. I was named Yehoshua Zelik, after my father who had been killed in an accident before I was born...After Yaron died, for the first time only girls were born in our family. But even they could have been given names which "resembled"...but we weren't in favor.

Nearly 3 years since Yaron's death April 4, 1985

Less than a day since the offer made by Orit N'vo of the Israel Army radio station: Would we agree to do an interview for a program to be broadcast on Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, called "Profiles of Young Men Who Fell in Israel's Wars". Ramah and I said yes, because we don't want Yaron to be forgotten. Since then, I haven't ceased thinking about what I'll be able to say about Yaron in five or six minutes, the short segment devoted to him.

Ramah and I have no need for Memorial Days. We find communion with Yaron every day and we visit his grave every week. Over time, we've returned to life's "outer circle", that is we're functioning; we've taken on some responsibility. But "on the inside", a night doesn't go by that the dreams do not take us back to real life.

Will I be able to say something about our Yaron which will reach out and touch the hearts of those listening? Words that try to touch...in what manner? I'd like them to hear his friends, too, Uzi, Ro'i, and Iris, and perhaps most of all, I'd like them to hear Yaron.

Why is Army Radio dedicating programs to profiles of young men who have fallen in war? Is it possible, after three years of senseless war, to do a regular program this year? Is the purpose of Memorial Day simply to remember the young men fallen? Why aren't they devoted to the sanctity of life and the need to do everything possible so that the young men will stop being killed?

Were I a poet, perhaps I could pack into a few lines the essential meaning of a young man's life plucked before its time. And even then, it would be merely a fragment. If I only knew how to form one crystal which could evince the total human being. It's hard for me to start telling about our Yaron. Just yesterday they buried another young man, and new family in bereavement is in such pain, in shock, not comprehending what has befallen them and their son, nor the different life track onto which they entered from now and forever...How long?...How long will we be silent, we parents of sons going off to war? And to this particular war, no less.
Most of those whose sons or family members have not yet been
killed remain silent. Why? Why are they silent? Because, "It can't happen to us" [a reference to a slogan used in a national campaign to raise consciousness about road safety]? Why, even the majority of parents and families of soldiers going off to Lebanon remain silent!

April 16, 1985

A text I prepared for Orit N'vo, Army Radio researcher. As Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers approaches.

"Orit, thanks for coming by, but you won't have an easy time of it. I'd like to include you in what's going on with me and us, and please cut me off if it makes life difficult for you. Before you came, I found the following words in a letter Yaron wrote to us on March 23, 1980:

"Finally, it seems that spring has arrived...
The best thing would be if we could turn the clock
Forward by a little less than three years
And by then I'd be home!..."

And today, it's nearly three years that Yaron is not with us. Yaron knew how to express so many things in words. He should be here -- and I in his place. At the end of one of his poems, he wrote:

"I want light I want life
Will there come a new morning?"

Ramah, my wife, Yaron's mother, has a birthday today. How can I tell her "Happy Birthday"? Today Orit N'vo, a 21 year old girl from Army Radio, will come by to interview us, the mother and father of Yaron who was killed at the Beaufort at age 21, on the first day of a Lebanon War which has brought endless suffering and left families grieving for their loved-ones. Orit asked that we tell about Yaron on Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers. Orit, a soldier in her compulsory army service, is following orders. Though her mission be impossible as well, she does not refuse: They told her to ask bereaved parents to tell about their sons within five minutes...

Where does she find the courage to approach us? And, right after Yaron's death, how could they have sent a 21 year old Casualties Officer [the officer who must inform a soldier's next of kin that he has been wounded or killed] to console us?!

Some say that as long as our soldiers "shoot and then cry about it" [an Israeli expression implying the ambivalence engendered in many by the need to take arms], then we haven't lost our humanity. And we go on sending our sons off to war -- burying them and crying about it. In the name of those killed in war, someone must say something. But in five minutes?

...And I search for words which will express the empty space left in my heart and in our home.

My dear Yaron, what can I say about you?
That you ran to your death with a smile on your face? That you weren't "small-headed" [Israeli army slang, relating to a soldier who makes life easier for himself by ducking responsibility and generally avoiding the notice of his commanders]? That you did everything in your powers to get to a combat unit, knowing the price in store? Could that be possible?

I've been searching for the answer for three years and I can't find it. I search for the words to say that which my heart feels, and I have yet to find them. Is it true that words can really touch, influence, change, and prevent...? Out there, beyond the radio waves, will someone (and if only one, then preferably a young person just starting out) really hear your story and learn from it, from you, your short life, and your death: About how horrible war is and how precious life, how awful the price of war and how risks must be taken -- for the sake of peace.

Our dear Yaron, if you only could, what would you say to those who were willing to listen? Would you really run up the mountain all over again? With head held high, unquestioningly? And undoubtingly?

On February 1, 1982, you wrote in a letter to Ya'el:

"Hi there Ya'el. Once again, on weekly guard duty, sitting at the entrance to the base, Jethro Tull on the radio and reading some book to pass the time. In these crazy days, it's a little hard to write and tell about what's going on with and around me, but I'm feeling a lot of inner doubt and indecision about whether to continue in the army here, like this, or maybe transfer. And like anyplace, anywhere, there are good times and there are bad -- which is when you really get in an awful kind of mood, down in the dumps and depressed.

There are a lot of rough moments and uncertainty about the future, about the days at hand, like now, knowing a lot of things that most of the army and the average citizen doesn't, and it gives me a weird kind of feeling -- a kind of pressure in my stomach, a feeling that can't be put into words.
I can't go into any more detail and I'll talk to you about the rest at some future time.

Take Care of Yourself.
Love, Yaron"

That's what you wrote to Ya'el, 4 months prior to your death...You, who were born in the State of Israel in 1960, assembled your compositions, poems, and letters one year before you died. You'd even written a "Will" already. And only after your death did we read them all.

And you, who are listening to this program, try and think about the events in the lives of the children of 1960, Yaron's contemporaries.

