Thoughts spring so suddenly into our minds, that we don’t realize that we can actually control them even less that they control our lives.
They might be stimulated by things outside of us, like news we hear on the radio of an event, completely out of our control, like the establishment of the State of Israel, but amazingly we can choose to think about it or we can reject it as an unworthy thought, but once it’s fixed in our minds it controls and directs our lives.
Some thoughts stick in our minds even though we reject them and they guide us without us knowing that we are being guided by them.
This was the nature of the thought that came into my mind when I heard ben Gurion’s declaration of the establishment of the Jewish State.
I’m very happy to be living in Israel and so I’m happy that the thought that came to me that day in May 1948, the 14th made me do everything to bring me here; I studied and taught Hebrew, I married an Israeli girl, I sold my home and moved into a small apartment in Johannesburg, accustoming myself and my children to live more modestly, I found a job in Israel Postal Services and studied to become a tour guide.
But, looking at our enemies, I realize that the thought that must have come to them must have been similar to my thought but opposite; instead of thinking of being heroes in defending their people against the Jews, they thought of being heroes by throwing the Jews into the sea.
My knowledge of Jewish and Arab thinking isn’t based solely on my own feeling but on actual statements made by the leaders of both groups.
No Jewish leader ever expressed the hope of expelling the Arabs from Palestine or from Israel. While many Arab leaders repeatedly expressed the hope they had of expelling the Jews.
Here is a quote from Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which expresses Israel’s intention for the Arabs:
“in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months — to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the up building of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”
Contrary to Jewish intentions for peaceful coexistence, here are examples of Arab plans:
The Secretary of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, declared a "Jihad" (holy war). The Mufti of Jerusalem said: "We have declared a holy war my Moslem brothers! Kill the Jews! Kill them all!"
The excitement I feel for the Jewish People receiving a state of their own is as strong today as it was 63 years ago. Apparently so is the excitement the Arabs feel about destroying it.
If the thought of millions of Jews and Arabs programmes their life, the way my thought programmed mine and mostly they don’t know it then the Jewish People are moving, inexorably towards a great future and the Arabs towards dismal catastrophe.
I’m not a prophet, neither am I the son of a prophet but one thing I’m sure of is that the establishment of the State of Israel is much more exciting than I imagined it to be that afternoon of the 14th May 1948.
Looking at the State of Israel on the day of its establishment was like a young, new mother looks at her newborn babe or the way I look at my children or my grandchildren.
Both positive and negative thoughts of hope born from excitement dig themselves deep into our mind and program the rest of our lives either towards a glowing future or dark catastrophe.
Israel and the Arabs is a meeting of two kinds of hope, positive and negative. The question of which hope will come out on top answers itself. Negative hope that clashes with positive hope is destined to fail.
I think that the people who receive the Israel prize on Independence day and those who light the 12 candles at the beginning of the celebration are examples of the positive hope that lies in the heart of every Jew.
I’m amazed at these people who have become heroes simply because a thought of helping the Jewish People to protect themselves came into their minds and excited them as the same thought came into my mind and excited me.
The establishment of the State of Israel changed the course of my life and I didn’t even know it. Achieving the goal set for me by that event meant leaving behind the South African way of life which I thought was good and rich.
Now I know that Israel is the land for me. Looking back I can see that every step I took was directed at the goal
*Excerpt from Leon’s No Newsletter 174 Tuesday 10th May 2011