The Jewish Writer Who Made a Name for Himself in Both Yiddish and Hebrew

While most of the great figures of East European Jewish literature of the last century wrote primarily in either Hebrew or Yiddish, or else in one of many Gentile languages, the poet and novelist Zalman Shneour (1887–1959) was a master of both tongues. He was also a disciple of the great Hebrew poet Ḥayyim Naḥman Bilaik and a close friend of the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky. The Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin was among his many admirers. Reviewing a recent study of Shneour’s work, Mikhail Krutikov writes:

Between the two world wars, Shneour was . . . unusually prolific: his works include two five-volume novels, Ignoramuses, Emperor and Rebbe, and a number of smaller, yet also significant works. The two most famous are the story collections Jews of Shklov and Uncle Zhome, both of which can be read as novels. In the years since his death, however, Shneour has been all but forgotten.

[Early in his career, Shneour] earned a reputation as Bialik’s successor in the field of Hebrew verse. A significant conceptual and aesthetic turn in his work occurred during World War I. Shneour spent those years in Berlin, where the Germans detained him as a Russian citizen. There he wrote his famous Hebrew epic, Vilna, a sort of poetic reconstruction of bygone Jewish life that had already begun to vanish in the . . . war.

Shneour had abandoned [his native town of] Shklov (in modern-day Belarus) when he was thirteen or fourteen years old, when he went off in search of the wider world. He had lived in Odessa, Vilna, Warsaw; later he studied in Switzerland, France, and Germany, and had visited the United States. He took refuge from the Holocaust in New York, and towards the end of his life, settled in Israel. In contrast to . . . other American Yiddish writers, [many of whom were socialists], Shneour never visited the Soviet Union. According to [some scholars], the reason for this was political, although it’s unclear whether Shneour was [overtly] involved in anti-Soviet activities while he was living in Paris in the 1920s and 30s.

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Read more at Forward

More about: Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Hebrew literature, Jewish literature, Soviet Union, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Yiddish literature

 

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror