5. The Graduates of Ha-shomer Ha-tza‘ir in Israel
Ha-shomer Ha-tza‘ir and Egyptian Zionism
Although organized Zionist activity began in Egypt at the turn of the century, the movement had a very limited social base until 1942–43. During the 1920s and 1930s, Egyptian Zionism was focused around philanthropic and cultural work, such as funding the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Until the 1936–39 Arab Revolt in Palestine, such activity was not considered inconsistent with patriotic loyalty to Egypt. Zionist activism declined as the pan-Arab reverberations of the Palestinian resistance to Zionist settlement convinced many Jews and non-Jews that there might indeed be a contradiction between Zionism and loyalty to Egypt.
Because most Egyptian Jews were relatively secure and comfortable during the 1930s, few saw the point of risking their position by ostentatious support for Zionism. Moreover, before 1948, the small minority of Jews who identified themselves as political Zionists rarely expressed this in the form of immigration to Palestine. Between 1917 and 1947, only 4,020 Jews had left Egypt for Palestine, and a large proportion of them were Yemenis, Moroccans, or Ashkenazim who had resided only temporarily in Egypt. The strength of Egyptian Zionism at the end of World War II may be measured by the fact that in preparation for the Twenty-Second Zionist Congress in 1946, 7,500 Jews—about 10 percent of the community—purchased shekels, the financial contribution bestowing the right to be represented at the congress.
The concerted efforts of the Zionist emissaries from Palestine who arrived in 1943 and Zionist activists among the allied troops and the Palestinian Jewish Brigade stationed in Egypt gained Zionism a significant base of support in Egypt for the first time. They conveyed the news of the mass murder of European Jewry to Egypt and, by presenting this information in Zionist discursive terms, encouraged Egyptian Jews to draw conclusions about their future based on a particular understanding of the significance of the catastrophe in Europe. This message, especially in its labor Zionist from, appealed to French-educated youth influenced by internationalism and the united front against fascism in the 1930s and 1940s who might otherwise have joined one of the several communist groups.
The most dynamic elements of Zionism, in Egypt as elsewhere, were the youth movements, which advanced a radical vision of Jewish renewal through immigration to Palestine and physical labor in agricultural colonies on the frontier of Jewish settlement—immigration (‘aliyah), settlement (hityashvut), pioneering (halutziut), and self-realization (hagshamah atzmit) in the labor Zionist lexicon. The largest labor Zionist youth movement in Egypt before 1947 was he-Halutz ha-Ahid (The unified pioneer): a new organization created by the Zionist Executive as a means to avoid exporting the factional tensions within MAPAI to the Middle Eastern diaspora. Suppressing the vibrant political debate within the Zionist left preserved the overall dominance of MAPAI and was probably also linked to an assumption that Middle Eastern Jews were too backward politically to appreciate the nuances of such debate. The most disciplined and ideologically committed of the youth movements, and the largest after 1947, was ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir (The young guard), which was affiliated with the Kibutz ha-Artzi federation and later with the Marxist-Zionist MAPAM after its establishment in 1948. The other youth movements active in Egypt were Bnai ‘Akivah (Sons of Rabbi Akiva), affiliated with the labor wing of the National Religious Party, and Betar (Trumpeldor covenant), the youth movement of revisionist Zionism. Less ideologically committed members of the Maccabi and ha-Koah (Strength) sports clubs were also drawn into the network of Zionist activity.
Ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in Egypt was locally known until late 1947 as ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir (The young Hebrew). The movement was established in Cairo in the early 1930s. A small group of senior members left for Palestine and joined Kibutz ‘Ein ha-Horesh in December 1934. For the next several years, like other Zionist activity in Egypt, ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir stagnated, and none of its graduates went to Palestine.
Ezra Zanona (Talmor) was the central figure in revitalizing ha‘-Ivri ha-Tza‘ir in the late 1930s. He wrote to the leaders of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in Palestine requesting that an emissary be sent to provide leadership for the Egyptian movement. In response, Sasha Korin of Kibutz Mesilot was despatched to Cairo in May 1938. Korin and Talmor reorganized ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir and opened a new branch (ken; pl. kinim) in the middle-class suburb of Heliopolis. Relying on educational materials in English that Talmor requested from ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in New York, Talmor and Korin reinforced the ideological and organizational foundations of the movement—a combination of scouting, Marxism, and an intensely emotional collective life emphasizing immigration to Palestine and life in the kibutz. Between 1938 and 1944, five kinim of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir were established: three in Cairo and two in Alexandria, with 700–800 members by the end of World War II. The movement continued to use this local name until late 1947, when it went underground and adopted the name of the international movement: ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir.
The Heliopolis ken, led by Ezra Talmor, became the largest and most developed in Egypt, with about 150 members by 1945. The ken met at the Abraham Btesh Jewish Community School. Most of the families of students at the Btesh school, like most other middle-class Egyptian Jewish families, were not religiously observant, but “traditional.” They attended synagogue on major holidays, ate matzah at Passover, and observed the Jewish rites of passage. Although the curriculum at the Btesh school included Hebrew and other Jewish subjects, the primary language of instruction was French. Graduates of the school were not usually fluent in Hebrew. Perhaps even more so than other branches, the Heliopolis ken of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir was socially selective, even snobbish. At the older levels, only high school students were accepted for membership, a stringent requirement when secondary education was rare in Egypt. All kinim of the movement imposed strict rules of conduct on their members and expected that senior members would immigrate to Israel and settle on a kibutz.
In this milieu, Jewish culture had a cosmopolitan, radical, French inflection—an outlook that regarded Parisian intellectual and cultural life as the highest (perhaps the only true) form of civilization. The activities of the ken were conducted in French. Even today, many of the movement's graduates living in Israel speak French among themselves at social gatherings in their homes. Recommended reading for leaders of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir included Marx, Engels, Leontiev, Borokhov (the articulator of the Marxist-Zionist synthesis), the French communist daily, L'Humanité, and the classic literature of French, English, and Russian social realism. There was relatively little study of the history and politics of the Middle East or the Arab world.
Ezra Talmor personally exemplified this ambience. His parents had emigrated to Egypt from Aleppo. His grandparents spoke only Arabic, but his parents spoke both Arabic and French at home. The family was not religiously observant, and he received no Jewish education. Ezra's two older brothers studied at a French Catholic school, but Ezra attended the secular Collège Français du Caire. His brothers then transferred there because their parents feared they might be converted to Christianity. Ezra's older brother, Zaki, was not a Zionist. He worked for the National Bank of Egypt, rising through the ranks despite having finished only the eighth grade to become head of the foreign currency department before he left Egypt for Switzerland in 1956. Ezra knew Arabic well enough to read al-Ahram and pass the Arabic section of the Egyptian baccalaureate, but he was more comfortable in French, the main language of instruction during his schooling. Like many members of the Zionist youth movements, Ezra Talmor was attracted to ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir for social reasons before becoming fully committed to its ideology. While serving as the leader of the Heliopolis ken and secretary of the Egyptian movement and working part-time as a clerk in the Crédit Foncier Egyptien, he completed his O and A level exams in preparation for pursuing an external degree in philosophy at London University. He was attracted to European philosophy because he had learned that understanding Marxism required a study of Hegel and dialectics.
