Part I, June 29 – July 28


Introduction:  In 1953, at the age of 19, when I was a student at University College London, but still living at home, I spent my entire 3-month summer vacation on a first visit to the new State of Israel (which had been independent since 1948.) The journey each way was by land and sea.  For convenience and economy, I went with a group of Jewish students as part of what was called the “Summer Institute,” which was largely financed by Zionist organizations.  But I spent much of my time in Israel travelling about the country on my own.  I had had a Jewish upbringing, but had no strong Zionist feelings. What follows is an exact transcript of my diary, hand-written at the time. I have Americanized some of the spelling. My own present-day comments and explanations are in square brackets.


Monday, June 29, 1953.

My holiday and journey to Israel has started off badly, with a day of most tiresome travelling, by bus, ship, and train, of which the most unpleasant part came at the end.  I am writing now on the train going south from Paris towards Marseilles.  It is 10 PM.  We left Paris at 9:25.


My departure from home early this morning was, as always, with Mummy pressing me with last-minute instructions, assisting my packing like an over-helpful valet, Daddy hanging around, trying to think of anything to say.  As usual, I was in a rather ill humour, and Mummy started crying at the last minute.


When I got up at 6 AM, I telephoned Edgware Post Office, in the last hope that my camera. from Aunty Gert [in Toronto]  might have arrived.  But no luck, and I have my “Ensign” with me, but I have not used it yet.  I had more luggage this time than usual, for, besides my rucksack, which is extremely heavy, I was carrying separately a full shoulder-bag and a pith helmet, which must count as luggage.  This pith helmet is one of the 2 which Brian Richmond and I bought in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. in August 1951.  But it was the one that Brian, not I, wore.  When we returned home in September of that year, Brian made the mistake of attaching his helmet to his rucksack when the luggage was loaded onto the plane.  In consequence, he next saw it badly squashed.  As he had already dirtied it, he decided, when we landed at Prestwick, to abandon it.  I however thought it could still be made serviceable, and tried to persuade him not to do so, but he would not change his mind, so I took over his helmet and brought it home with me.  My own helmet was fortunately in good condition.  In time, the crushed one gradually resumed its shape, and I decided to take it with me rather than the other, as I would not so much mind if I lost or damaged it.   I managed to clean it up quite well with soap and water.


I was supposed  to be at Victoria Station at 8 AM, but got delayed at home through such things as clearing up my room, and didn’t get there until 8:30.  Many parents had come to see their children off, but I was not sorry I had left mine at home.  There were a variety of costumes, one girl wearing jeans and a big straw hat.


Our “leader” Sam Sherwin and coldly-efficient-looking courier Miss Matthews (whom I am now pretty sure is Jewish after all) were there.  Sam is a dark-complexioned healthy smiling boy.


Our train left about 9 AM for Folkestone, & I sat near a boy named Allan Braverman, who comes from Hendon, and a boy & girl who are I think training to be teachers.  There are people in this British group from Ireland, Scotland, & many parts of England.  On this ride I played a game of pocket chess (my set) with Allan & won.


We were at Folkestone at 10:42, and there were the usual bothersome passport & customs formalities.  On the train, Cynthia Reiss (see yesterday) and I had met another girl who was in our year at Hendon County School – Ann Harding – who was on her way to Spain.  I felt pleased to be able to say for the first time “We’re going to Israel.”  I heard several people in our party say it was hard even now to believe that they were really on their way to Israel.  Cynthia and Ann were both in my French class with Miss Davis, so this meeting was quite a co-incidence.


The weather was fine, and our crossing to Boulogne in the “Maid of Orleans” calm and relatively pleasant.  It was my 4th west-east Channel crossing.


Although I have travelled thousands of miles hitch-hiking in France, I was now about to take my first train-ride there.  There was an attractive new terminus at Boulogne.  This ride was to take us to Paris, where we would have to change to another station for Marseilles.  It took 3 ¼ hours, & was a tedious journey.  Somehow, travelling this way I could not be interested in France and the French as of yore.  Our reserved train seats were not very comfortable.  I sat opposite Cynthia Reiss.  The train made several stops, & our carriage grew very crowded.  The main feature of this journey was an unsolicited concert given to our carriage by a big balding Frenchman who I think was once a professional singer.  He had stocks of sheet-music with him, and sang mostly old popular songs in a loud and resonant voice, recalling also some songs he remembered from the 1914-18 war. At first we applauded him, but he continued long after we had grown tired of him.