During grade-school, they "experienced" the Six-Day War of 1967.
At 13, Bar-Mitzvah age -- the Yom Kippur War.

During high school finals and college entrance exams -- the Litani Operation.
And in each of these wars, they knew relatives, acquaintances, and young friends who were killed.

He wrote 'Lines' at the age of 14. Could he have foreseen his fate?

Lines
I saw lines, red lines
Lines red of fire.
Extending further and further
Winding into the mountains
Into the tall mountains far away.

Perhaps they will come together
And perhaps they will yet form
Form the shape of a man.
And the man has turned
Into a man who walks
A man of flesh and blood.

And the blood that winds
And flows to mountains far away
Will come together and form a man one day.

Is it any wonder that in 1978 Yaron wrote:

No More Killing!
A sky that's falling and a world of hate,
Are always the themes of the protest singer:
From town to town he passes, preaching
To youth thirsty for the world of tomorrow,
To persuade them is no trouble,
For this is the youth who'll be in the army tomorrow,
The bright eyes that watch him today,
Will see that yesterday was merely a dream.
And with finger on trigger, within the outpost
Know this well, that not all is in vain.
The learned man that went and built
Knew the day would come that there would be a war,
But, he who aspired to keep up with time,
Did not linger over the minor detail.
That minor detail -- a world of hate
With those same people -- and a protest singer
Who can rise up now and rebel
And to the world, "No More Killing!", can yell.

And in 1979, at 19, he wrote

And Perhaps a Last Will
I know, there's still time
I'm going into the army, who knows what will be
And, nevertheless, I'd like it
To be known that I loved to write,
Poems, rhymes, essays
And letters to my friends.
It passes a little with age

And maybe you need more time or peace of mind
So that you may write and enjoy the writing
And yet -- with things in Israel
Like they are today, it's hard to write
From the heart and be wholly at peace with what's written.

It's maddening, isn't it?

If people only knew how much you searched, between the wars, for love and friendship. And how you were denied them. And I'd change a verse or add another one to your poem:

"And maybe you need more time or peace of mind
So that you may love and enjoy the loving
And yet with things in Israel
Like they are today, it's hard to give love
From the heart and be wholly at peace with it."

And after you died, Dalit wrote:

"Deep-down inside, I always knew -- and Yaron knew it too -- that I have time; why, we have our whole lives in front of us, so why hurry? Where to? The bond was so secure...not something that will end..."
Is that so? And what's left us? Memories, pictures, and words...

And in an attempt not to lose our sanity and our hope for those still alive, our children and grandchildren, we would like to believe that you, too, will value Yaron's life, cut off in its prime, and you will do all that you can so that it will be good to live in our country and not to die there [A reference to the dying words attributed to Yosef Trumpeldor, an early Zionist who was killed in a skirmish with local Arabs: "It is a good thing to die for our country". The quote has become part of the Israeli ethos of self-sacrifice]...

It's impossible to take in the deaths of the 645 soldiers killed in Lebanon, to digest the pain, disappointment, and frustration of the thousands of permanently disabled. And perhaps by empathizing with a single Yaron, a boy of 21, you will feel, comprehend -- and do something...to put an end to war!

What else can I say about you, dear Yaron?
In Yaron's diary we found an extract from Archibald Macleish:

"The young soldiers who died shall not speak
But nonetheless, their voice will be heard..."

Before I conclude, I must let a soldier say his piece, one who was privileged to return from Lebanon: There's no doubt in my mind that had Yaron managed to return from Lebanon, he would have identified with the words of this poem by Itai Landesberg of Kibbutz Tel Yosef:

When We Come Home from The War, We Told Ourselves

When we come home from the war, we told ourselves
Yeah, when we come home -- we'll show them. We promised ourselves...
We'll show them what it means to send children
Inside of APC's, planes, and cannons -- to clean out cities
To cleanse women and children and the aged -- children!
We'll show them what severed arms and blind eyes mean
And we'll demand explanations for truncated legs
and hundreds of widows
And the dozens of orphaned children and parents -- the children!
The children!

Yeah, when we come home, we told ourselves, a fire will blaze there!
They'll manipulate us like marionettes no longer.
Then words will be dwarfed by our beat
And we'll come home, we swore it, and we'd make their lives bitter,
We won't keep quiet, we won't suffer. And this time --
we won't be late!
Yeah, yeah -- from the war, when we come home...
And no longer shall you argue behind our back about our death,
And you'll say no more -- we didn't know, didn't hear, not us...
Only we burrow the hole, sweating,
Digging and digging, and finally laying flat and covering ourselves,
And you, above us standing, your light step is unheard,
And wringing your hands in sorrow, promise
That the flowers will grow tall,
And if not, then you'll give an allocation,
And a law for the ones buried according to Jewish custom,
And a trigger will squeeze the earth, both near and far
So that we, refugees of the vote,
Will not come home. Yeah. That we won't come home.
This is your chosen task, from generations past.
But believe it...believe it, you too,
You who could stop the war:
When we come home, yeah, come home from the war,
Believe everything that's written in black...
But first...forgive me,
First we must finish
Break
Uproot
Stop
And bury.
Because that's how we were raised, and it's
Our job. When we come home from the war, we told ourselves,
From the war, we told ourselves,
We told ourselves
Ourselves."

Orit, thank you for finding the courage and strength to hear Yaron's words out to the end, and, in doing so, allowing others to hear what Yaron no longer has the chance to say.

April 20, 1985

How long?

How long will be continue to pass the names of the sons who have been killed to down to other members of their family? Really, is it not cruel to name a child still nursing after a brother, uncle, cousin, or friend who's been killed in war? We, the parents, each day preserve the memory of our dear Yaron, but how can you ask a child whose life has not yet begun to take upon himself the fate of a relative killed in war? Is it really right? Is it really necessary? And I thought to myself: If you don't use these names...maybe all the names will run out. And an absurd idea -- maybe as all the names of the war-dead disappear -- there will be an end to war --because we won't be able to have any more children, any more boys to do battle -- because there won't be any names left for them. You see, the old folk that send the young men out to do battle won't themselves go fight.

