Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fascinating newsreel of Dimona, 1962

From Point of No Return blog:

Rivka has just arrived with her family from Karachi, Pakistan. They brought only the 30 kg they could take with them. One of 4,000 children now being schooled in Dimona, she sings a song in a mixture of Hebrew and her native tongue. In 2010 Rivka is probably an 'old-timer' with grandchildren in the IDF.

It may look like a Soviet propaganda video, but this clip (Hebrew only, regrettably) by the late film-maker Yaacov Gross, and just released by his son Nathan, is exhilarating to watch. It brings home the enormous hurdles overcome by refugees arriving in Israel in 1962, and the determination they showed to rebuild their lives.

An elderly man in a North African galabiya watches another man unloading sacks of cement. They are building, building, building in Dimona, without let up. Dimona is today a leafy, settled town of 33,000: in 1955 when it was founded, there was literally nothing but Negev sand.

Yet, the video gives a sense that everything is possible with energy and determination. Don't understand the language? You'll learn. Don't have any work skills? You'll learn, and soon you too will be beavering away in Dimona's spanking new workshops and factories, and still find time to twist and jive the night away.

Under the direction of the all-powerful Histadrut, buildings start sprouting 'like mushrooms after the rain', and the wooden huts of the ma'abarot that first housed the new arrivals are soon replaced by apartment blocks. Never mind if yours is unfinished - at least you've got a mattress to sleep on! All you need is patience, brother, patience.
Other videos by Yaacov Gross

The contrast between how the poor immigrant Jews - most of them refugees -  acted in building their country to how Palestinian Arabs have acted between 1948 and now could hardly be starker.

The town of Dimona didn't exist in 1954. It was, quite literally, sand. The energy, effort and enthusiasm of the arriving Jews are what built the town. It was not built by any UN agency; the residents didn't sit back and complain that the world wasn't doing everything for them; they all understood that if something was going to be done then they are the ones to do it. Of course there were problems - but nothing that couldn't be solved with thought, planning and execution. (And, if the video is to be believed, dancing.)

Watch what Dimona turned into in a mere seven years. Contrast that with how the PA has acted within Area A, under PA control for more than twice that time. Has the PA worked to dismantle any of the "refugee" camps in their areas of control over the past decade and a half? Has it built a single new town with the hundreds of millions of dollars that it begs for annually? Has it started any initiatives to recruit Jordanian Palestinians, for example, to move into the West Bank to help build "Palestine"?

When a people want to build a country, they act accordingly. If the "state" they want to build is really, fundamentally meant only to destroy another, they also act accordingly.

(h/t Solomonia)