At long last at 5 PM we reached the Gare du Nord in Paris, where we had to transfer on a coach to take us to the Gare de Lyon.  This was very tiresome, because the luggage had to be put onto a separate lorry.  The weather was hot on this my 4th short visit to Paris.  I would agree with other people that Paris has a peculiar “atmosphere” about it, but it is on the whole not one that I like.  There is certainly a definite smell in the streets, a mixture I think of wine and fruit and smoke.  The rushing is much more wild than in London.  There is honking always, and it is a perilous adventure to try to cross a busy road.


    Our coach ride from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon was I think the most pleasant part of the day’s journey.  Alan and I had good front seats up beside the driver, with a splendid view of the bustle of Paris.  There were a microphone and loudspeaker at the front, which I tried to make use of unsuccessfully.  This ride was all too short.


Miss Mathews was still with us at the Gare de Lyon.  The arrangement was that all our luggage was piled in one place.  We then had about 2 ½ hours to do whatever we wanted.  I had a map of Paris which a girl had lent me, and decided I would like to take a walk to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which I had never yet seen.  I tried but failed to get someone to come with me, so started out alone down to the Seine, eating sandwiches and buying an ice cream on the way.  It was quite a pleasant walk that I took along the Seine (with a view of the down-and-outs lying on sacks beside the river) then around the Ile de St. Louis to the City Island, around Notre Dame, and along past the many bookstalls on the other side of the river.  I remembered a children’s poem which says

“Oh London is a man’s town, there’s power in the air,

And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in her hair.”

It struck me, seeing so many young couples, that people fall in love in spite of London, but because of Paris.


The Gare de Lyons typified the madhouse atmosphere of Paris, and the way we began our journey to Marseilles was like a scene from Hell.  Add to the heat, the weight of the luggage, a long grueling walk to the train carriage, a narrow train corridor, with people able to move only one way, and an argument in the first compartment about the reservations, and some idea of the situation will be given.  But there was worse to follow; for our train was soon to move off, and all the luggage had yet to be got on.  What caused the confusion, and how it got sorted out I will never know.  Somehow the luggage was got on board.   Somehow I found myself in a compartment.  And that, for the moment, was all that mattered.  When things were eventually sorted out, it transpired that there were only 7 people – 5 boys and 2 girls – in my compartment, although there was room for 8 – which of course was all for the better.  Luggage had been piled in so hastily that our racks were packed to overflowing.


And now the dreaded overnight journey to Marseilles began.  At first I felt absolutely all-in, but I saved myself by going into the washroom, and washing down the complete upper half of my body.  That made me feel much cooler and less agitated.  Indeed, I think I was the only person in my compartment henceforth not troubled with thirst.  Sitting on my left was Herbert Marx from Manchester.  On my right was a young man from Dublin.  Soon a “minyan” [the minimum number of 10 required for a formal Jewish prayer service] was assembled in an adjoining compartment for evening prayers, and I was surprised at how seriously so many people went about it.  Of course, I took no part.  I played 2 games of chess with Herbert Marx, won one & lost one.  The others were busy playing cards or reading.  But of course things could not go on like this.  I must think of sleeping, or trying to get some sleep.  The seats were so arranged that everyone had somewhere to rest their heads on the side, though by no means a comfortable place.  I made a kind of pillow out of my jacket, and this improved my situation a little.  But I knew that it would be very unlikely for me to fall asleep.


Tuesday, June 30, 1953

There was one further miserable factor which I had not reckoned on.  I had felt confident that the nasal trouble I had lately been experiencing, especially difficulty of  breathing, would disappear as soon as I left home. But this, alas, was not the case, & it seems to have become almost worse.  It is particularly bad when I am trying to get to sleep.  There are long periods when my nasal passages are completely blocked.  Blowing does no good at all, but I have to keep blowing until my ear-drums begin to squeak.  What misery is this!  And besides, my boils seem also to be still with me, and a particular spot on my neck has been giving me much pain, but I have not even been able to look at it, because I have no mirror, & there has been none accessible to me.