The names pursue me without no let-up.

...How did he put it, that disabled soldier, wounded in Lebanon, who spoke at the Tzavta hall in Tel Aviv to mark "1000 Days of the Lebanon War"?

"We are unable to grasp, comprehend, take in, or react to the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust. We remember, cry, empathize, and are shocked seeing one Jewish child held by the Nazis, with yellow patch and Jewish star, his sad eyes rocking us to the depths of our soul. And the hundreds of thousands killed in the Vietnam War? We remember the naked girl, wounded by a Napalm bomb, running straight at us along the road".

And what about the Lebanon War? Can we react to the 650 soldiers killed? And to the thousands of living disabled? And then, this disabled man, summoning up emotional strength
that defies description, and, barely able to stand before us, explains to us what the everyday meaning is for him and in great detail tells us what it means to be disabled.

The terrible problem -- the wish to try and do something so that there will be no repetition of the terror, the crippling, and the slaughter. Only someone who experienced it first-hand can truly understand. Only bereaved parents and siblings, widows and orphans can understand. But telling it to others? It makes us look like pathetic people asking for pity...and it's so hard.

April 26, 1985

On the first day of the State's 38th year, I woke up after having a bad dream.

"I'm in Nachlat-Yehuda, our kibbutz's location before it was established at Ein-Dor it's the first evening of the War of Independence and gun-shots are whistling all around".

38 years have gone by, and [Prime Minister Shimon] Peres is talking about our taking part in the American Star Wars program...I rise with another -- crazy -- idea against the damned war in Lebanon: When the last soldier has left Lebanon, all the families of the 650 war-dead, and all those wounded and disabled and the members of their families should gather together and make a joint demand: To set up a commission of inquiry into this war -- a war of deceit and failure -- a war for generals with delusions of grandeur -- at the expense of our sons and our soldiers. So that we can shout -- and demand -- that nothing like this will happen again!

May 27, 1985

I've managed to convince Professor Seymour Mellman of Columbia University, New York, to stay as a guest on Ein-Dor. One of the things he told me about was the idea of using posters in support of eliminating nuclear weapons. Tens of thousands of Americans are preparing them on identically-sized pieces of material, and on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, they intend to encircle and fence off the Pentagon with them...!

Seymour was a founder and director of SANE for close to 25 years. Mellman is considered a world expert on many issues, including methods for turning a war-based industry and economy into a productive peace-time industry and economy. He "proves" how a war-based economy is leading the United States and Israel to the verge of disaster. If assessed accurately, 37 percent of production in the United States today goes to military industry. In Germany, 20 percent; in England, 36 percent and in Japan, only 3.5 percent! By this prognosis, by the year 1990, it will be up to 78 percent in the United States!!! if the current pace continues. And according to his estimates, it's 66 percent in Russia today and it will be up to...! He talked about the absurdity of nuclear fuel plants; about the frightening risk when engineers are unable to provide solutions to guarantee the safety of equipment that must withstand levels of radiation which have never been tested. And about the unreliability of THE BUTTON.

June 1, 1985

The hourglass empties as this year's June 6th approaches.

I spoke with my daughter, Tamar, yesterday about how naively optimistic I was after Yaron was taken from us. Tamar questions herself: Why should she bring so many children into the world? Is the world really such a good and proper place for raising children?

With the anniversary approaching, we put up this announcement on the [kibbutz's] bulletin board:
"On Thursday, June 6, 1985, at 3:00 PM
On the third anniversary of our dear Yaron's death, we will pay respect at the cemetery.
The Family

And we tried to say it all by using the word "family". What didn't we write? We don't want kibbutz members to feel obligated to come. We're satisfied with the people who over the last three long years were able to express their feelings and empathy for us. But we thought that there might be members who still find it hard, and may always find it hard, to enter a house in mourning -- and therefore, we wrote "The Family". Whoever sees this paying respect at the grave as a feasible alternative will be welcomed with open arms. Because the kibbutz is our family. As for a moment of communion for the immediate family, we can do this at our house.

June 4, 1985

Dita wrote us this week about the third anniversary and about how immensely difficult it is for her to maintain her sanity, knowing that Gil was killed in vain, and with her son, Tslil, growing up so much like Gil...and he, too, will have to serve in the Israel Defense Forces...

June 6, 1985

It's early in the morning and I'm preparing the remarks which I'll deliver beside Yaron's grave. So many truths have been put to the test since Yaron's death. Why, this morning I'm examining what I said just yesterday, and wondering: Do we really have no need for an anniversary? Wy do only others need it? Why isn't it of much importance to try and fully explore your thoughts and feelings once in a while, at least once a year? To examine where we stand? What's transpiring within us in terms of the death of our son -- and the rest of our lives?

And about words. And Natan Zach's "Words Depict a Mood". The Army Radio program he devoted in its entirety to our Yaron ...and his words. Through the years I've been doing photography how, in Yaron's words from And Perhaps a Last Will, I couldn't be wholly at peace with myself, because I always had the troubling sense that it's not enough to depict a mood, you have to act to change what's causing it.

With the third anniversary of the Lebanon War and Yaron's death approaching, we invited Amia Lieblich to come speak before the kibbutz on the subject of "Life in the shadow of war -- in Israel and on kibbutz".

June 7, 1985

Yesterday, on the anniversary of Yaron's death, five of us -- Ramah, Tzipi and Gilad, Tamar and myself -- talked and wept. What in essence is happening to us in terms of Yaron and his absence? And where are we headed, both separate;y and together. Ramah talked about the changes occurring within her in terms of her memory of Yaron; Gilad spoke about how little real contact he had with Yaron, because of circumstances and the lengthy period he was far from home during the years Yaron was growing up. Tamar told of her feeling of quietude vis a vis Yaron and about the special and fine farewell she and David had from him, when Yaron stayed an extra week with them in France after their wedding; and how he was always welcome in their house and how much he had taught her about growing up. She doesn't feel sad about him. She spoke of the perpetual threat we're under from war and our inability to curb it. She believes that one of the things which somewhat helped her in her mourning was her drawing of "Yaron's grave". And she drew another grave next to Yaron's. Our daughter-in-law, Tzipi, mentioned the importance of continuing to have get-togethers like this each year. She sees that it's hard for Gilad to part from Yaron; he tries to do so through relentless activity but as positive as his activity may be, there's still an element of escapism to it. It's hard for her to speak about Yaron, but she had a good relationship with him when he was on the Shraga Army Base and they were by that time on nearby Kibbutz Eilon.

