Page 51 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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S
p iceh an d ler
— I
sr a e l i
N
o v e l ist s
4 5
One can hardly do fu ll justice to Yeme Ziklag in a survey
article. Marking as it does the artistic high-point of the Sabra
novel, it merits a more detailed analysis.
Before concluding, I should like to call attention to a redeem­
ing feature that underpins a ll this literature. The pessimism of
Israel’s angry young men is never as intense as that of their
British counterparts, nor does it ever approach the nihilistic
abandon of America’s “beat generation.” A lthough the Israeli
authors are incensed at the society in which they live and reject
the ideologies it fosters, they have not completely abandoned
the quest fo r meaning in life. W h ile at times they might take
refuge in sex and music, that is, in sensual experience, they
still look for something more profound:
“W hat we are doing does not rea lly touch the bottom of our
souls. Boredom runs along the whole line. And our eyes are too
open and we are much too settled. W ha t do 1 envy? I envy the
naive life . . . I think i t ’s that absence of a rea lly burning faith
in anything . . . this doing w ithout fa ith !”
Whether modern man, or the modern Israeli, can reformulate
his past in such a way as to find this burning faith is, of course,
the problem of our generation. The quest, as Yizhar says, may
have to be through the pathway of sacrifice and death; but the
answer i f found might assuage the suffering imposed by the
repeated akedah of modern man.