Because their social backgrounds and political positions had much in common, there were frequent ideological debates between members of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir and the Jewish communists. One evening in 1938 two Marxist Jews—an English doctoral student in Orientalism, Bernard Lewis, and Henri Curiel, the future leader of the most influential of the Egyptian communist organizations, HADETU, visited the Heliopolis ken. There, Talmor, Lewis, and Curiel publicly argued in English and French over the relative merits of communism and socialist Zionism. Such exchanges continued between left Zionists and communists in Egypt for the next ten years and more.
From 1942 until November 29, 1947, when the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state, ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir had a distinctive position within the Zionist movement opposing the establishment of an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine. Instead, the movement favored a binational Arab-Jewish state—a position with some similarities, though based on different arguments, to the stand of the all-Jewish Communist Party of Palestine (Arab party members had left to form the National Liberation League) after 1946 and HADETU. In mid-1947, as the Soviet Union moved toward endorsing partitioning Palestine into two states, Lazare Guetta (Giv‘ati), a leader of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir in Alexandria, asked the movement headquarters in Palestine to despatch political materials in French and Arabic because they were “in deep discussions with Communist Jewish circles about Zionism,…Bi-nationalism, etc.”  The pressure of constant debate with the communists led ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir to take its Marxism very seriously. In addition, Eli Peleg of Kibutz Gat, the movement's emissary from Palestine from 1946 until late May 1948, encouraged the older members of the movement to adopt a particularly militant version of the movement's ideology that attempted to fuse orthodox pro-Soviet Marxism-Leninism and Zionism.
In theory, ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi struggled to uphold socialism and Zionism as coequal components of their ideology. In practice, a decisive majority of the movement always favored Zionism whenever there was a contradiction between Jewish national interests and socialist internationalism. The movement's conception of bi-nationalism and Arab-Jewish coexistence in Palestine was naive and paternalistic, as is painfully evident from this excerpt from an essay on “colonization” in the internal bulletin of one of the Alexandria groups:
Is that to say that our colonization in Palestine has harmed the Arabs and is to their detriment? No. Categorically not. Our colonization has been a balm for the backward eyes of our Arab cousins, and one may say that they have enjoyed a great benefit from it. With our colonization we hold out our hand to assist our cousins.
The entire essay is framed by the same Eurocentric colonial outlook that informed the entire Zionist movement. Nonetheless, the Arab presence in Palestine and the surrounding countries was far more concrete for these Egyptians than it could be for European or American members of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir, who would probably not have referred to Arabs as their cousins. The fact that a pro-Soviet, Marxist-Zionist organization with the most conciliatory approach to the Palestinian Arabs in the entire Zionist movement became the largest and most active Zionist organization in Egypt is not accidental. Although movement members were themselves in the process of de-Arabizing their culture, they retained a respect for and familiarity with Arab culture that influenced their Zionist outlook in ways that tended to distinguish them from their European and North American comrades.
When ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and two other left Zionist currents—Le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah and Left Po‘alei Tzion (Workers of Zion)—fused to form MAPAM in January 1948, ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir abandoned binationalism and agreed to support the establishment of the state of Israel. Le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah and most of Left Po‘alei Tzion opposed the creation of an Arab state in Palestine and did not accept the Palestinian Arabs' right to self-determination. Although Le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah and Left Po‘alei Tzion were a minority in the united party (a very large one to be sure), their presence blocked MAPAM's adoption of a clear stand on this and other vital issues. The internal struggle among the component elements of MAPAM became an important influence on the fate of many graduates of Egyptian ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir.
By the end of World War II, ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir was sufficiently developed so that the senior members could entrust their younger disciples with continuing the movement's educational work on their own. They formed a gar‘in (nucleus) and made plans to immigrate to Palestine and establish a new kibutz. Between 1945 and 1947, three contingents of about 30 members each left Egypt, leaving about 500 younger members of the movement behind. The second contingent of the gar‘in participated in “Operation Passover” on April 11, 1946, which brought 65–100 immigrants to Palestine illegally. This was the largest single group of Egyptian Jews to reach Palestine before 1948—a good indication of the scale of Zionist activity.
The first contingent of graduates of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir arrived at Kibutz ‘Ein ha-Shofet in January 1945. ‘Ein ha-Shofet was chosen to welcome them in Palestine and provide agricultural training for the gar‘in because it was the first kibutz of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in North America, a branch of the movement with which the Egyptians had been in contact. The second contingent of the Egyptian gar‘in was received at Kfar Menahem, the second kibutz of North American ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir. After completing its agricultural training, in July 1946 the gar‘in became independent and moved to Ramat ha-Sharon, where it was joined by a group of French-speaking graduates of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir from Belgium, Switzerland, and France. There the gar‘in worked for wages while waiting for the Zionist authorities to allocate a plot of land for its future kibutz.
Members of the gar‘in were recruited into the Palmah (the elite prestate Zionist military unit) on the eve of the UN partition decision. On November 14, 1947, they joined the Negev Brigade and took up a position at Hazali, a he’ahzut (militarily fortified agricultural settlement) about fifteen kilometers southeast of Be’ersheba. Hazali formed the southernmost triangle of Jewish settlement in the Negev together with Revivim and Halutza. It was besieged by the Egyptian army in the summer of 1948, but the gar‘in held its position throughout the war. Members of the gar‘in participated in all the major battles of the Negev against the Egyptian army, and four of them lost their lives in the fighting. The gar‘in members were demobilized after the conclusion of hostilities in April 1949. On September 13, 1949, about fifty to sixty remaining members of the Egyptian gar‘in and an Israeli gar‘in established Kibutz Nahshonim at Migdal Tzedek, near Petah Tikva, on the border between Israel and Jordan.
Ezra Talmor was one of the founders of Nahshonim, and he remained politically active during his first decade on the kibutz. From 1956 to 1959, he served as the representative of MAPAM in London. During this time, his wife, Sascha Talmor, obtained her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of London. At the end of their stay, Ezra found enough time to study for an M.A. in philosophy from the same institution.
While the Talmors were in London, Fenner Brockway, a leader of the left in the Labour Party, reported that he had met with Michel Aflaq, a founder of the Syrian Ba‘th Party. According to Brockway, Aflaq said that he was interested in meeting Israelis but could find no interlocutors. Ezra Talmor contacted Brockway and expressed his willingness to meet Aflaq. Consequently, he met several times with Syrian and Iraqi Ba‘thist medical students in London. They drafted an outline of an Arab-Israeli peace agreement and sent a report of their meetings to Michel Aflaq, Me’ir Ya‘ari, the leader of MAPAM, and Hugh Gaitskill, the leader of the British Labour Party. Talmor reported that Me’ir Ya‘ari rebuked him for acting on his own initiative in this matter.
