Robert Kennedy on Israel

Today, we are introducing a new contributing RP to The Recovering Politician, former U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

OK, maybe Bobby Kennedy is not a new contributor.  Although his daughter, Kathleen, occasionally writes for this site.  

But we are proud to post articles that were published in the Boston Post after Kennedy’s March 1948 visit to the Middle East, with thanks to Isra.li.

Jews Have a Fine Fighting Force

 
Make Up for Lack of Arms with Undying Spirit,
Unparalleld Courage — Impress the World
By Robert Kennedy, June 4, 1948


The Jewish people in Palestine who believe in and have been working toward this national state have become an immensely proud and determined people. It is already a truly great modern example of the birth of a nation with the primary ingredients of dignity and self-respect.
Malca and her family to me are the personification of that determination. She is a young girl of the age of 23 and her husband and four brothers are members of the Haganah. She herself is with the intelligence corps and worked on the average of 15 hours a day, which evidently was not unusual. She had seen and felt much horror and told me the story of a case she had just handled.
A Jewish girl in her teens was picked up by some members of the Haganah on the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and, as she was injured, she was taken to the Hebrew Hospital in Jerusalem. They believed that she had somehow been separated from a Jewish convoy which had just gone through and which had had a scrap with the Arabs.
She was particularly noticed because of the strange people who were her visitors and by the fact that she insisted on being moved to the English hospital. Malca was sent to question her. She was turned away gruffly by the girl after the girl admitted that she had in reality been in a British tank with a boy friend and wanted nothing to do with the Jews.
The Jewish Agency offered to send the girl out on a farm in order to let her regain her health and give her a new start, but she just demanded her release which they were forced to give her. She continued consorting with the British police despite warnings from the Stern gang.
Brother Shoots Sister
One night the Stern gang followed the tactics of the underground forces in the last war. They shaved all the hair off the girl’s head. Two days after Malca told me the story the sequel took place. The girl’s brother returned for leave from duty with the Haganah up in Galilee and, finding her in such a state, shot her.
Malca’s youngest brother is only 13, but every night he takes up his post as a sentry with the Haganah at a small place outside of Jerusalem.

His mother and father wait up every night until midnight for him and his older brother, 15, to return home. The other two brothers, both younger than Malca, give full time duty with combat troops.
An understanding of the institutions it contains, and of the persons that run these institutions, is most important if one would make up one’s mind as to the worth of this “de facto” Jewish state.
 
I visited and inspected a community farm through the kindness of a Jew who 40 years ago was in Boston making speeches for my grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, when he was a candidate for congress. A third of the agricultural population live in such community farms which were set up originally to help newly-arrived refugees who had no money or prospects.
They are in reality self-sustaining States with a State and all the people in common undergo arduous toll and labor and make great sacrifices in order that their children might become heir to a home. An example of this is that when a child is one year old he is placed in a common nursery, with the result that all but the sick and infirm are able to devote their talents to the common cause. They get paid nothing for they need no money. Everything is financed by a group of elected overseers who get their money by selling what the farms produce. In our country we shrink from such tactics but in that country their very lives depend upon them.
The whole thing is done on a volunteer bases and one may leave the farm with this proportionate share of wealth at any time he chooses.
Jewish forces

The one we visited was a Givat Brenner and, although no one paid attention to the firing going on in the plain below, one could see all around preparations being undertaken for the coming fight.

I talked to members of the underground organization Irgun. They were responsible for the King David Hotel disaster and told me proudly that they were responsible for blowing up the Cairo Haifa train which had just taken place with the loss of 50 British soldiers.
 

Click here to read the rest of the series from Isra.li.

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