The Eve of Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year)

And my heart feels no celebration, and I can't find a way to start getting into something here where I'll be forced to give my share...I continue to be afraid of real commitment...and go back to Yaron -- and to pain and misery. I'll at least try to type up the last meeting of the "Beaufort Family" parents at Raya's and put it into book-form. Maybe it'll do me some good to be at Kibbutz Eilon tomorrow with the one son I have living in the country and the grandchildren and family there...

November 4, 1985

I made the following remarks for the weekly television news journal during an interview conducted on Ein-Dor with me and Dr. Bashara by [newsman] Dan Semama.

"I'm a father bereaved by the Lebanon War. I lost my son, Yaron, at the Beaufort, on the first day of the war. And at the time that Dr. Bashara arrived, I was having chest pains and to this day I'm not sure if they were coming from my heart or my soul. I knew, of course, that Dr. Bashara is an Arab. He knew who I was, and assisted me by relating to my complaints in a humane and business-like manner.

In my case, it may be very meaningful that I was cared for by a doctor who is Arab and who resides with his family on our kibbutz; because what Begin, Sharon, and Raful have tried to do is to take away the belief in all the reasons which brought me to this country.

And I came so that I could live here as a proud Jew who works and makes a living through the fruit of his own labor, who lives a collective life, and who lives peacefully with the Arabs, about whose presence in the country I knew, who have been living here for many years and who have a right to go on living here. And I thought this could be."

December 5, 1985

Halt the march of folly!

According to Barbara Tuchman's book, "The March of Folly", is it possible to persuade large numbers of people to devote just one hour a day to the cause of peace? Can one man change the course of history? A case in point is Eli Geva, one brave man who undoubtedly helped spare us a bloody incursion into Beirut. Shoshana Shmueli courageously published her phone number and thus began a process which ended up as the highly important activity of Parents Against Silence.

December 8, 1985 in Jerusalem.

With my mother at the seior-citizens' home

It's sad, mother's mood kept changing through the four hours. She now has a hard time just getting up and standing.

"It's no act...I'm scared I'll fall flat on my face...I'd just like to close my eyes...and end it. I've lived long enough".

It's so sad. And mother is so realistic...I tried to calm her down after the morning excitement, the doctor's visit, the nurses coming, and then being sent to the Emergency Ward at the hospital. I taught her breathing and relaxation techniques. I also suggested that she use her imagination and think of the beautiful places she's been in her life and the joyous occasions of which she's been a part. I helped her by recounting what I knew of her life through stories she'd told and photographs which we'd looked at together.

One of the things I reminded her about was her first trip to Palestine in 1927, and her journal in which she gave a beautiful account of a gorgeous sunset and flying fish. And she did indeed find this wonderful journal with the names of the passengers she'd met and details of the trip. Writing about the sunset, she ended the passage thus:

"If only I were an artist, I'd paint this gorgeous sunset."
It's amazing, Yaron's fate was cast twice on the same date. He was killed on June 6, 1982, and mother and we first reached Palestine on June 6, 1927!!!

On the practical level, now that mother's condition has become worse, I'll try to be with at least once a week. To talk to her, keep her informed, listen to her dreams and try and ease her fears.

April 16, 1986

With my mother at the senior-citizens' home in Jerusalem.

She asks in pain: What have I done to deserve so much suffering?

Since returning from the hospital, and without medication, she's pretty relaxed, tired, and she nods off once in a while. Is this really her final glimmer? You see, her blood pressure is normal as are the rest of her biological functions. She was in deep shock after the woman who comes to heat up her morning coffee fell and was badly hurt. And, half-asleep, she told me how good it had been for her with her four sons, and how good we were to her...

There's no question that hard times are ahead for mother. As much as we can, we'll try and make it easier for her. Will we know how? And what will be when she won't be able to get off her bed?

May 24, 1986

Several days before her ninetieth birthday, mother passed away without experiencing prolonged suffering.

May her memory be blessed.

It's hard to lose a mother, even one who's 90. It'll be harder for us now. When I've had thoughts recently about how Ramah and I are left alone on the kibbutz, and may for a while be left alone here in Israel, while our remaining three children are abroad...I'd know that we're two whereas my mother is all alone and pretty far from her immediate family. I'd console myself by saying that if it's hard on me, well then it's much harder on my mother, and I shouldn't complain. Perhaps I could have helped my mother more than I did?

In Moshe Shamir's book, Not Far from the Tree, the mother and grandmother mention how important words are. "When we're all gone -- the words will remain". After we're gone, is it true that our words will be read, too?

I asked my mother's step-grandson, Mordechai Gantzveig, what the customs of mourning are amongst religious Jews, and he said that the "anniversary" is only marked for parents! "And for children?", I inquired. "We bewail the children all year round..."

The fourth anniversary of Yaron's death is approaching and this time -- after the Israeli Defense Forces have gotten out of Lebanon.

This afternoon, I read a chapter in Moshe Shamir's book, Not Far from the Tree, in which he tells of Lova, a father who keeps a diary after Elick is killed in a pick-up truck near Yazour while defending the road to Jerusalem [during the War of Independence]. From the first word to the last, I read with eyes filled with tears. How very hard it is to bury a son -- even when there was an obvious need to defend the Jewish settlement -- and one's parents. But nevertheless, Lova accuses himself of sacrificing his son. So how are we supposed to feel?

This time, I'd like Yaron's anniversary to be amongst family and close friends who feel like part of the family. So that there can be an interchange. To try and reach the family on a heart-to-heart level, to let those closest to us take part in our questioning -- because answers are nearly nonexistent.