When he returned to Israel, Talmor wanted to be an activist in the Arab department of MAPAM because he “wanted peace between Jews and Arabs.” He worked briefly with Simha Flapan and New Outlook, a nonparty monthly magazine devoted to promoting Arab-Israeli peace and heavily supported by MAPAM. Then he retired from political activity. Talmor felt that he was excluded from a political career in MAPAM. “At first I thought it was simply racist. They could not accept that an Egyptian Jew would do something in political leadership,” he said. Later he came to feel that his exclusion was due to the cliquishness of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi and MAPAM and the fact that he did not belong to the inner circle of Me’ir Ya‘ari composed of Eastern Europeans.
In the 1960s, Ezra Talmor obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris. He and Sascha became professors at Haifa University in the Departments of Philosophy and English, respectively. In 1980, they founded and became editors of History of European Ideas—an interdisciplinary scholarly journal dedicated to studying the history of European cultural exchange and the emergence of the idea of Europe. This intellectual agenda is obviously in harmony with the political project of the European Union. The contents of the journal disclose that the Europe of the contributors and editors is almost exclusively England, France, Italy, and Germany—a traditionalist vision affirming the global centrality of the Western European Renaissance and Enlightenment. Today Ezra Talmor believes, “There is only one conceptual grid to grasp the world. It's a European conceptual grid.”
Although we are all, even those who resist it, in some sense bound up in a European conceptual grid, Ezra Talmor's eager embrace of Europe can also be understood as a particular consequence of both the cosmopolitan, Francophone, left-wing political milieu of his youth in Egypt and in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and the formative experiences of the founders of Kibutz Nahshonim that tended to make French culture a part of their identity as Egyptians. The Egyptian gar‘in had to integrate with contingents of European French speakers and Ashkenazi Israelis. Their comrades fought and died in battle with the army of the land of their birth. They settled on rocky soil on the frontier with Jordan where hard physical labor was required to sustain themselves economically and it was tremendously difficult to remain politically informed and engaged. The social ideal of Israel in the 1950s and 1960s was the melting pot (kibutz galuyot). The members of Kibutz Nahshonim saw it as an important Zionist task to assimilate into Israeli Jewish culture, which was, in fact, heavily Eastern European in many respects. Consequently, although Nahshonim served as a gathering point for many French-speaking Jews, including those from Egypt and North Africa, it did not try to preserve the distinctive cultural characteristics of its founding members, nor was it able to make a distinctive political contribution drawing on the founders' origins in the Arab world.
In 1964, when Egyptian Jews still composed 40 percent of the membership of the kibutz, Ezra Talmor contributed an article titled “A Kibutz of Eastern Jews and Its Mission” to the weekly magazine of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of Nahshonim. He wrote,
From the start, Kibutz Nahshonim was considered by its members and by ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi to have a special character and mission. Most of its members are from Eastern communities and hence it was clear that to their public mission a special feature was added.…[But we] have still not succeeded in realizing the dream of our youth: a kibutz that is active in the political arena mainly among Eastern Jews and Arabs. Nonetheless, our kibutz has still preserved its distinctiveness. Those who enter our homes will feel immediately the characteristic Eastern way of life. Here beats a wide and good Eastern heart which gives the settlement its special character.
This assessment suggests that the kibutz had largely succeeded in adopting the political and cultural norms of Ashkenazi Israel. The only culturally distinctive attributes of Nahshonim Talmor could specify were the typically folkloric expressions of Middle Eastern lifestyle and hospitality. In 1993, I asked Ezra Talmor if he thought something distinguished Nahshonim from other kibutzim of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir as a consequence of the social origins of its founders. The only characteristic of the kibutz that came to his mind then was its food culture. “We know how to cook rice properly. We don't make hard white balls like the Poles. We have pride of rice.”
Lazare Giv‘ati, another founder of Kibutz Nahshonim and former head of the ken of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir in the Ramle district of Alexandria, responding to the same question, replied, “Yes. Language and Western culture. We were different from the mainly Eastern European culture in Israel at the time. The entire country was Ashkenazi. We were less rigid and more compromising than the Poles.”  Their former comrade, Sami Shemtov, a founder of Nahshonim who left the kibutz in 1961, agreed that the distinctive aspect of the kibutz was its Francophone cultural character.
For these veterans of Nahshonim, being Egyptian meant being more Westernized than the majority of Israeli Jews. They were proud of their French education and culture, which they considered superior to the dominant Eastern European norms of Israel. Some felt that they had been discriminated against as Middle Eastern Jews, but they integrated into Israel when it was considered unpatriotic and culturally backward to identify this as an issue. Consequently, any feelings of pride they may have had as Egyptians were sublated to pride in their Francophone culture.
Ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and the Underground in Egypt
Unlike most other Egyptian Zionist groups, ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir began to operate underground in late 1947 and early 1948. Consequently, only a handful of its senior leaders were apprehended in the roundup of Zionist activists at the start of the Arab-Israeli war in May 1948, and the movement maintained most of its strength. A gar‘in was then preparing to immigrate to Israel to establish the second Egyptian kibutz of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir. Instead of leaving, the gar‘in members remained underground in Egypt to organize Jewish immigration to Israel and to aid the other youth movements, which had been left without most of their leaders. From the end of May 1948 until April 1949, they acted without any direct assistance or guidance from the Zionist authorities in Israel. Ralph Hodara, Vita Castel, and David Harel (Wahba) led the underground work on behalf of the Jewish Agency and its ‘Aliyah Organization (Mosad le-‘Aliyah). They collaborated with Rudolf Pilpul, a lawyer who became the chief intelligence agent for the Israeli military in Egypt after Yolande Gabai Harmer, who had been collecting intelligence in Cairo for the Zionist authorities for the previous four years, was arrested in August 1948. In addition, Menasce Setton's travel agency in Cairo collaborated with the ‘Aliyah Organization on a commercial basis. Benny Aharon and Victor Beressi took responsibility for the educational work of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and the other youth movements. The youth leaders reported to Eli Peleg, the former emissary of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi who became director of the Jewish Agency's Department for Middle East Jewry in Paris after he was forced to leave Egypt on May 25, 1948.
In the spring of 1949, Eliyahu Brakha and Haim Sha’ul were sent by the ‘Aliyah Organization to assume responsibility for organizing immigration to Israel. Sha’ul was a graduate of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in Cairo; Brakha had been a member of he-Halutz in Alexandria. As a member of MAPAI, the leading party of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency, Brakha had the confidence of the official institutions of the state of Israel and the Zionist movement. The decision to send two emissaries may well have been motivated by the desire not to allow MAPAM to “control” Zionist activity in Egypt. Sha’ul recalled that his departure for Egypt was delayed until MAPAI could find an emissary to join him and that even though he had been waiting in Paris for months before Brakha arrived, Brakha was sent on to Cairo first.
