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Purity of Arms

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Simie Weinstein writes about the Nachal Scheme  E-mail

by Simie Weinstein

I am often asked the question: "Is the Nachal Scheme a success?" With humble apologies to Kipling's famous "IF",

I reply as follows:

IF Jewish Youth, boys and girls were told by their responsible leaders through headlines in the general and Jewish press that a "chronic emergency" existed in Israel, and that their services were needed in order to strengthen the security of the borders and the young State;

IF they were told that a land is not acquired by money alone but by the blood, sweat and tears as well as the devotion of those who want to inherit it;

IF they understand that by coming here they are the living links between vast Jewish communities of the diaspora and the young Jewish Nation of Israel;

IF they sense that their physical presence has raised the morale of those whom they have come to join; and to help and who feel that they are no longer alone, but that world Jewry stands shoulder to shoulder with them all the time;

IF they realize - each young Jew, that he or she cannot come to live in Israel, then at least because of the spirit that burns within them, as a Jew, they should spend 15 months of their lives in the service of their people at the discretion of the State and it's rulers;

IF they acknowledge that it is an honour to be actual participants in this Jewish history making epoch and it's greatest instrument - the Tzva Haganah Le Yisrael - The Army of Israel, of which Nachal is an honoured, vital and integral part;

IF they learn to appreciate that the time spent on the Meshek enables them to understand that without "Kibush Ha-adamah" the conquering of the soil - the country will never be fully redeemed;

IF they learnt the eternal values that work brings dignity to the individual, and only Jewish work can transform our sorely tried people into a powerful and prosperous nation, that brotherhood, devotion, sacrifice, equality and unity are the values which will ensure our survival;

IF they learnt that the Hebrew language, and through it, the vision of our prophets and the God idea, are the unifying factors and the secret of our immortality;

IF they learnt that "rock and roll", the case and comfort which they left behind in the "flesh pots" of the country from which they hail, is not all that matters in life, but these are but part and parcel of a general trend in the existence of the individual, whose objective must be higher and nobler;

IF the experience in facing the rigorous, drastic changeover from civilian life to the army; the long and boring days and nights of guard and patrol duty, the tense and fearful moments of reconnaissance along the Gaza Strip, and demarcation lines, the exciting and exhilarating times on maneuvers, the hours of longing and yearning to be back with their parents and those who love them dearly;

IF the sun beats mercilessly down upon their backs in summer, whilst they are weeding the vegetable fields, driving the tractors, picking the bananas, conquering the soil, or doing the 101 jobs without which a settlement cannot exist;

IF the wind blows coldly in the winter and the patter of the raindrops beats on the tents and drenches the skin of those who guard the homes of the pioneers and children of the motherland;

IF they jump from skies with a prayer on their lips through moments of fear and trepidation;

IF enforced thirst and hunger have made them tough and conditioned for a life of hardship, risk, daring and sacrifice;

IF this experience had moulded their young characters, above all - if this experience has left the indelible impression upon their hearts and minds;

IF they have passed through this experience and found that they are better men and women with a greater sense of responsibility and an objective in their lives, to encourage and to help, in bringing about the complete redemption of the whole of the Jewish people;

IF this is what the Nachal scheme has done to them, I say it is a success !

This interview appeared in HULLO NACHAL No. 7 (1958)