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Survival is Not Enough

Yehoshua Zamir

Translated from Hebrew to English by Ron Schkolnick.
First Published in 1992 by Yaron Golan Publishing House, Tel Aviv.

For the members of my family; for all the families whose young men did not have the privilege of coming home from Israel's wars; for all the parents, who hold the greatest treasure of all -- their sons; and of course, for the sons themselves; and for all those people for whom human life is the ultimate value.


Survival is Not Enough contains a small selection from amongst the thousands of pages I've written since that awful day, June 6, 1982, the day my son, Yaron, was killed at the Beaufort Castle on the first day of the Lebanon War.

Today, ten years later, I am convinced that two of the factors which have enabled me to carry on have been the writing of a diary and the dreams I've had in which I've held an ongoing monologue with myself; another factor has been the large volume of correspondence through which I have maintained a dialogue with the human environment in which I live. Actually, though, it was the responses and reactions to my letters which convinced me that survival is not enough. I realized that my words had an impact, and that if I want to live in a nation where it is considered good to live and not to die [a reference to the dying words attributed to early Zionist Yosef Trumpeldor, killed in a skirmish with local Arabs: "It is a good thing to die for our country"], then I have to do all that I can to make sure the Lebanon War will not be forgotten, a war that should never have been waged and which caused such grief, such great suffering.

This year will mark 46 years since my illegal immigration into Palestine from the United States. After my immigration, my kibbutz was established, the fourth North American kibbutz of the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement. In spite of the Second World War which reached its conclusion with the dropping of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and the dreadful Holocaust, we believed that each one of us had the duty, the power, the right and the ability to change the world and alter Jewish existence, and to create here in Israel a proper homeland for the Jewish people. And on June 6, 1982, my son, Yaron, was killed at the Beaufort Castle...

From the depths of my despair, I am sending out a slender life-line so that I may be pulled to safety, but also so as to proclaim that I am still alive, fighting for my life, my values and my conscience, hoping that I can hold out and keep my head above water until the day arrives when, thanks in part to my words and deeds, I may come back up on land and show my face.

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