But despite all these troubles, plus the train-soot flying in through the window, plus the atmosphere in the compartment full of cigarette smoke which I hate, I did somehow fall asleep for one or 2 short whiles.  Probably they did not amount to more than 1 ½ hours.  By 4:30 it was dawn, & we were all up & awake again.  I had another good wash.  We were coming down to the warm south once more, but I felt not the slightest joy.  All I really wanted to do was to get to Marseilles and onto the boat, and into bed.  But after we reached Marseilles at 7:44, things went from bad to worse.  For, tired as we were, we had to wait around some time with our luggage in the St. Charles Station (whence I sent home a postcard) before getting into a bus which drove us to a café-restaurant called Fischers.  Mr. Richtiger, the head of Isra-Tours, had boasted to us that if there was any reliable link in his tour service, it was at Marseilles.  But here the organization seemed to fall down.  A man named George was I think supposed to have met us at the station.  But he did not show up until we had been some time at Fischers.  Sam Sherwin, our “leader,” by now looking very harassed, was I think under the impression that this place was Kosher.  But George said that it definitely was not kosher.  Since the boat was not to sail until about 7 PM, and we would not even be allowed on board until 3 PM (with no hope of a meal until 7)  the question arose about our meals til then.  But there was evidently no arrangement about this at all.


Poor Sam had to negotiate with the restaurant proprietor about getting us a lunch, and also to deal with people who did not want the lunch, or who kept changing their minds.  But worst of all, the prices at this place were shockingly high.  For a glass of milk, one roll, & some butter, which I had it cost the equivalent of 2/6.  And the price of the lunch Sam negotiated for us was the equivalent of 8/-!  And of course all this was extra to the inclusive price we had already paid.  I felt particularly bad about the prices, as we had already all been made to pay on the railway over 2/- in tips.  But still I decided to have the lunch.


Until then there were 3 hours to spare, and I went out walking around the town & harbor with 2 of the boys (one from my college) whose sole subject of conversation seemed to be women, in the vulgar sense.  Eventually I left them and, feeling very miserable, sat on some church steps to write these words up to here.


(Continuing now at 8:15 PM, on board the “Jerusalem.”)  When I arrived back at the restaurant at noon, I was surprised to find that only one other person from our party – the girl science teacher from Cambridge – had come for lunch, although the proprietors had prepared a table for 16 people.  Even Sam was not there, and we were very mystified as to what had happened to everyone.  I never did understand the situation completely, but the trouble seems to have been that many people who had not told Sam that they did not want the restaurant meal had in fact eaten elsewhere.  About 12:30 they began arriving at the restaurant, asking if we had enjoyed our lunch – which we had not even started yet.  A further complication was introduced by the fact that some people from other countries – Denmark, Holland, & the U.S.A. – who were travelling with us on our boat, now began arriving at the restaurant.  Some of them decided to have lunch with us.  Then, about 1 PM, Sam arrived with George, the young Frenchman in whose organizing ability Mr. Richtiger, the head of Isra-tours, had expressed such confidence.


Sam, for a minute I think, grew very angry when he learned what had happened, and George looked horrified, holding his hand to his mouth.  I thought for a moment that there was going to be some interesting sort of “scene.”  But soon somehow everyone was calmed down, and I think it eventually transpired that 9 of the lunches which had been ordered but not taken, had to be paid for at a total of 1800 francs.  I don’t know who paid that.  My own meal was the most expensive one I have ever paid for, amounting to510 francs, over 10 shillings.  It consisted of salad (of which I had only a little egg, a single egg omlette, a rather tough steak and potatoes, 2 peaches, some bread, and a whole large bottle of lemonade.  Of course I hated to pay such a high price, but it is not really high by French standards.