The arrival of the two emissaries transferred the internecine political rivalries of Israel, where Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had excluded MAPAM from the government, to Egypt. Brakha was suspicious of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir despite its considerable success under difficult conditions. Ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir's leaders complained repeatedly and bitterly that Brakha excluded them from the work and refused to hand over monies allocated to them. Eli Peleg protested that MAPAI was conducting “unrestrained warfare” against MAPAM and that there was a “merciless battle” against his department, in which MAPAM members dominated, within the Jewish Agency. As part of his effort to ensure the local dominance of MAPAI, Brakha split the he-Halutz movement by demanding that it abandon its officially nonpartisan status and transform itself into the new youth movement of MAPAI-ha-Bonim (The builders). About half the members of he-Halutz refused and formed Dror-he-Halutz ha-Tza‘ir (Freedom—the young pioneer). Dror was the youth movement of the elements of the Kibutz ha-Me’uhad federation affiliated with MAPAM from 1948 to 1954. It was politically situated between the social democratic MAPAI and ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir. However, for very local reasons, elements of Dror in Egypt developed a line that was to the left of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir (see Chapter 2).
During 1949 and 1950, two contingents of the gar‘in of senior members of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir left Egypt. They made their way to Kibutz ‘Ein-Shemer between the summer of 1949 and late 1951. The 80 members of the gar‘in were augmented by perhaps 40 more Egyptians who had not been in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir but were recruited to join the gar‘in. They left some 350 members behind in Egypt, including 70 seniors. In 1952, a small gar‘in of Egyptian ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir arrived in Kibutz Mesilot, a veteran kibutz established in 1938. They joined the kibutz in September after living there for several months and studying Hebrew. Although ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and the underground Zionist movement continued to exist until 1954, the wave of Jewish emigration ebbed after 1950, and no Israeli emissaries arrived after 1952.
The Egyptian Gar‘in and Kibutz ‘Ein-Shemer
The first contingent of the second Egyptian gar‘in left Egypt in March 1949, shortly after the armistice between Egypt and Israel was signed. They first went to the Zionist training farm at La Roche in France because the authorities of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi feared that if the gar‘in arrived in Israel while the military situation was unsettled, the members would be immediately drafted into the army and that military service might undermine the social cohesiveness of the gar‘in and disperse the members before they settled on a kibutz. After three months at La Roche, in June-July 1949, the first members of the gar‘in arrived at Kibutz ‘Ein-Shemer, which had been founded in 1932 by members of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir from Poland.
The gar‘in planned to establish a new Egyptian kibutz, as their leaders had done at Nahshonim before them, after completing their agricultural training at ‘Ein-Shemer. However, the leadership of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi decided that the gar‘in should remain at ‘Ein-Shemer as a reinforcement (hashlamah) to augment the demographic composition of the veteran kibutz and provide an infusion of young labor power. Economically and socially, the Egyptian gar‘in was a considerable asset to ‘Ein-Shemer. The gar‘in resisted settling at ‘Ein-Shemer as a point of honor; they expected to do no less than their elders at Nahshonim. Movement discipline ultimately led them to accept the ruling of the leadership of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi, but not without producing a certain tension between the gar‘in and the veterans of ‘Ein-Shemer.
Social friction between veterans and newcomers is a normal part of the process of absorbing (or not absorbing) a new gar‘in in a kibutz. The strains that developed between the Egyptians and the kibutz veterans were not necessarily due to the ill will of individuals in either group. My main interest here is how the inevitable divergences between the veterans and the newcomers were constructed as cultural differences relating to the gar‘in's Egyptian identity despite the fact that both the veterans and the newcomers at ‘Ein Shemer had experienced a very similar and ideologically intense education in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir that created an initial presumption that there was a broad basis of agreement between the kibutz and the young gar‘in.
Among the veterans of ‘Ein-Shemer there were a few outstanding intellectuals and political figures—Yehi’el Harari, Yisra’el Hertz, and Ya‘akov Riftin—but most of them had not completed high school or attended college. Few spoke English, French, or Arabic. Most came from smaller towns outside Warsaw. Though they were fiercely loyal to the ideology of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir, they tended toward an economist (mishkist) understanding of their political mission that regarded the prosperity of their own kibutz as the primary indicator of the success of the socialist revolution in Israel.
The Egyptians were all multilingual Cairenes or Alexandrians. Most were high school graduates, and some had studied at the university level as well. Some came from very comfortable homes and were unused to a rural life of physical labor, although by joining ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and settling on a kibutz, they had committed themselves to such a life as a matter of principle. The Egyptians had a sophisticated political education as a result of their backgrounds in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and the intense political ferment of post-World War II Egypt. Many of them had read the classics of Marxism-Leninism in French. David Harel recalled that they were “intellectual youth of the diaspora for whom the importance of political organization took precedence over the kibutz idea.…We were more people of ideology…our leaders brought us to believe in pure Marxism-Leninism without compromises.” 
Harel was referring to the particularly strong education in Marxism-Leninism of the Cairene contingent of the gar‘in due to the influence of Eli Peleg. In addition, some senior members of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in Cairo had participated in a forum where they met with members of the various underground communist groups and argued about ideological questions. Several gar‘in members agreed that the Marxist component of their education in Egypt was more prominent than the Zionist component. However, there can be no doubt that they were Zionists because they did not join the Egyptian communist organizations but immigrated to Israel to live on a kibutz.
When the Egyptian gar‘in arrived at ‘Ein-Shemer, they were attracted to Ya‘akov Riftin, a veteran of the kibutz who served as political secretary of MAPAM and one of its representatives in the Knesset. Riftin was also a leader of the left wing of MAPAM, along with ‘Elazar Peri and Moshe Sneh. Their political orientation was to narrow the gap between MAPAM's socialist Zionism and orthodox Soviet-style Marxism-Leninism as much as possible. Many members of the Egyptian gar‘in attended a study group on Marxism-Leninism organized by Riftin.
The left in MAPAM was impelled by an urgency born of the intensification of the cold war after the blockade of Berlin and the outbreak of the Korean War. Sneh and other leaders of the MAPAM left believed that the Red Army would soon enter the Middle East. The survival of the Jewish people would then depend on the existence of a Marxist Zionist leadership capable of marching in the direction of history. The leaders of the central current in MAPAM, Me’ir Ya‘ari and Ya‘akov Hazan, emphasized the primacy of the Zionist component of their ideological perspective. They were less insistently pro-Soviet than Sneh, Riftin, and Peri, but their political style was just as dogmatic. Even Hazan had stated in the Israeli Knesset that the Soviet Union was the “second homeland” of the Jewish people.
