The Battle for Migron

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…Take, for example, the founding of kibbutz Hanita in 1938 along the border with the new Lebanon. In those days the pioneer group then in stealth one night loaded up trucks with equipment and volunteers; who in darkness drove up from Haifa into an area where there were no Jewish communities at all; where overnight they threw up a perimeter and communal hall and began creating a new kibbutz, were seen by others as heroic pioneers, halutzim, for going into what they called the “lion’s throat” by settling among all those hostile Arabs. These Leftist, socialist, idealistic communards thought they had every right to establish that new settlement on barren ground that under the table deals had purchased; and all Zionists in the country at the time, March 1938 applauded and did not think they were stealing land from the Ancient Palestinians, in part because in 1938 only Jews happily used the words “Palestinians” for themselves.

And among the leaders of this group of settlers was a 24 year-old who had been born on a kibbutz but grew up on a moshav, a system of communal living invented by his father, Shmuel Dayan, young Moshe Dayan. And with him was a 21 year-old settler friend by the name of Yigal Alon, future draftsman of the Allon Plan of 1967.

There was a time in this country between the wars when the Zionist Left idealized its settlers. They were the leaders of the yishuv. This was the crème de la crème, and it was this slice of Jewry in Palestine pre-state that Leon Uris idolized in his book Exodus