Page 150 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
144
iads of desperate Jews who needed to be rescued from intol-
erable conditions.
In the course of time his position became more pro-Zionist,
but he never officially affiliated with any one movement. He
explained the gradual shift, first, by his realization that Jews
could not be expected to leave their homes except it be for
Eretz Yisrael, and second, by his recognition that the future of
the entire Jewish people depended upon a strong, viable com-
munity in Eretz Yisrael. The series he published in 1919 en-
titled “The State, Israel, In the Year 2,000,” attests that the
establishment of this society was not merely an essential motif
but an invincible compulsion. Written in a resilient, lyrical prose,
it chronicles an idyllic, utopian society in Eretz Yisrael. The
landscape abounds in serenity, bliss and fellowship. Every one
is motivated by profound idealism and humaneness rooted in
Judaism’s value system. These were the sources which propelled
this dramatic and miraculous resurgence of energies and meta-
morphised the Jewish nation. The intricate coalescence of land
and people led naturally to a fulfillment of that immanent
destiny for which the Jewish nation was created.
Yet, as faithful populist and folkist, he wrote in 1931 a long
series of articles entitled, “I Can No Longer Remain Silent,” in
which he castigated the official Zionist organization. He accused
them of deliberate alienation from the Jewish masses, as evi-
denced by their anti-Yiddish programs and their campaigns to
impose the Sephardic pronunciation of Hebrew despite the fact
that the majority of Jews spoke in the Ashkenazic accent. Zion-
ists ought to return to the original Herzlian ideology and not
limit themselves exclusively to colonization of Eretz Yisrael.
Equally crucial were the overwhelming problems that threatened
the Jews in the Diaspora and cried out for solutions that only
a world-wide, popular movement like Zionism could offer.
Regarding Arab-Jewish relations, Zeitlin urged that all peace-
ful means be tried in order to avoid bloodshed. Jews, Arabs
and the nations of the world must learn that “we do not intend
merely to establish another small, fire-spouting state. Rather,
we mean to create a corner of justice, an island of solace, broth-
erhood, sanctity and purity. We may be required to make
sacrifices for the maintenance of peace with our Arab neigh-
bors, but we must be prepared to demonstrate our peaceful
intentions. We are to take up arms only under extraordinary cir-
cumstances, only after all amicable channels have been exploit-
ed...”4. Zeitlin chided the British Mandatory powers who, by
prohibiting Jewish self-defense, were abetting the Arab brutality
and armed forays. Similarly, he took sharp issue with the official
*Ibid.,
March 13, 1931, p. 4.