The Egyptians arrived with a highly idealized image of kibutz life as well as the inevitable social and cultural baggage of the urban, bourgeois, cosmopolitan culture they had grown up in. The gar‘in was full of youthful audacity and rebelliousness, which were encouraged by ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir but not well tolerated by the kibutz. David Harel, representing the memory of a minority of the gar‘in, recalls that they were received excellently by the kibutz. Most of the gar‘in felt that the veterans of ‘Ein-Shemer did not appreciate “who we were and where we came from.”  Some spoke sharply about the veterans' perceptions that they must be “uneducated Arabs” because they came from Egypt. When it became apparent that most of the Polish veterans were in fact less educated, less politically articulate, and less worldly than the Egyptians, the veterans experienced a severe case of cognitive dissonance. To alleviate their symptoms, some veterans argued that the Egyptians were bourgeois, scornful of physical labor, and too naive to appreciate the economic realities of the kibutz.
Some of the gar‘in members' impressions about the veterans' negative views of them appear to have been validated in retrospect by Miyetek Zilbertal (Moshe Zertal), who served as secretary of the kibutz in the early 1950s. When interviewed by the daughter of a member of ‘Ein-Shemer for a high school project, Zilbertal said, “Their problem was that they did not know Hebrew and the gar‘in was very large. Their preparation in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir was not great.…The members of the gar‘in were very new in the country…they had not acclimated themselves, but they had a leadership. They did not seek much connection to us.…It is possible that we did not pay sufficient attention to them.”  In accord with the prevailing political culture in ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi, the socially and culturally conservative kibutz tended to define every expression of difference between the Egyptian newcomers and the veterans as a moral and political flaw on the part of the newcomers.
Despite the nominal commitment of the kibutz to egalitarian gender relations, women bore a disproportionate share of the burden of the social difference between urban bourgeois and kibutz life. Several of the Egyptian women brought elegant wardrobes suitable for urban Egyptian social life. Kibutzim of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi then practiced a form of collectivism known as komunah alef, which required that individuals forgo personal ownership of clothing and draw what they required from a collective depository. Some of the Egyptian women were embarrassed by the comments of the veteran kibutz members about their stylish clothing and resented handing over their trousseaus to the kibutz.
There were similar frictions over the fact that the Egyptians organized New Year's eve parties. In Egypt this was considered a fashionable, modern custom adopted by Europeanized Muslims, Jews, and Copts. Because it was not a traditional holiday on the Jewish calendar, veteran kibutz members regarded these celebrations as bourgeois and goyish (non-Jewish).
The tensions between the Egyptian gar‘in and the veterans of ‘Ein-Shemer were exacerbated by the difficult economic circumstances of Israel in the early 1950s, the period of austerity (tzena')—high unemployment, black markets, and stringent food rationing. When Ninette Piciotto Braunstein arrived at ‘Ein-Shemer in October 1951, she thought that she would be received as a heroine because she had spent a month imprisoned in the Cairo Citadel for her work in the Zionist underground. To her amazement, her comrades greeted her by telling her how lucky she had been to have remained in Egypt. “At least you ate,” they said. She found that the gar‘in members had already begun calling the kibutz veterans “anti-Semites” and “racists” because of the way they were treated. “They received us with a great deal of contempt,” Braunstein recalled.
The kibutz wanted Braunstein to work as an English teacher in its school, but in keeping with the ideals of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir, she agreed to become a teacher only if she could do physical work as well. She also asked to engage in some political activity, which she had been educated to regard as an essential part of life. The kibutz and the local MAPAM leaders assigned her to work in the labor office in the nearby town of Karkur. After several days of allocating work to unemployed new immigrants, she was called to a consultation with the kibutz leaders, who were upset with her performance. She had assigned work to applicants who were “not ours.” That is, they were not members of MAPAM. At first she did not understand. “I am a Zionist. They are Jews. Don't they deserve to work too?” she replied. For the kibutz veterans, such political naiveté was yet another expression of the Egyptians' lack of understanding of the realities of life in Israel.
Underprivileged children from poorer neighborhoods of Tel Aviv were brought to ‘Ein-Shemer under the auspices of a shelter program (korat gag) to give them an opportunity to breathe fresh air and benefit from the healthy atmosphere of the kibutz. Members of the gar‘in complained when they noticed that these children were fed less generously than the children of the kibutz veterans. “Don't they deserve to eat jam like your children?” they asked.
Gar‘in members also objected when they learned that the kibutz was selling some of its produce on the black market instead of through the marketing cooperative of the Histadrut. Selling on the black market brought higher prices and direct payment in cash, but the marketing cooperative took weeks or months to settle its accounts. The gar‘in members criticized the kibutz for informally hiring new immigrants from the neighboring ma‘abarah and paying them less than the official minimum wage required by the Histadrut. Veteran kibutz members regarded protest against such practices as naive ignorance of the requirements of economic survival. They resented being criticized as politically deficient by inexperienced newcomers.
All these tensions exploded in the course of the “Sneh affair”—an internal ideological struggle within MAPAM and ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi set off by the arrest of Mordehai Oren, a member of Kibutz Mizra‘ who had travelled to Prague to represent MAPAM at a meeting of the World Federation of Trade Unions in November 1952. The Czechoslovak communist authorities charged Oren with espionage in order to substantiate charges they had previously brought against Rudolf Slansky and other mostly Jewish party leaders who were accused of being bourgeois nationalists and Zionist agents. The Slansky and Oren trials were anti-Semitic frame-ups whose political objective was to smash any residual Titoist tendencies and impose the absolute authority of the Soviet Union over Eastern Europe.
Me’ir Ya‘ari and Ya‘akov Hazan, the leaders of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi and the centrist current in MAPAM, supported by the Le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah faction, demanded that MAPAM members unite behind a resolution denouncing the Prague trial. The left wing of MAPAM, led by Moshe Sneh, Ya‘akov Riftin, and ‘Elazar Peri, refused to endorse a resolution that could be interpreted as anticommunist or anti-Soviet. Speaking at a meeting of the Political Committee of MAPAM on November 23, 1952, Riftin argued, “It is impossible to be an inseparable part [of the world of revolution—the slogan of the left in MAPAM] without being for Prague.” Sneh presented the Prague trial as “a choice between national solidarity and international solidarity,” and he believed that “in this matter there ought to have been international solidarity.” 
After efforts to compromise failed, in January 1953 the left wingers announced they were forming a new independent faction in the party, the Left Section. Although MAPAM was then organized on the basis of factions, party leaders demanded that this faction dissolve and that its leaders relinquish their public offices and party positions. When the Left Section refused this ultimatum, it was expelled from MAPAM. At the last minute, loyalty to ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and to their kibutzim induced Riftin and Peri to accept the decisions of the leaders of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi and MAPAM. They remained members of their kibutzim and the party, though they never again wielded any significant influence. Moshe Sneh, who was not a kibutz member, led several hundred activists out of MAPAM to form the Left Socialist Party. A year and a half later, Sneh and some 250 members of the Left Socialist Party joined the Communist Party of Israel.
