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[Page 213]

Roots In The Homeland

 

[Page 215]

The author Rivka Davidit,
from the House of Davidovich, z”l

Translated by Ala Gamulka

 

ben215.jpg
Rivka Davidit

 

She was born in Bendery on 17.2.1908. She made Aliyah with her parents in 1921 and was educated in Tel Aviv. She taught for two years in a kibbutz. Rivka published, as of 1930, poems, stories, articles in magazines as well as children's songs (mainly in “Davaar” and “Davaar for Children”). For many years she had a regular column, in Davaar, reviewing cinema and theater. This was written under the pen name of “Atalef” (bat) and “Daughter of Levi”. Her books for children were: Ziftinok, “Hartzit habar hak'tana”(Small wild chrysanthemum), “Mi Ohev ma”( who likes what), “Dagey zahav” (goldfish), “Asara Mekhozot leyaladim” (ten plays for children). She also published translations.

(From “Lexicon of Hebrew Literature in the last generations”, G. Karsel, Volume 1)

Marking a year since her death

Crabgrass

It occurred to me to make a small garden near the house. However, to do that I had to get rid of crabgrass–that wild growth that comes up in every place where it was not planted. It sends its roots into every new plant and kills it.

It was a pleasure to dig deep into the ground to reach the hidden roots–the ”bad roots” in my imagination–and to pull them with all my strength. Some of the roots curled up like dry and evil snakes as if there was no sign of life in them. Do not believe it because it was a pretended death. Every little part of the roots is waiting for the first opportunity to send its tentacles right and left.

I pulled out the evil crabgrass as quickly as I could. I did not leave even the slightest of remnants. There was a pile of pulled out grass and I was going to burn it. I was told that even the smallest leftover could spread and grow again. However, all this hard work tired me out and I postponed the burning to the following day.

That night I had a strange dream. I found myself in a courthouse with judges sitting at special desks along the walls. There was a great crowd of onlookers in the hall.

The door opens and a guard is leading a small woman with her hands cuffed.

–There she is! – says the guard.

–Who is she? – I ask.

–The criminal! – he answers.

I look at the small woman and to my amazement her face is quite ordinary without any signs of her being a criminal. She is neither ugly nor beautiful, neither smart nor stupid. One can see this woman does not love or hate anything, but she is depressed and is cowering like a pursued animal.

I go to the woman with good intentions, but when I look at her strange ears which are pointed to the sides, I hesitate. This is only a miserable woman and one should pity her.

The woman seems to understand what is happening inside of me and she says:

[Page 216]

–It is impossible to love me. I am not good looking or smart. I have no special abilities. Everyone hates me and you are like all the others.

–I do not hate you–I tell her– I feel sorry for you.

–No! You do not pity me. I am a thief. No one likes a character like me. No one loves for nothing. Everyone needs a repayment for their love.

I was shocked by her words, but I found them to be logical and honest. I approached her and said: I love you, but tell me why you steal.

She looked at me with scorn and replied:

–No one gives me anything of their own volition. That is why I steal. You are lying. You do not love me.

I asked the guard in a whisper: Who is this woman and what is her name?

–Her name is “zero”– he said.

–Zero?

–Yes. I wanted to say Crabgrass!

I woke up with an uncomfortable feeling. It was before dawn and I could think about my dream. “No one loves for nothing”, said the small woman. Is that really so? Is it only reciprocal relations that exist between people? Everyone, then, only likes what is beautiful, rich, whole and certain. If someone is rich our love could be given to someone who could get along without it. However, the poor, ugly and weak are really those who need our love and we cannot do it.

What is the wisdom and courage to love the special ones? We enjoy them. However, try to love the “crabgrass” if not only because it is miserable and no one else will pay any attention to it.

Dava'ar for Female workers 2.71[(107)55]

“You should love your friend as you love yourself”. This is what a former president, Zalman Shazar, z”l, said. He meant it to refer to those weaker and needier of help and encouragement.


An Old Fighter in a New Role

by Eitan Haber, Military reporter

Translated by Ala Gamulka

Major–general Aharon Davidi is the son of Rivka Davidit, z”l

Major–General Aharon Davidi was appointed as the chief officer in the Parachute corps in the Israel Defence Forces. Thus a young officer came out of anonymity and into the public limelight.

Major–General David is the second generation of high command in the IDF. He is one of the future generations in the army and we expect much from him.

 

Commendation

Anyone who served in the IDF before the Sinai Campaign, during the Fedayeen (terrorist gangs) attacks or someone who was interested in defence does not need to be introduced to Major–General Davidi He was born in Tel Aviv and is 38 years old. He is an inseparable part of the retaliation activities and is always in the first line of those who plan and participate in these activities. He is modest, cool–minded and considerate in speech and deed. His exemplary behavior and his bravery in one of the retaliation activities brought him a commendation from the chief of the army, General Moshe Dayan. In one of the first such activities, in a battle near Gaza, a platoon mistakenly attacked a water plant instead of the army camp nearby. The commander of the platoon was killed – Sargeant Sa'adia Elkayam. For a few minutes there was despair in the platoon, either because its commander was killed or because they lost their way.