So many have been killed in war -- and we, the ones left to carry on -- what can we do for those who are no longer...? Maybe the only things that we can really do are for ourselves? May we ask: What would Yaron have wanted us to do? May we ask the members of his age-group on the kibbutz? What do they think Yaron would have wanted? They all lived with Yaron for 18 years and were like brothers and sisters to him -- would he really have wanted to know what each of them is thinking and doing now?

I worked on the garden with a pitchfork on Saturday. I thought a lot about Yaron, who was the first one to work on our garden with the pitchfork, and about how he managed to turn over all the soil in front of our house in such a short time.

January 13, 1986

Notes from a convention of bereaved parents within the kibbutz movement.
Ruth Melchinson: She feels that there are too many official days of remembrance in Israel and too little mention of the sons in everyday life...and to sum it up: The bereaved should reach the point where they are at peace with their loss, even though it occurred in spite of the pain. Indeed, if we look around us, we'll see that in practice this is what happens -- because you can't change the way things are -- you need to try and learn to live with the pain and be at peace with it. Though it's not easy.

June 4, 1986

I spent many hours with Yaron this week. True, he's always with me, but it's good for me to deliberately and specifically focus on him, away from the bustle of life. At one and the same time, I can and want to live and also love and remember Yaron.

I asked to work the night shift this week. To be by myself in the daytime, to find communion, and deliberately focus on Yaron. This morning I went back to Amos Kenan's book, Your Land, Your Country. Things are starting to fall into place. Yes. There should be an anniversary and we should bewail and weep for Yaron, his buddies, and all the others. We should learn to take leave, because he is gone, and we have to carry on. There aren't any answers, there simply are not. Maybe there is coping.

It's important for me to try and be as one with Yaron during his final days, when he was reading Your Land, Your Country, by Amos Kenan. The book that was brought to us along with Yaron's clothing...

The end of the chapter about Shaltiel speak to me to this very day:
"Nothing else matters if he wasn't privileged to reach the day he'd dreamed about.

If he died, then he's not the only one, and as we all know, all the fallen soldiers put together haven't yet led us to where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They're still waiting.

It's important that a person stay connected to his personal past and to his collective past. Not just past heroes and monuments, not just events emblazoned in history. Personal history is important, too. It's important to have a memory of childhood scenes. An adult who has been robbed of scenes from his childhood moves more sadly toward old-age and death. Instead of a conscious, organic process of birth, growth, decline, and death, some fatal accident occurs, unnecessary and artificial, and cuts everything off in the middle. And whoever has had his scenes of childhood suddenly uprooted is the victim of a fatal accident, and is afflicted with amnesia, and, to a certain degree, is transformed into a vegetable."

June 5, 1986

What do I expect from you, my loved ones? Through letters? In visits?

To answer a "Sea of Questions always larger than the Isle of Answers". And the questions keep eating away at the island's coast, and there's no end to it. Because a truly good answer always has at least two new questions...How can I pick out the really important questions from today's Sea and devote to them time, thought, and feeling. What is one supposed to do on the anniversary of a departed son?

My mother left me a small book she'd received from her father and in it all the customs and various prayers of the Jewish religion are described in finest detail. But what about us [non-religious Jews]? According to which calendar -- the Hebrew or Gregorian? And with whom? Just the family, or friends and the other bereaved parents, too? How do we go on -- and we can and must go on so that there may be some kind of explanation or reason for living and dying. Can there be a reason for dying in this war? Does coping with bereavement always follow the classic stages:
Denial, anger, negotiation, despair, acceptance.

And what happens after "acceptance"? To us? To our surroundings? When everyone's pace is different?

How hard it is to console mourners, parents who've lost a child so much the more so. The American President, Abraham Lincoln, admitted that in his entire life nothing he did was harder than writing a letter to parents left bereaved by the Civil War. And how do you go about consoling? In what way do you remember? Is it always possible to remember? Through words? Through tears? In dreams? What do we even remember of the words spoken? Why do I find it important to list and record? Is it not out of fear of forgetting?

I thank Yaron for leaving me so much and I thank those who enriched his life and I thank you for coming to pay homage to his memory today.

June 7, 1986

With reference to a few of the many discussions held on Yaron's day of remembrance, yesterday.
Upon returning from the cemetery, I was approached by A., who had lost a brother and a sister many years ago in a horrible car accident. He thanked me for enabling him to deal with death, and told me that he hadn't had the nerve to talk to anyone about his brother and sister's death four years after it happened. Only recently, he added, has it become possible for him to talk about the really hard and painful things in his life.

Ruthie, who in her adolescence had lived for a spell on the kibbutz, has lost two brothers. After visiting the grave, she, too, came to our house to talk. She spoke of the "discrimination" existing in Israel between a brother-soldier killed in the line of duty, as opposed to a brother who has died of other causes. Because who isn't going to be a soldier in this country?

She told, likewise, of how on the day her brother was killed, at exactly 10:15 AM, she felt worse than she ever had in her life and mentioned it to a co-worker. She later discovered that precisely at that time, her brother's Phantom jet had nose-dived and crashed during a training exercise.

June 4, 1987

What changes with time?

The pain and emptiness remain. Perhaps our ability to cope with the bereavement grows.

I've just arrived at this conclusion after rereading what Shmuel Shnitzer, the editor of the Ma'ariv newspaper, wrote me more than five years ago. I realize that I was unable to appreciate the letter's second half because of the magnitude of the pain and fury I felt at the ones who started the war and the intense desire I had to shout out my feelings in the press. True, he refused to publish my remarks in his paper and explained why he was unwilling to do so, but there were other things he wrote which were so important, so sincere, so poignant, and I didn't even notice them. Only now, five years later, after rereading his remarks, have I understood that he had sent me a gold-mine of humanity; and I even wrote him a letter of thanks, even though it came years later.

