Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Beginning of Tel Aviv

1

At first, they planned to build summer houses where a person could find rest after the toil of the day, and his wife and sons and daughters could sit in fresh air and not fear trachoma and all the other diseases of the Land, for the Land made its inhabitants sick ever since the first day we were exiled from our Land, with diseases the children catch from their Arab neighbors. Money to buy land and build houses they didn't have. After all, they didn't bring money from Outside the Land, and what a person earns here isn't enough for anything but a modest livelihood. But their heart's desire and their will grew strong. And since they got the idea in their heads, they didn't let go of it. And furthermore, they decided to build themselves a regular neighborhood for all seasons, summer and winter.

About sixty people gathered together and formed a company and called that company Ahuzat Bayit, because every one of them wanted to make himself a house in the Land of our possession. Some wanted to build their neighborhood within the city of Jaffa for their livelihood was in the city and if their houses were far away from the city, they would be weary from the sun in summer and from the rain in winter and far away from social life, for all social life was in the city. Furthermore, a settlement outside the city is far from the foreign consuls and there is danger in that. And some said, No, on the contrary, we'll build ourselves a special quarter outside the city, and we'll build ourselves fine houses, and in front of every house we'll plant ourselves a little garden and we'll make ourselves straight, broad streets, and we'll make our spirit, the pure spirit of Israel, prevail in that place. And when we achieve that, we'll make ourselves a kind of

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