Midstream

Magazine focusing on Jewish cultural, social, and political affairs.

Articles from Vol. 54, No. 3, May-June

An Israeli Family History on the Country's 60th Birthday
How can I explain my feelings about my country Israel on the 60th anniversary of its independence? I think if I tell the story of my family in Israel, it will speak for itself. My father's family came to Israel at the beginning of the 20th century...
A Volunteer's Memoir Israel's Three Wars of Independence
Contrary to the general belief, which lumps together into one conflict lasting from 1947 to 1949 all the battles fought by the Zionists to achieve statehood, there were actually three rather distinct Israeli wars of Independence. Begun during the...
"Bomb-Chuckers"
How do you execute the necessary air bombardments during your war of independence when you do not have bomber airplanes? Here is the story of the imaginative ways the emerging Israel Air Force handled this dilemma and some of the interesting characters...
Churchill and Zionism
Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship, by Martin Gilbert. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. 359pp. $30. Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft, by Michael Makovsky. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. 342pp. $35. ...
Congratulations Israel, You Are Going to Be 60
I met you first in 1950--you were an infant. The second time when I visited you in 1951, you had grown in every aspect: physically, emotionally and culturally. One of your great achievements was to open your doors to Jews from all over the world,...
Dialogues in Hell: Zionism and Its Double
The First Zionist Congress in Basel preceded the UN partition of Palestine by fifty years. Almost immediately there were sharp reactions from antisemites of all persuasions who believed that Zionism was part of a world Jewish conspiracy. This was the...
Gold Meir: 1946-1949 Ben-Gurion's "Best Man in the Cabinet"
Theodor Herzl in 1895 must be given the credit for galvanizing Jews into the campaign for a return to the Promised Land, but two other men, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, are the ones generally recognized as being the prime Zionist leaders in...
Herzl's Altneuland: A Jewish Novel?
Of all the pithy sayings about the Jews and their national homeland attributed to Theodor Herzl--for example, "Build your state so that the stranger will feel at ease among you"; "Our movement belongs above all to the poor, for whom we want to prepare...
Israel: Fighting for Survival and Identity at Sixty
Within the limited space available for this exercise, I would like to address this issue on two levels. On the most fundamental level being an Israeli means being a member of an entity that at sixty has yet to fight for its legitimacy and, more...
Israeli Memories: The First Sixty Years
I can't remember a time when Israel was not central to my imagination both as a model for heroism and as a transcendent, miraculous, reality. From childhood on, Zionism was an ever-evolving example of political, theological, historical, and personal...
Laughter and Tears in Israel's Sixty Years of Survival under Constant Duress
REMINISCENCES: Kol Yisrael Chaverim On my visit to Israel in 1968, one year after the Six-Day War, with my wife Sylvia and our two sons, Howie and Eddie, we stood in awe at the back end of the widened plaza in front of the Western Wall. We chatted...
Lost in Translation
"Where a mistake has crept in, it stays," says the Talmud. The Talmud said it in Aramaic, yet the proverb would be equally appropriate in Polish. At least in the case of the mistake that was to dog a certain translation of mine. I had not made the...
Memories of Terror; Memories of Life
I have had the privilege of visiting Israel numerous times over the years. But it was my visit in the summer of 2003 that left the most indelible memories and helped me understand Israel more clearly than any other visit or experience. I traveled...
Menachem Begin Sixty Years Ago
Tel Aviv: October, 1948--A meeting with Menachem Begin is still a journalistic event, even though since the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, he has begun to appear at public meetings. The lustre of his fame as the leader of the...
Moshe Sharett (and David Ben-Gurion); or, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Dove
I was of three minds, Like a tree In which there are three blackbirds. (1) --Wallace Stevens Valedictorian: In Zionist historiography, several photographs taken on May 14, 1948 at the old Tel v Museum of Art have become iconic. In each may be discerned...
New Yorkers Who Fought for the Independence of Zion
It's not every day that you meet a celebrity while walking through Manhattan, but if you chanced to be strolling through midtown in the early summer of 1947, you might have run into boxing champion Barney Ross. Winner of the lightweight, welterweight,...
Notes on the Past Written in the Present
Israel, the first sovereign Jewish State since Judah was ruled by royalty, only--or already--sixty years old? Somehow it doesn't seem possible. But then nothing about Israel's resurrection, three years after the worst catastrophe in Jewish memory,...
The Institution of President of the State of Israel
After much turmoil Israel's Parliament, the Knesset, elected Shimon Peres as Israel's ninth president. The election, and more so, the events that have preceded it, bring to the fore once again the long debate over the office of the presidency in the...
The Ten Commandments in the Book of Deuteronomy: (In Honor of Shavuot)
For a long time it puzzled me that there were two differing versions of the Ten Commandments in the Torah, one in Exodus 20 and a second one in Deuteronomy 5. If the commandments from Mt. Sinai (or Horeb, as it is sometimes called), were written by...