This year has been especially rough because all our children have been abroad. True, we expect them all to come back in the future, and Gilad, Tzipi and the kids will already be back by September. Nevertheless, the question of Yerida [emigration by Jews from the State of Israel; literally meaning "descent", the word carries strong negative associations amongst Israeli Jews] has been quite central for me this year, and I've spent many a day trying to figure out what's going on with us. I admit, leaving the kibbutz seems less problematic to me than does Yerida from Israel. I don't even want to consider the thought that were Yaron alive, he, too, would have been abroad this year.

"Where am I. I do not know, I will never know:
In silence, one does not know: One has to go on.
I cannot go on.
I will go on."

Samuel Becket

Where are you, Yaron, five years later?

At the funeral, yesterday, of a young man who'd grown up on kibbutz, the father said at the grave that he found consolation in the fact that hundreds of his friends and soldiers had come to mourn his son and accompany him to his final resting place. True. The father is a Lieutenant-Colonel, but how can you find consolation while burying your son? When a son is taken from his parents, his family, it's as if a limb has been severed from the body, a limb that will never retrun, never regenerate. Inside, I feel vast anger towards the God of Job -- a God who in the end gives him a new wife and many new children?! Why, the injustice just cries right out. Because of a stupid bet with the Devil, He tortures Job to no end. Had He tortured and tried only Job, it would have been bearable, what but did the rest of his family do wrong?

And by us? Each day, Ramah puts a fresh flower into the vase at home standing next to Yaron's picture. She wants to visit the grave and look after it once a week, on Saturdays.

August 1, 1987

A Friday afternoon, I'd been feeling good the last few days, when suddenly, while walking from the house to the playground, it became exceedingly difficult for me to go on. I felt a heaviness in my walk. The physical discomfort in the left side of my chest grows stronger. A real heartache.

We were near the infirmary, but for some reason I didn't do what I should have: Go directly to the infirmary, have an EKG done, and get sent to the Emergency Room, if need be. Why didn't I do that? Why, when something like that happens to Ramah with her heart irregularity, I always get angry at her for not calling the nurse on call. Is it because I didn't want to get her and Naomi upset?
On Saturday morning, I went to the cemetery with Ramah, as usual, and we watered all the flower pots in the military section. Coming home, I rested all day, while making a tape for Mona of thingss David had said. In tears, I put together all the things David had said in our meetings.

In the afternoon, Uzi, a member of Yaron's age-group, came over with his girlfriend, Edna. They came to talk about what was ahead for them and especially about whether it's possible to be a musician in the Philharmonic and a member of kibbutz at the same time. I did everything I could to persuade him to be among those who would help create a different kind of kibbutz, one which would enable everyone to be a member and be creative in one's particular field of interest as well. Is it true that kibbutz cannot be a home for its talented children? True, it's not simple, but if we give up on Uzi, who will we be left with?

During the evening, I once more felt discomfort in the area of my heart, and a pain in the left side of my head down through my neck. This time, I called the infirmary, had an EKG, and according to the nurse, everything seems normal. I woke up the next morning dreaming of the "Second Chance".

August 7, 1987

A week's gone by since the heart-ache-scare. And the weather has been hot and humid.

Gilad and his family will soon be coming back after a whole year abroad. They'll be going to stay at Kibbutz Eilon, but it's not clear what's next for them or where they'll be headed. I'm reading Tzipora Kagan's book, From Legend to Modern Prose in the Works of Berdichevsky, in which she expounds on the question: How can the values of Jewish history be used as a means of making our children feel connected to their future here...

August 14, 1987

It's now two weeks after the heart incident, and I still don't feel back to speed. And so, my heart keeps on having to pay for Sharon and Begin's crimes.

August 22, 1987

I had a check-up yesterday at the Mor Institute. I felt no physical pain at the highest level of exertion and the cardiologist claims that this shows that my heart is all right, physically-speaking: The blood vessels are unconstricted and the heart muscle is normal. So what is the reason for my cardiac event? We don't know everything and there could be several other reasons. I brought up the possbility that Yaron's death, coupled with the grief over David Sherf's death, the resposibility for which I took upon myself for no logical reason, on top of the great excitation from running around with Naomi and the grandkids had all combined together...but the doctor didn't relate to this, nor did he reject it. The physiologist suggested that besides these factors, it had been one of the hottest weeks...and it's true I'd worked nights that week and had slept little during the day so that I could spend more time with my grandchildren, who were on a brief visit to Israel. For the meantime, I have to engage daily in physical activity which brings my pulse up to 115-120 a minute.

A quotation from page 81 of The Rosendorf Quartet, by Nathan Shaham:

"Second violin -- Conrad Friedman...I write so that I may put my thoughts into order. Sometimes they flow so furiously that I end up bewildered and confused. Writing is a type of relaxant. It slows you down and forces you phrase explanations clearly and convincingly. Actually, I've pulled out my diary every time some change has occured in my life. I've been in the orchestra a few months already and the time has come to ask myself: Where do you stand?"

September 1, 1987

Zaffi and Zecharia decided to name their son Yaron? Why do I find it so hard for me to write them a few words? Apparently, five years later, two friends of sound mind have decided to say to us, their family, and the kibbutz: We won't forget Yaron! Whereas in our family, no one has named their son or daughter Yaron or any similar name since his death. We didn't ask anyone to do so, because we didn't want a young child to have to carry all through life the weight of the reminder that s/he is tied to Yaron's death in war.

For generations, it's been customary in the Jewish tradition to name sons and daughters after grandfathers and grandmothers who have passed away, so that their name will survive and not be forgotten by the people of Israel. Amongst Christians in the USA, it's customary to name a son after the father, adding a "serial number" to the name, especially in families where the son is expected to follow exactly in the parents' footsteps. How is it that Raya Harnick finds this issue so much simpler, more understandable and agreeable and how does she come to feel a part of the families who name their sons after Goni?

Finally, I decided to write:

"To Zaffi and Zecharia, we were deeply moved when you notified us that you are naming your son Yaron. You have displayed much love, courage, and faith in the future. And for this, you have our gratitude.

With Love, Ramah and Yehoshua"

Yaron's Birthday October 27, 1987

Ramah and I arose with a dull headache and tears in our heart.