Aharon Davidi (only a sergeant–major in those days) immediately took command. He organized the platoon and attacked in the correct direction–the army camp.

Davidi was not originally meant to command the platoon, but he continued to do so until the end of battle.

[Page 217]

The Sinai Campaign

Until he joined the Parachute corps, Davidi was a communications officer in the Hagana. Later he was one of those who took an officers' course in the Hagana in Shefya.

In the War of Independence he served as an officer in the Negev contingent– usually in communications. He spent time in Kfar Darom just before it was conquered by the Egyptians.

Before he joined the Parachute Corps he was an instructor in the school for officers. In the Parachute Corps he was a unit leader, assistant commander of a platoon and a commander. During the Sinai Campaign he was among the fighter in the Mitla Pass. At the end of the war he was sent to study in the Ecole Superiere in Paris – a military academy.

(Yediot Aharonot, 3.10.65)


Echo Sounds

by Mordehai Sever

Translated by Ala Gamulka

Where are the brothers,
The sisters.
Who wandered
In convoys?

Did the voice of
The people disappear?
Did their forever
Stop?

Where is the song
That woke me
From a dream
Early in the morning?

Is the song
Lost forever?
Is it lost
And nothing left?

Alone I walk
In the fields
And I gather
Echo sounds.

The loud echo
Of the people
That like the sea
Brings their sound.


[Page 218]

Our Aunt Leah

by D. Ben Yehiel

Translated by Ala Gamulka

 

ben218.jpg
Leah Rachman (nee Ehrlich) “Aunt Leah”

 

We were told that she is an unusual person and that everything we write about her would not suffice. People tried to find beautiful words to define her exactly, to describe her in one sentence–but they were unsuccessful.

There was something so humane and comforting about her. If you mentioned her in the bases and offices of the Air Force you would get a warm reaction. This feeling superseded the uniforms, the positions and her officers' status.

We heard about it from her co–workers and from her, too. As for myself–I did not imagine that Aunt Leah was actually such a “true one”.

We first were told about Leah by the education officer in the Air Force: “On the day I assumed my position, I heard mention of Aunt Leah several times. At first I thought that she was someone's aunt. Later I had a formal introduction to her and she was presented as the representative of the Committee for Soldiers. However, my true feelings about her came as a result of working with her. I saw her less as an official representative and more as a good mother who takes care of her children and makes sure they are dressed properly, eat well, etc.”

Aunt Leah describes how she found her way to our Air Force:

“During the Mandate there were many British soldiers here. I thought to myself that one day, when we will have our own soldiers, I would be prepared to do everything possible for them. In fact, the day came and we had our own soldiers. Here, in Pardes Hannah, a small club was organized and we had many soldiers from the entire area. In spite of the fact that I had small children at home, we managed. It can be said that have accompanied the IDF from the first moment”. Aunt Leah smiles: she uses the term “we” not because her Hebrew is not good enough, but due to her true modesty.

Yes, I truly love our soldiers and they are the dearest and most wonderful people for me. Truthfully, I did not expect things to reach so far. At first I intended to do whatever I could in my area and I helped on a specific base. The commander was transferred to a different location and he begged me not to abandon his new unit. I adopted these soldiers, too and thus my activities grew. We are the kernel that began the whole story.

 

My grandmother is…the aunt

My activities slowly expanded and there were more locations and adoptions by the Committee for Soldiers – everywhere in our country. We hold meetings with the soldiers and we help them whenever possible. The Committee gives me all the assistance I require. Of course, the work is not as easy and simple as it was in the past, but I still have my strength. I will not abandon the work. My children are very proud of me. Even my grandchildren call me Aunt instead of Grandma.

“What we are doing now is: I am the aunt of the Air Force, Nahal (army youth group), and border patrol. When I come to an Air Force base I help to furnish the clubhouses, to put curtains in the rooms and provide special articles not usually distributed by the army. We arrange the rooms occupied by the pilots and place a toaster and a refrigerator in the clubhouse. In general, we try to make the life of the soldiers and pilots as pleasant as possible. There are also day cares and playing fields for the children of the soldiers, family clubhouses and an advanced medical clinic. I do whatever I can for them. We also purchase musical instruments and we organize the distribution of board games and newspapers.

“Sometimes I get tired”, says Leah, “But I do not break down. I never considered leaving this position. I cannot live without it. Even when I am resting here, at home, my phone rings. They always need me. Everyone thinks I only exist for them. In essence, I exist for so many…”

(From the “Air Force Bulletin”, year 20, No. 76, May 1968)

 

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