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Most of the farming is collectivized, because socialist Zionists wanted to work the land as intensively as possible, with Jewish labor. The collectives have another advantage: many are stockaded forts, built to protect pioneer settlers from Arab attacks.
The peculiar socialism of the Histadrut and the collective farms does not lead Israel toward Communist sympathies. Quite the contrary. Ben-Gurion's Labor party, which dominates the present coalition government, is consciously but cautiously antiCommunist. To its left stands the United Workers party; in the left wing of this group is a sinister opportunist named Moshe Sneh, who plays the Kremlin's game. As one Israeli punned: "If the Russians ever come to Israel, it will be with Sneh [Yiddish for snow] on their boots."
On Ben-Gurion's right lurks the Irgun, which calls him a dictator because he wants to prevent Irgun from operating a private army. The Irgunists are intense nationalists and "revisionists," which in practical present terms means they are gangsters and expansionists, itching to carry the fight into Arab territory.
"Blow Your Nose." The new nation is further divided by the differing nationalities and social backgrounds of its citizens. Each aliyah had its own characteristics and dreams for the new state. The men of the Second Aliyah are still on top in the government, but in the army and among the people, the sabras (literally: cacti), the native-born, are coming to the fore. Palestinian climate has played a, strange trick on the sabras. They run to the big-boned, blue-eyed, blond athlete type associated with anti-Semitic persecutions.
In other lands the German Jews tend to look upon themselves as the aristocrats of Jewry (although they give precedence to the Sephardic families from Spain and Portugal). In Palestine the recent German aliyah is looked down upon and made the butt of the same kind of joke that German Jews in the U.S. used to hurl at their Russian brethren.
Israel calls the German Jew a yecki (roughly: squarehead), laughs at his naiveté. Many of the yecki are physicians (of that great, devoted band of German-Jewish doctors) and they have a hard time adjusting to the land. Many try chicken farming, going about it in that highly scientific Teuton way which makes the Polish and Russian Israelis guffaw. They say that when one yecki found a sick chicken he sent all the way to India for a serum, inoculated every one of his flock. They tell of a yecki with an old dry cow who asked a Polish Jew to sell it for him. The Pole found a Russian Jew to whom he said: "This is a fine young cow; she gives six liters of milk every day." The yecki, standing by, said: "Well, well, that I didn't know; I'd like to buy her back." To new arrivals the Eastern Jews say: "Did you come here from convictionor from Germany?"
The people of each aliyah may speak their own language for the first two years, after that are expected to switch to Hebrew.* A dead language, a language of scholarship and liturgy for centuries, Hebrew has been revived and made the official language of Israel. In earlier days, some of the old folks were shocked to hear Hebrew used in everyday speech. When a mother scolded, "Little Ittomar, blow your nose," in the tongue of the prophets, oldsters winced.