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Study and Theory/
Independence Day

Avi Zeira

The Ideology Independence Day

I believe/ Tchernichovsky

"Play and play on dreams

It is I the dreamer, speaking

Play because I believe in man

Because I still believe in you ..."


In the 40's there was an ideological debate in the small Jewish settlement in Israel. One of its poetic aspects was reflected in the question – What would be the national anthem of the state in making?

Tabenkin suggested this song. Some suggested "Tehezakna" by Bialik. Finally, what remained was the somewhat exilic song – 'Hatikva' by Imber.

A few years ago, Uri Avnery (of 'HaOlam HaZeh', 'Gush Shalom' and in his past -  part of the Canaanite movement) remarked that particularly in the hostile forties – when the goings on in Europe became known and with the understanding that a cruel existential war is about to break out between Jews and Arabs over the territory of the British Mandate in Palestine – particularly then, was the Zionist spirit capable of coming up with endless ideas and creative solutions to the big questions at hand. Unquestionably, the inquiries that arose then were more serious than those posed today, if only relating to our existential basis here. Currently, thanks to the U.S., to the nuclear reactor in Dimona, and our high GNP compared to those of regional countries, we do not face an existential threat (Even Iran with its future weapon development plan, does not pose an existential threat to Israeli citizens) 

So one of you may inquire – Has the creativity stemmed from period – related urgency and the magnitude of the threat?

Would we fail to come up with the capacity of original creativity and practical initiative without threats of Adolf and Qawuqji?

I believe that it is not the fateful period that created Zionist history, but the phenomenal capacity of practical Zionism to know how to integrate - a real work of art! - expanses of imagination and courage with a very demanding practical world. What were all these 'points of the book' of the settlement movements if not such stemming from expansive dreams and human attempts infused with a great degree of bravery?

What were all these partisan units founded by Yitzhak Sadeh, Wingate, Yigal Allon, Arik Sharon and others - if not creative attempts to combine British military traditions with Israeli chutzpah? Some political solutions were provided by the official or less acceptable leadership of the Yishuv: Brit Shalom spoke of a state for two peoples back in the 1920s, Tabenkin spoke of the Greater Israel and Ben Gurion ...

And we have not yet mentioned the agricultural experiments, which, from the start, were required to deal with the problematic water regime and the quality of the land, and yet they dared to create agriculture "out of thin air" in the heart of the desert.

I claim that today we lack that degree of daring.

The daring to think differently, to go crazy and to dream big.

Ironically, today's youth is the most conservative faction of the Israeli society (take the results of the Blich school ridiculous voter - sampling in February 2005 – in which the voter turnout accurately reflected the voter turnout of the adult society!).

This dreaming must be precisely defined - it does not refer to capitalistic dreams amounting to the question: "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Or "self-realization," but dreams of Martin Luther King's school of thought - "I have a dream," meaning that my personal dream is intended to be advantageous for the public, not only for me.

Creativity is not a sufficient condition; the second necessary stage is that of discipline. Israeli youth must develop a new 'meta-rule' for themselves. This rule is a commitment to action. We once we called it 'fulfillment'.

The preparatory program, like the Youth Movements Project (as distinct from the years of service in the youth villages and boarding schools, which does not deal with this, to my great dismay) invites young people to dream and take responsibility of their dreams. If we are indeed a 'factory', what do we produce? We produce dreamers, entrepreneurs, and those who have the skills to make world orders, who have the desire to adapt reality to the dream and not vice versa. As far as I am concerned, I am not satisfied with less than this. If I and those of my like, do not instill in them the ability to dream and dare, we reduce their range of action and thus cooperate with the perpetuation of what already exists. I am one of those who believe that, what exists is in need of correction. Anyone, satisfied with the present must have forgotten to dream.

And now we have returned to what we have commenced with - "Poetry of Youth, the Song of Our Future." What shall the new anthem be?

This is a question, that only from the educational aspect, we must pose it to every generation of young people, wherever they may be. We may note that in each of the proposals there was a gateway for a better future. Is not this the historical role of Zionism, to give hope and meaning to every generation?

And a bit of homework for you, kibbutz members: What is your anthem, that of Kfar Haruv? Do the youth have a say in this choice? Have you asked them?

Possibly, Independence Day may provide an adequate opportunity to bring up such questions in your community.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday

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