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(This is something from 1968 when we decided after a visit to that new country to move. Recently I have written about the Israel of today. 30 years have brought lots of changes. — hg)


By Harry Glickman, 1968

Looking for the Messiah! It looked like the ideal setup, a country where even the police were Jewish. More important, farmers were not only Jewish but also appeared to be farming cooperatively on kibbutz and on moshav. Here was a socialistic state, where May 1st was a major holiday. The Mapam kibbutz group talked of Marxist Zionism. The word 'chaver' comrade was widely heard. Well-educated left professions to work the land. Physical work had dignity, giving much satisfaction. Quality of life on the farm was high, a community that worked and played together. The children were growing up in a healthy environment, with lots of freedom and friends in a structured life.

Could it be that the messianic age had arrived, that humans here had suddenly matured and discarded the greed that has for so long prevented us from observing the golden rule? Taxing the rich, giving to the needy through a welfare system, rent control and subsidies on housing and basic foods such as bread, milk, and eggs seemed to supply basic needs to all. Large families received a monthly payment depending on number of children. The Histadrut health plan basically covered everyone. There weren't many cars or telephones, TV was rare in homes, no central heat or air conditioning, but everyone had running water and indoor plumbing. The standard of living in Israel in 1968 was much lower than that of the middle class in the U.S., but much higher than that of other peoples of the Middle East. Shalom and chaver seemed to be the most important words in the land. We made aliah, moved up to live in Israel in 1968.

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