It has been ages…or maybe it is the first time that I like a book so much. It was a desparate need for something to read that made me pick up this copy of ‘ O jerusalem’ a couple of days back. As it turns out I am so totally fascinated by the Jews and Jerusalem that it seems that the book is consuming every bit of my thought process.
The following is now one of my favourite bits in the book. It is a speech given by a lady called Golda Meir, who later became Israel’s 4th Prime Minister (She is, I gather the original Iron Lady ). Ms Meir had gone to the US to get the American Jews to donate money liberally. The American Jews were by now getting very weary of the constant demand for money that the Jewish community engaged in the Civil War (Arab Israel war of 1948). Before she went to US, $5 mn was expected, she went to US with a target of $25mn and when she came she had with her $50mn. Enjoy it J
“When I tell you that I have not come to the United States solely to prevent 700 thousand Jews from being wiped off from the face of the earth. During these last years the Jewish people have lost 6 million of their kind and it would be presumptuous indeed of us to remind the Jews of the world that 700 hundred thousand of them are in danger. That is not the question. If, however, these 700 thousand Jews survive, then the Jews of the world will survive with them and their freedom will be assured for ever. But if they do not, then there is little doubt that for centuries there will be no Jewish people, there will be no Jewish nation, and all our hopes will be smashed.
A Jewish state shall exist in Palestine. We shall fight for its birth. That is natural.
We shall pay for it with our blood. That is normal.
The best amongst us will fall. That is certain.
But what is equally certain is that our morale will not falter no matter how numerous our invaders might be. Invaders would come with cannon and armor. Against those weapons sooner or later our courage will have no meaning, for we will have ceased to exist.
I have come to ask the Jews of America for 24-30 million dollars to buy the heavy arms they would need to face the invaders’ cannon.
My friends, we live in a very brief present. When I tell you we need this money immediately, it does not mean next month or in 2 months. It means right now.
It is not to you to decide whether we shall continue our struggle or not. We shall fight. The Jewish community of Palestine will never hang the white flag before the Mufti of Jerusalem. But you can decide one thing- whether the victory will ours or the Mufti’s.”
When she came back David Ben- Gurion the 1st PM of Israel and the leader of the struggle for a separate Jewish state, had this to say to her -
“The day when history is written, Golda, it will be recorded that it was thanks to a Jewish woman that the Jewish state was born.”
P.S. I really want to visit Jerusalem now!