A Lost Novel Describes Arriving at the “Palestinian Ellis Island” in Pre-State Israel

Nov. 11 2022

Before setting off from New York City to the Land of Israel in 1926, the Yiddish novelist and essayist Miriam Karpilove dashed off a letter to the secretary of the I.L. Peretz Writers’ Union. Therein, she complained of the many things she had to do in preparation for leaving golus [diasporic exile], adding “I am my own   [lady messiah] and, as you know, I have no white horse and, as you also know, the subway is on strike to boot.” Her visit to Mandate Palestine would last for two years, and form the basis of an unfinished novel, parts of which will soon be published. Jessica Kirzane excerpts her translation of the opening chapter, which depicts the characters’ arrival at the “Palestinian Ellis Island.”

We had to show a group of British government officers all of our documents so they could see that our coming here to Eretz Yisrael was kosher and we’d followed all the legal requirements they set out for us. These government officials sat at a long table in the middle of a large room. We had to stand. Stand and wait in line until someone looked over our papers and gave them to another official, who gave them to a third official, and so forth.

More than anything, they noticed the stamp on our papers with the word “settler.” They were surprised that American citizens with money had come to settle in Palestine: is it so bad in America, or so good in Eretz Yisrael, that the Jews would want to settle here? Especially during the present crisis? One of the officials asked my brother why he wanted to settle in Palestine, isn’t it good to be an American citizen?

“Oh, very good!” Jacob said. “But I think Palestine has more for us.”

“Remarkable, . . . ” he shrugged his shoulders and asked me what compelled me to settle in Palestine. I looked him straight in his squinty eyes and replied, “historical connections, you know . . .”.

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Mandate Palestine, 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