Because ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi was affiliated with MAPAM and practiced a form of democratic centralism known as ideological collectivism, the split in the party had immediate and severe repercussions within its kibutzim, especially ‘Ein-Shemer, where the left was very strong because of the presence of Ya‘akov Riftin and the Egyptian gar‘in. On January 4, 1953, the Executive Committee of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi decided that every kibutz should administer a three-part referendum/loyalty oath requiring each member to affirm the following: (1) The kibutz supports the resolution of the MAPAM Council denouncing the Prague trial. (2) The kibutz confirms the “absolute obligation” of all members of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi to support the decisions of MAPAM and ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi on the basis of ideological collectivism. (3) The kibutz denounces factional activity in the kibutz and in ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi. Dissidents in the kibutzim were subjected to intense social, political, and economic pressures to conform. Consequently, the vote of 13. percent or 1,334 of the members of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi against clause one of the referendum represented a substantial ideological crisis in the movement. The leaders considered this a statement of support for the line of Riftin and Peri, an undesirable, but legitimate opinion. A vote against clauses two and three was considered an expression of support for the line of Moshe Sneh and the Left Section. Those who persisted in these positions—between 160 and 220 kibutz members—were expelled from the kibutzim of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi.
A large majority of the Egyptian gar‘in at ‘Ein-Shemer, especially its leadership, identified with the political positions of Riftin or Sneh. During the factional struggle in MAPAM, members of the gar‘in had attended meetings sponsored by the Left Section in Tel Aviv along with members of neighboring kibutzim. Veteran kibutz members regarded this as subversion and establishing an “underground” political opposition within the kibutz.
One of the activities that most upset the veterans of ‘Ein-Shemer and the leaders of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi was the establishment of political ties by gar‘in members with their Palestinian Arab neighbors in the villages of Wadi ‘Ara. “They had already succeeded in acting in the Arab sector. It was not only an internal matter,” explained Miyetek Zilbertal, the kibutz secretary. The fear expressed in this comment reflects MAPAM's complex relationship of paternalism and alliance with the Arab citizens of Israel. The political activity of the Egyptians was a threat to the stability of this volatile mixture because the Arabic speakers among them had direct and unmediated access to Arabs and could form independent conclusions about prevailing opinions in the Arab community and the effectiveness of MAPAM's work there.
"I was in contact with the Arabs in “Ar‘ara, in Kafr Kar‘a, and it is all lies,” explained David Harel.
I speak Arabic, and my comrades and I went several times to ‘Ar‘ara and Kafr Kar‘a.…We went as ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir. We invited them to ‘Ein-Shemer. We sang and danced together, and I lectured in Arabic on socialism and American imperialism in the name of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and MAPAM. All this was a year, maybe more, before the Slansky affair and the affair of Oren, Sneh, and Riftin. Before they ever dreamed of working with the Arabs. We believed in the brotherhood of nations [one of MAPAM's slogans], and in order to help them economically we helped them prepare chicken feed. I knew how because I worked in the chicken coop.…We were [politically] active in Egypt and we wanted to be active in Israel, and the area of activity was around ‘Ein-Shemer as volunteers.
Reports of David Harel's activities in Wadi ‘Ara composed by more conservative members of MAPAM during the height of the internal struggle in the party contradict his memory of the significance of his contacts with the Arab neighbors of ‘Ein-Shemer. Eli‘ezer Be’eri, the head of MAPAM's Arab Affairs Department, wrote to the leaders of ‘Ein-Shemer that in January 1953 David Wahba (Harel) and Moshe Bilaysh, members of the Egyptian gar‘in, had encouraged Arab members of MAPAM in ‘Ar‘ara to organize a demonstration of the unemployed without first requesting authorization from the institutions of the party. The MAPAM leaders subsequently agreed to the action, and the demonstration was held on January 25. Afterwards, Wahba and Bilaysh returned to ‘Ar‘ara to explain to MAPAM members there that the party was split and unable to help them. They advised them to contact Rustum Bastuni, a leading Arab party member who supported Sneh and the Left Section. Be’eri regarded this as factional organizing for the Left Section. Therefore, he planned not to deliver the entry permits to the villages of Wadi ‘Ara that he had requested for the two Egyptians from the military government (all the Arab villages of Israel were then under military restrictions that required permits for anyone to enter and exit), although the permits had originally been requested on the basis of their tasks for MAPAM in the villages.
‘Ein-Shemer held its referendum on March 14–17. By then, the secretariat of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi had revised the wording of the text, making it even harsher. There seems to have been an understanding between the kibutz secretariat and the secretariat of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi before the referendum was administered that members of ‘Ein-Shemer who voted against any of the clauses would be expelled from the kibutz. The kibutz veterans were probably exasperated by the oppositional activity of the Egyptian gar‘in by then and anxious to cut their losses and return to normalcy. Twenty-three members of the Egyptian gar‘in did vote against the referendum, and the following day the general meeting of the kibutz decided to remove their names from the work schedule, which was tantamount to expulsion. In response, on March 28, the Egyptians declared a hunger strike. Embarrassed and confused about how to handle a situation that overtaxed the kibutz's repertoire of social remedies, ‘Ein-Shemer sealed itself off from outside contact. In this superheated and isolated environment, the confrontation between the veterans and the Egyptians led to an exchange of blows. The hunger strike ended the next day. Twenty-two Egyptians signed an agreement to leave the kibutz after negotiating terms for financial compensation.
Among the Egyptians expelled from ‘Ein-Shemer were many former leading members of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir, including several who have been previously mentioned in this chapter and whose activities in Egypt would be regarded as heroic in Zionist terms: Haim (Vita) Castel, Benny Aharon, David Wahba (Harel), Haim Aharon, ‘Ada Yedid (Aharoni), Ninette Piciotto Braunstein, and Victor (David) Beressi. In the following weeks and months, most of the other members of the Egyptian gar‘in left ‘Ein-Shemer as well. When I interviewed members of ‘Ein-Shemer in 1993, only ten members of the original Egyptian gar‘in remained there.
A substantial number of Egyptians were also expelled from Kibutz Mesilot in the course of the Sneh affair. Months after the referendum was held, one of the members of the Egyptian gar‘in at Mesilot participated in the founding congress of the Left Socialist Party. This was considered a violation of ideological collectivism, and the kibutz general meeting decided to expel him from the kibutz. Several members of the gar‘in walked out of the general meeting in solidarity with their friend and comrade. Twenty-six of them signed a petition to the secretariat of the kibutz saying they viewed themselves as expelled from the kibutz for ideological reasons. On June 5, 1953, nineteen Egyptians held a hunger strike in the kibutz dining hall. That evening, the general meeting voted to expel them. Twenty-four Egyptians eventually left Mesilot over the Sneh affair. The kibutz secretariat's original official account of the Sneh affair at Mesilot minimized its significance. A more candid statement on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Mesilot frankly admitted that most of the Egyptian gar‘in was expelled.