Yesterday was a meeting of discussion moderators, preceding the discussion workshops to be held on the kibbutz. In one segment, we were asked to talk about disappointing moments in kibbutz life, too -- for the first time, I related how deeply disappointed I was with friends who, after Yaron's death, knew how to surround us with love, but were mostly unwilling to go out and demonstrate against the war.

And I asked myself this question: And how would I have acted had my son not been killed? Would I have been better than the rest?

October 31, 1987

On Saturday, Mohamed Basyuni, the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel, was the guest of our kibbutz. About fifty of the older members and no more than ten of the younger members came [to hear him] Saturday afternoon in the culture lounge. The explanations they gave me notwithstanding, I still have a hard time accepting the fact that our sons, who are liable to go off to the next war, would not come to honor, listen to, and ask questions of the representative of the only Arab nation with whom we are living in peace.

November 2, 1987

The anniversary of the Balfour Declaration [Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary declared in 1917 that Great Britain recognized the Jewish people's right to create a homeland in Palestine].
Yesterday, on the program "60 Minutes", they profiled a course on the Vietnam War now being given at the University of Santa Barbara in California. It's being taken by more than 1000 students. The course includes meetings with Vietnam veterans, who have only now "been legitimized" by American public opinion. More than 58,000 Americans were killed in that war, and at least 1,000,000 Vietnamese. And the number of wounded on both sides is endless.

Course participants are taken to Washington, too, in order to see the war memorial, The Wall, where they meet with Vietnam veterans. The dimensions, so huge, are translated into one-on-one encounters with personal tragedy. They finish the course determined not to let it happen again: No more will we send ourselves and our sons off to wars in which we don't know why we even got involved.

I asked myself: Will there come a day that the Lebanon War will also be taught in such a manner?

December 18, 1987

Our good friend, Moshe Hatav, passed away yesterday afternoon.
After fighting for over five weeks and after open heart surgery, a very dear man has passed away. He was especially dear to Ramah who had grown up with him for many years. An affable and wise man, we had traveled a long road together. Ramah had been in contact with him non-stop since they were in the Hasomer Hatzair movement in Chicago in 1935. What was it his daughter, Idit, said: If he had to go, then it's good it ended the way it did. He'd had a good life and he wouldn't have wanted any less...

February 8, 1988

Five days have passed since I wrote about the four boys who appear on the book's front cover, standing at the foot of Mount Tabor, covered in Israeli flags . So many things have happened since that it would be improper not to recount them, and perhaps most importantly to mull them over, something I do better in writing.

And me? Maybe I should have tried to get the Koteret Rashit weekly to publish my photograph and written piece about the Silent and Vanishing Israel; about the boys wrapped in flags at the foot of Mount Tabor.

Teddy Kollek said last night that, "The unification of Jersualem is dead." How very far does this one sentnence go in summing up our dismal state of affairs! The pain and frustration felt by Guy Ben-Amotz, the son of Dalia and Nadav of Kibbutz Ma'abarot. Guy serves in the paratroops and has returned home from a tour of duty in the occupied territories. How did Nadav put it: "So few members are actually in the West Bank or even have children there, so they're not touched by the whole affair, and they shut their eyes and don't relate to it. Our kibbutz soldiers coming home from duty even feel alienated by them." On the other hand, we here, on this kibbutz, are basking in wondrous tranquility as if we were living on some island far from the real world, even though the troubles nearly reached us, too, when two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Regional Council bus carrying home students in our high school from a trip to a Tel Aviv museum.

Me? It looks like I'll have to withdraw from "The Joint Meeting of Bereaved Parents on Both Sides of the Barricade" which is being promoted by Latif Dori of the "Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue". It seems to me that there's a pretty "good" chance of the meeting being exploited by some for improper purposes, and I don't think I could find the emtional strength to withstand the possible negative ramifications. What am I afraid of? Even though it's not the parents I blame but the extremist leaders on both sides, I could not stand beside parents whose children took part in acts of terror against innocent people. Likewise, what could I say to parents whose children were just recently killed in the West Bank? Could there really be parents whose child was killed 30 days ago and who are willing to issue to a joint call for peace?

Raya Harnick explains why she's willing to take part, as one of thousands, in any demonstration of Peace Now, but is unwilling, as Goni's mother, to meet parents left bereaved by events of recent months in the occupied territories [The Palestinian uprising, the "Intifada", began two months previously, in December 1987]. She is willing to go and pay condolences to the Moses family who lost a mother and son at the hands of terrorists. As opposed to Raya, Ya'akov Guterman is prepared to go with anyone willing to raise his or her voice against the insanity and against occupation and war.

With whom will we speak? With the soldiers who fought the Israeli Army in Lebanon? With the parents of the soldiers who killed our sons at the Beaufort? I'd like to know more about those soldiers stationed at the Beaufort, whether they were Palestinian. Where were they from, why and when did they get to Lebanon? What did their parents do before 1947 [the year Israel's statehood was recognized by the United Nations]? Had I been at Negba [the scene of a historic battle in southern Israel in which lightly armed Israelis withstood an attack of Egyptian armor] during the War of Independence, would I want to meet the Egyptian soldiers who are still alive and now talking about erecting a war memorial there! What kind of people were they? What were their backgrounds? What kind of education did they receive? How did they come to serve in that army? What do they think of that war, today? What's their opinion about the situation today? And what do they propose to do about putting a stop to the slaughter which has been going on and on in our region all through the years.

Perhaps it's true -- each one must follow his or her own path. For Ya'akov, it's the path he believes in and is able to follow, while as for me, I must concentrate on doing things I'm capable of: Writing, reaching people, and motivating them one to one. Ramah has a way of her own. She's working on the fabric that will become part of the huge "Table of Dialogue" for peace around which the two sides will eventually have to sit and speak to one another.

