A Catalan Vision

Some few years ago, I went to the State of Israel. Having boarded in Marseille, the vessel, magnificent, perfectly smart, arrived in Haifa with perfect precision. During my stay in Tel Aviv and my comings and goings in that country—I went to the Dead Sea and to Beersheba, in front of the Sinai and to Tiberias—I wrote several articles which would be published later, firstly in Buenos Aires and later in these Complete Works. Israel had a great effect on me. It was smaller then than now; it still didn't reach the Old City of Jerusalem or the full length of the river which flows into the Dead Sea. It gave me the impression of being in a country of great vitality and considerable energy within indescribable modesty. The State President lived in a wooden house situated under pine trees. The Foreign Affairs Ministry occupied a number of barracks also made of wood. No luxury. No extravagance. No triumphalism. Everyone worked intensely: the factory workers, the salesmen and industrialists, the ministers, the diplomats, the journalists, the policemen. Tel Aviv was a settlement—then the capital&mdash which was being built up in the Ashkenazi style, which is to say in the North and Central European style, which was the best prepared majority which governed the country. The Parliament—the Knesset—functioned perfectly. I went to many synagogues, there were many people there. There was a socialist party and trade unions which the State accepted and which obeyed the State. There was one basic idea: the indescribable devastation wrought by Hitler upon the Jews. Most important of all, however, possibly, was the military. I enjoyed making long excursions to reach Tel Aviv in the dead of night and to find, on the highways, young seventeen-year-old girls, admirably armed, that asked us for our papers and kept order and peace whatever happened.

(translated by Ariel C. Serra)


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