The social background and education in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir of the expelled members of Mesilot were similar to those of their older comrades at ‘Ein-Shemer. Consequently, the expulsions of the Egyptians from ‘Ein-Shemer cannot be explained solely as the result of the normal social frictions between the gar‘in and the kibutz veterans, although such tensions probably did motivate the mass departure of the remainder of the Egyptians after the expulsion of the ideological leaders of the gar‘in. The similarity between the events at ‘Ein-Shemer and Mesilot suggests that the political and cultural formation of Egyptian ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir was incompatible with the orientation of MAPAM and ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi once the synthesis of Zionism and socialism became strained by the intensifying cold war and the harsh actualities of intra-Jewish ethnic relations and Arab-Jewish relations in Israel.
The identification of Egyptians with “leftism” in the kibutzim was enhanced by the fact that at Kibutz Yir'on, an affiliate of ha-Kibutz ha-Me’uhad, a federation largely loyal to the le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah faction of MAPAM, a similar struggle broke out over the Prague trial and the Sneh affair. An Egyptian gar‘in of about forty members arrived in Yir'on in 1950. They had been in he-Halutz in Egypt, and many of them had moved leftward after Eli Brakha arrived and split the movement. During the Sneh affair, ha-Kibutz ha-Me’uhad conducted a referendum among its members similar to the one organized in ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi. Seven of the Egyptians at Yir'on were expelled for holding positions sympathetic to Sneh. They and twenty other Egyptians left Yir'on and joined Yad Hanah, the only kibutz in Israel that was prepared to welcome supporters of the Left Socialist Party and the Communist Party.
Autobiography and Ethnography
I met several of the former members of the Egyptian gar‘in at ‘Ein-Shemer in Tel Aviv at Ninette Piciotto Braunstein's home in June 1993, where some spoke bitterly about their time on the kibutz. My ten years as a member of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and my familiarity with Egypt allowed me to feel like a full partner in the discussion. Their vocabulary and conceptual universe were intimately familiar to me from my own personal history. Their ordeal on ‘Ein-Shemer was far more intense than my encounter with kibutz life and had been framed by the issues of Stalinism and the cold war that were no longer relevant when I lived in Israel. But their tribulations resonated eerily with my experiences on Kibutz Lahav. At Lahav, cultural and political clashes between my gar‘in of North Americans and the tzabar founders of the kibutz led to the departure of virtually all the Americans within a few years of our arrival in 1970. I felt a deep emotional link with the Egyptians expelled from ‘Ein-Shemer because we had shared similar ideals and disappointments in our teens and early twenties. We were now in different physical and political spaces, but sharing the same beginnings in life easily allowed us to make sense of each other's trajectories.
The conclusions drawn by those in the room since our departures from kibutzim were not politically uniform. Sitting in Ninette Braunstein's living room and enjoying her hospitality as we reminisced, this seemed less important than it undoubtedly would have been at other times and places. In any case, our views on politics in Israel were not incommensurable. Despite the undeniable ideological differences among us, which have constituted sharp lines of demarcation in Israeli politics in certain periods, we could, in a vague and general way, all be considered part of the same camp. I sensed that we all understood this and took pleasure in it.
1. Gudrun Krämer, “Zionism in Egypt, 1917–1948,” in Amnon Cohen and Gabriel Baer (eds.), Egypt and Palestine: A Millennium of Association (868–1948) (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, 1984), p. 354. [BACK]
2. Shlomo Barad, “ha-Pe‘ilut ha-tzionit be-mitzrayim, 1917–1952,” Shorashim ba-mizrah 2 (1989):105. [BACK]
3. Ibid., pp. 94–95. [BACK]
4. Biographical information on Ezra Talmor and all the quotes are taken from interviews conducted on Feb. 22 and Mar. 16, 1993, at Kibutz Nahshonim. [BACK]
5. Barad, “ha-Pe‘ilut ha-tzionit be-mitzrayim,” p. 84. [BACK]
6. Mitzrayim, tnu‘at ha-shomer ha-tza‘ir, HH 18–2.1(4) “Nahshonim-Erev zikaron le-aharon keshet za‘l be-30 le-moto, 1983”[same as 97.10 (5 ‘ayin)]. [BACK]
7. Testimony of Ezra Talmor (interviewed by Shlomo Barad, Sept. 14, 1983) gives the date as 1940: YTM, Chativa 25/‘ayin. Mekhal 7. Tik 1. When I spoke to Ezra Talmor in 1993, he dated this incident to 1938. This is, in fact, the more likely date. [BACK]
8. Lazare Guetta [Giv‘ati], Mazkirut hanhagah ‘ironit aleksandriah la-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah, May 27, 1947, “Hanhagah ‘elyonah yisra’el, mitzrayim, 1944–1947,” HH 31.78(1), vol. 1. [BACK]
9. Ha-‘ivri ha-tza‘ir, kvutzat birya, aleksandriah, Iton Birya, [1940s], MHT, T-12.2. [BACK]
10. See Joel Beinin, Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948–1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990). [BACK]
11. Barad, “ha-Pe‘ilut ha-tzionit be-mitzrayim,” pp. 103–104, gives the figure of 200 immigrants, but Michael M. Laskier, The Jews of Egypt, 1920–1970: In the Midst of Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Middle East Conflict (New York: New York University Press, 1992), p. 115, presents credible evidence to support the lower figure. [BACK]
12. “35 be-Nahshonim: alon hag ha-35” (1984) and a brief history of the kibutz in French, source not indicated, HH 101.55.1-Nahshonim, (2) and (4). [BACK]
13. Ezra [Talmor], “Kibutz ‘edot-mizrah ve-yi‘udav,” ha-Shavu‘a ba-kibutz ha-artzi, Oct. 16, 1964, p. 11. [BACK]
14. Lazare Giv‘ati, interview, Nahshonim, Feb. 26, 1993. [BACK]
15. Sami Shemtov, interview, Herzliah, Feb. 27, 1993. [BACK]