February 17, 1988

This morning we got back from a deeply moving evening at the Tzavta Hall: "Yes to Dialogue with the Palestinians". Amirav's letter to his son was so sad and powerful that it hurt. Amos Oz [a prominent Israeli writer], who has returned to the fold, claims that we must achieve a dialogue on a one-to-one level. And Professor Avi Ravitzki of the "Oz L'Shalom" [literally, "Courage for Peace"] movement was so right when he quoted from the wise Khazar [a reference to a Jewish philosophic work by Yehuda Halevi]: "We shall see how righteous you are when the power is in your hands..." It's just unfortunate that his demand that the religious community show a sane approach comes so late in time.

We saw on television the brutality of our soldiers in the territories, and it made it hard for Ramah to fall asleep. This last period, she hasn't been able to stop thinking about Yaron...And why doesn't the kibbutz do anything to oppose the occupation? Why don't we at least donate some money for this cause? Why can't we manage to get our young men serving in the territories to communicate? When will we let them say all that they feel inside?

March 2, 1988

Things I would have liked to say had I taken part in the meeting of bereaved parents on both sides of the barricade.

"I, Yehoshua Zamir, father of Yaron, who was killed at the Beaufort Castle, a place there was no need to capture, on the first day of the Lebanon War, a war that never should have been waged, hereby declare that I am unable to remain silent in the face of the occupation of a neighboring people, and I shall be willing to meet with any Palestinian who recognizes my right, our right, to set up our national home in the State of Israel and who will work with me for peaceful co-existence. I hope that amongst the Palestinians in the occupied territories there are bereaved parents willing to join me and others in a cry which my son, Yaron, roared out from the time he was seven up until the day he died:

`I want peace: Enough Killing!'"

I will do everything that I can so that all ears may hear this cry. Lately, I haven't been able to sleep nights; haunting me are the images of our young men and young Palestinian men as we witness on television.

March 20, 1988

Now that I've summarized "My Life's Story" in writing, I'm starting to see behavioral patterns more clearly. It appears that I'm now trying to return to all the many pursuits I've had throughout my lifetime and engage in all of them simultaneously. I'm not working under the emotional stress I once felt when occupied with various matters.

March 24, 1988

Ramah says that Naomi called and told her that Shaul saw Victor Scheinfeld's movie, Shattered Dreams: Picking Up the Pieces. He says that it's an important and powerful film and that Yaron appears there.

I'm thinking about the Transport Ministry's slogan: "Don't look to be in the right; look to be smart". Perhaps that's true if you want to stay alive on our nation's roads, but in essence it's instructing you to not care about being right, and its "rightness", righteousness, which is oh so lacking! I recall the period in which I tried to promote the idea that instead of erecting a war memorial here on Ein-Dor, we should set up of a center for dialogue between peoples and cultures!

April 7, 1988

Dr. Meron Benvenisti says that he can see no solution within the forseeable future because neither side is willing to come to terms with the other side's right to exist in this piece of land. The crux of the problem is rooted in the populus. It's his claim that had the Schultz plan succeeded, instead of Israeli soldiers shooting at the Palestinians, it would be the King of Jordan's troops doing so...but a solution did not come. And what does he suggest? He thinks that the only thing you can do for now is ask the right questions.

April 8, 1988

Yesterday, we paid a visit on the Aliel family in Kfar Tavor. Either some kind of miracle occurred or Ruvik Rosenthal simply enchanted them. All the time Ruvik had said that if they would only agree to meet with him, he would be able to convince them. And that's just what happened. They spoke for six hours, and during our visit Avraham made a remark that had they gone on a little longer, Ruvik would have been persuaded. If I had become despondent and hadn't continued to urge Ruvik not to give up despite their initial refusal to meet with him, they moght never have come to the current meeting and it might have been very difficult to carry on writing the book The Beaufort Family.

Some thoughts I had while weeding the military section of the cemetery in preparation for the days ahead: Holocaust Remembrance Day, Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, Independence Day, and the sixth anniversary of the Lebanon War and Yaron's death.

The whole time, these words were ringing in my ears: "And in their death, they bequeathed us life".

How strange these words. They're almost like what Trumpeldor supposedly said: It is a good thing to die for our country. And Yaron died, you see, because one small word was switched: It is a good thing to die for their country.

For six years, Ramah and I have been going to the cemetery every Saturday. We do so to remember Yaron and to take care of his grave and the cemetery's military section. We know that Yaron's not there. But, when I water the planters at Yaron's grave and at the graves of the other young men killed in past wars, each time I realize anew that we may not forget them and we may not forget that you can't live forever in a country where war is never ending.

Why do I really want to beautify the cemetery, espcecially the military section? Ostensibly, so that the kibbutz members and, more importantly, its children will not be afraid to go there. Let them come with their teachers just once a year, without all the ceremony, and let them pass alongside the graves; and they should tell them about the young men who are no longer with us and about wars of the past and the peace for which we long. But sometimes this other thought creeps into my head: Perhaps a military cemetery should not be pretty and full of flowers. We must not create the impression that we are willing to put up with the ongoing, intolerable situation in which parents continue to bury their sons.

Nevertheless, I guess I'll keep coming here on Saturday mornings. Maybe by thinking about Yaron and the others, I'll find the strength to continue working for peace during the rest of the week.

I think of the soldiers who died in Israel's wars who are buried in our military cemetery: Of Dov, Shaul, Aryeh, Binyamin, Tzvi, Avner, Amotz, Rafi, Aryeh, Hanan, Yaniv, and Yaron. Why did it have to be them? What kind of lives would they be leading had they not been killed? Where would they be today? How would their families' lives be different?

The country is forty years old and you can't travel [the five miles] from Ein-Dor to Kfar Tavor without being scared of having a Molotov cocktail thrown at you! How can you "celebrate" Independence Day? It should have been decided instead that it be a day of moral self-examination for the entire nation.

...Arieh Ya'ari tried to cheer me up with a quote from Brenner's [an early Zionist] will:

"In terms of the laws of reason, there is no future for the people of Israel. Nonetheless, there is work to be done. Until your dying breath. There are uplifting moments and sublime deeds. Long live humane Jewish labor".

[Back to "Diary: Part One"]             [Forward to "Family Letters"]



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