ISRAEL: The Watchman

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But how can the Jews now come to terms with the Arab world whose insecure leaders do not dare cross up the people they have inflamed against Israel? The Jews' hopes of a deal are pinned on Abdullah of Transjordan, whose British paid and trained Arab Legion bolsters up his position as Arab spokesman and leaves him free to compromise. Ironically, it is the British subsidy to Abdullah (against which the Zionists rail) that offers the best chance of attaining the understanding with the Arabs essential to Israel's future peace and commerce.

Need for a Talent. If the Israel issue plunges the Arab world into further chaos and thus gives the Russians a chance to gain influence with the Arab mobs, World War III becomes much nearer. Ben-Gurion, for one, has little hope that Israel would survive such a war. "We would be crushed," he says simply.

Israelis who do not understand the danger of too much success are impatient at British and U.S. concern for Arab friendship. They shout "Oil!" as if nothing but profits were involved. The same oil, which the Arabs can shut off, is an essential part of the world's hope of recovery; without that recovery, the dream of Israel as a prosperous trading nation cannot come true. The same oil is an essential part of the defense of the West. Without that defense Israel, a democratic state, is lost.

So the Israeli political position is a highly delicate one. They may resist Abdullah—but must be sure not to crush him. They may beg the U.S. for help—but must be sure that help does not hopelessly alienate the Arabs. They may snarl at the British, but must remember that the British want essentially what Israel has to have—stability in the Middle East.

In their long and brilliant history the Jews have displayed great genius for religion, ethics, husbandry, commerce, literature, music and art. The one skill they have never shown as a people is a talent for politics. That is the talent they need now. Perhaps the Israeli has it.

* For six years (166-160 B.C.) he led pious Jews in rebellion against the Greeks, who had dedicated the temple in Jerusalem to the worship of Olympian Zeus and sacrificed pigs on the altar. Three centuries later the Jewish hero Bar Kochba led a less successful three-year rebellion against the Romans, briefly set himself up as king in Jerusalem.

† Last week Dr. Weizmann, who has been named first President of Israel, was in Switzerland. Ailing and suffering from an eye disease, he has not yet been to Israel since it became a state.

*Not to be confused with Yiddish, which is Low German mixed with Hebrew and Slav words, written in Hebrew characters.

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