16. Haim Sha’ul, interview, Nahshonim, Mar. 16, 1993. [BACK]
17. Hanhagah rashit be-mitzrayim, la-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah, Jan. 13, 1950, and Hanhagah rashit, ha-shomer ha-tza‘ir la-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah, Paris, Jan. 31, 1950, HH 31.78(1) Hanhagah ‘elyonah, mitzrayim, 1948–50, vol. 2. [BACK]
18. Peleg le-mazkirut ha-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah shel ha-shomer ha-tza‘ir u-le-mazkirut ha-kibutz ha-artzi, July 4, 1950, Ha-makhlakah le-‘inyanei ha-yehudim be-mizrakh ha-tikhon, Paris, Eli Peleg (1950–51), vol. 2., HH 31.82(5). [BACK]
19. On the antagonism between Brakha and Sha’ul, see Hanhagah rashit be-mitzrayim, la-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah, Jan. 13, 1950, and Hanhagah rashit, ha-shomer ha-tza‘ir la-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah, Paris, Jan. 31, 1950, Hanhagah ‘elyonah, mitzrayim, 1948–50, vol. 2., HH 31.78(1). On Eli Peleg's complaints about anti-MAPAM sentiment, see Peleg le-mazkirut ha-hanhagah ha-‘elyonah shel ha-shomer ha-tza‘ir u-le-mazkirut ha-kibutz ha-artzi, July 4, 1950, Ha-makhlakah le-‘inyanei ha-yehudim be-mizrakh ha-tikhon, Paris, Eli Peleg (1950–51), vol. 2., HH 31.82(5). MAPAI decided to form ha-Bonim as a result of le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah joining MAPAM. He-halutz had sent members to kibutzim of ha-Kibutz ha-Me’uhad, which was affiliated with le-Ahdut ha-‘Avodah. Now that this movement was part of MAPAM (albeit only briefly until 1954), MAPAI wanted to establish a new youth movement loyal to itself. [BACK]
20. “Din ve-heshbon ‘al ha-tnu‘ah be-mitzrayim,” hanhagah ha-rashit shel ha-shomer ha-tza‘ir, mitzrayim, no date, received in Jewish Agency on Jan. 23, 1950, CZA S20/112/230/71/18394. [BACK]
21. Nurit Burlas (Jeanette Salama), interview, Kibutz ‘Ein Shemer, Mar. 4, 1993. [BACK]
22. David Harel, interviewed by ‘Einav Grosman, Oct. 31, 1988, “Parashat sneh ve-hishtakfutah be-kibutz ‘ein-shemer,” (Mevo'ot ‘Eiron High School, Bagrut project, Jan. 1988), p. 27. [BACK]
23. Perla Cohen, interview, Kibutz ‘Ein-Shemer, Mar. 4, 1993. [BACK]
24. Shlomo Burlas, Nurit Burlas, Perla Cohen, and Yitzhak Danon, interview, Kibutz ‘Ein-Shemer, Mar. 4, 1993. [BACK]
25. David Harel, interviewed by Grosman, Parashat sneh, p. 26. [BACK]
26. Nurit Burlas, interview, Kibutz ‘Ein-Shemer, Mar. 4, 1993. Others who expressed similar opinions were ‘Ada and Haim Aharoni, interview, Haifa, Mar. 5, 1993; Ninette Piciotto Braunstein, interview, Tel Aviv, Mar.8, 1993; Zvi and Regine Cohen, interview, Tel Aviv, June 4 1993. [BACK]
27. Ninette Piciotto Braunstein, interview, Tel Aviv, Mar. 8, 1993; Regine Cohen and others, interview, Tel Aviv, June 4, 1993. [BACK]
28. Miyetek Zilbertal, interviewed by Grosman, Parashat sneh, pp. 20, 22. [BACK]
29. Benny Aharon and David Harel, interview, Tel Aviv, Mar. 25, 1993. [BACK]
30. Ninette Piciotto Braunstein, interview, Tel Aviv, Mar. 8, 1993. [BACK]
31. Ibid. [BACK]
32. Ibid. [BACK]
33. Braunstein, interview, Tel Aviv, June 4, 1993. [BACK]
34. Braunstein, interview, Mar. 8, 1993. [BACK]
35. Haim Aharon, interview, Haifa, Mar. 5, 1993. [BACK]
36. See Beinin, Was the Red Flag Flying There? pp. 130–34. [BACK]
37. “Yeshivot ha-va‘adah ha-politit ve-ha-medinit,” Nov. 23, 1952, HH 90.66 bet (8). [BACK]
38. The results of the vote and the total number of expulsions are based on Eli Tzur, “Parashat prag: ha-hanhagah ve-ha-opozitziah ba-kbh‘a,” Me’asef 18 (June 1988):51–52. Tzur's figures are drawn from the Ya‘akov Hazan papers, which were not available when I was conducting research for Was the Red Flag Flying There? Based on partial and different documentation, I estimated that over 20 percent of the members of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi voted against clause one and over 200 members were expelled for political opposition: Was the Red Flag Flying There? pp. 132–33. Grosman, Parashat sneh, p. 18, cites the same article by Tzur but incorrectly quotes him as saying that between 160 and 200 individuals left their kibutzim. This understatement, perhaps a Freudian error, expresses a persistent tendency to minimize the significance of this entire affair among ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir loyalists. All the published numbers underestimate the strength of the left opposition in ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi because they are based on public votes, and many quiet sympathizers may not have expressed themselves if they were unable to contemplate leaving their kibutz for economic or other reasons. [BACK]
39. Grosman, Parashat sneh, p, 23. [BACK]
40. Ibid. [BACK]
41. David Harel, interviewed by Grosman, Parashat sneh, pp. 28–29. [BACK]
42. Two notes from Eli‘ezer Be’eri to Miyetek Zilbertal, Feb. 5, 1953, facsimiles in Grosman, Parashat sneh, appendix 12, p. 57; Eli‘ezer be’eri la-va‘adah ha-politit, ‘ein-shemer, Feb. 15, 1953, facsimile in Grosman, Parashat sneh, appendix 11, p. 56. [BACK]
43. Correspondence between Natan Peled, mazkirut ha-kibutz ha-artzi and mazkirut of ‘Ein-Shemer, Mar. 12, 1953, and between Natan Peled and Miyetek Zilbertal, Mar. 12, 1953, facsimiles in Grosman, Parashat sneh, appendix 6, p. 51. [BACK]
44. These events were reported extensively in the Israeli press. See, for example, ha-Shavu‘ah ba-kibutz ha-artzi, Apr. 9, 1953; ‘Al ha-mishmar, Ma‘ariv, and Yedi‘ot aharonot, Mar. 29, 1953; Kol ha-‘Am, Apr. 7, 1953. [BACK]
45. Facsimile in Grosman, Parashat sneh, appendix 10, p. 55. [BACK]
46. Mazkirut Kibutz Mesilot, “Ha’emet ‘al ha-me'ora‘ot be-kibutz mesilot,” ha-Shavu‘a ba-kibutz ha-artzi, June 12, 1953; “30 shanah le-kibutz mesilot, 1938–1968,” Ba-bayit, no. 339, Jan.17, 1969, HH 101.47.1-K. Mesilot, Toldot. [BACK]
47. Esty Comay, interview, Tel Aviv, Mar. 21, 1993. [BACK]
48. Nelly and Benny Aharon, Susie and Albert ‘Amar, Ninette Piciotto Braunstein, Regine and Tzvi Cohen, Esty Comay, Ruby and Eli Danon, Bertha Kastel, Pninah and Izzy Mizrahi, interview, Tel Aviv, June 4, 1993. [BACK]