But the day’s troubles were by no means over. We were now all taken by coach to the dock where our ship, the 2-funnelled  Shoham liner “Jerusalem,” was waiting..  I was still not feeling happily, but recalled with satisfaction how, about 11 months ago, riding around the harbor of Amsterdam, I had regarded the great ships lying at anchor, and practically vowed to myself that my next holiday would include a sea voyage.  We were supposed to get onto the ship at 3PM. In fact, we did not board until after 4:30.  There was a protracted period of waiting in the customs shed while our luggage was slowly cleared by porters, and we were even more slowly furnished with “accommodation tickets” by the passport office.  I was feeling so tired that sitting on a suitcase I almost fell asleep.  But I did take one photograph of part of our party & the ship.


At long last we were allowed onto the ship, & I was disappointed to find how dirty & smelly much of it was.  But the greatest disappointment was our accommodation.  My dormitory, “G,” contains so many bunks that there is scarcely room for luggage or walking.


My main concern now was to get to sleep.  The fact that this was an Israeli ship with a Jewish crew, the thought of the journey ahead, and of the goal, had little emotional effect on me, & I was too tired to care about anything.  I had a hasty cake and cup of tea in a dining room where tea was being served.  I then went right back to my bunk, and was soon asleep.


The next thing I knew it was 6 PM and Sam was waking me up.  He said I did not look very well.  I did not feel well either, but I assured him there was nothing to worry about.  My greatest oppression at the moment was the boil on my neck, on the left side under the jaw, which was now giving much pain.


I made my way to the dining room.  Everyone had taken places already, and I was too late to get near anyone I knew.  So I had to sit at a table with 3 men whom I did not know, & who were speaking Yiddish to each other.  But I did not feel like talking to them.  It seemed a very long time before the first course, soup, was served.  Also there was bread & lettuce, then good meat, potatoes & carrots, and for dessert a sort of ice-cream which I think however contained no cream.


I was disappointed that it was during this meal that we set sail from Marseilles.  I would have liked very much to stand then on the deck.  After the meal, I went to a washroom, & tried to burst the boil.  I succeeded in relieving it a little.  I came up on deck, where I have been sitting to write this.  Here everything is delightful.  The ship makes hardly a sound.  There is a lovely warm breeze, & we have been passing by rocky islands of the French coast.  The sunset was lovely, & the sea is calm.  This is my pleasantest moment since leaving home.  But soon it will be dark, & I must retire again to bed.  The time is now 9 PM.


Wednesday, July 1st, 1953

I take up my pen to write at 3:35 PM.  I am at sea in the Mediterranean – (or, to be exact, the Tyrrhenian Sea) and am reclining in strong sunlight in a most comfortable padded deck chair, on the First-Class deck of the “Jerusalem,” and feeling very lazy and a little sleepy.  No one has yet come here to turn me off, and it is fortunate, for the other decks are very crowded, and I am very glad to be alone.


So I am on my long-awaited Mediterranean cruise, and I have some good things to report, and some bad.  My fellow-passengers are a very mixed lot.  Besides the British Summer Institute party, numbering some 30 odd, of which I am a member, there is also an American party of over 70, which includes about 10 Canadians.  But we all number only a small part of the complement of the [Zim line] ship, which I think can carry about 500 passengers (but this may be wrong.)  Then there are a number of immigrants going to settle in Israel.  I don’t know how many there are, or where they come from (though I think they are mostly from North Africa) but they seem to be of a very low class, at least those I have seen.  There are many children with them and I have heard of the children relieving themselves in the corridors.  They are all very noisy and untidy.  Many of them are in the dormitories near mine, and it was they who woke me up very early this morning.  I was woken at 6 AM, but some of my companions were disturbed even earlier by the constant shouting and talking, and especially the babies crying.  In our dormitory, we can hear sounds from many parts of the ship.  We have no porthole, and for some reason much of the ventilation was cut off during the night.  Fortunately I had got to bed early, at 9 PM, & slept soundly.  But I was the first in bed, and some of the others got much less sleep.  Now it is about 4 PM, & I am going down to the dining room for tea.


(5 PM)  Besides us and the immigrants, there are also many other passengers, who seem mostly American, & some French.  The crew are, I think, all Israelis, and it is on board this ship that I am seeing and hearing Hebrew as a living language for the first time.  The ship is I think about 30 years old, and seems to have been originally Italian.  Even for us, as denizens of the dormitories, there are amenities like sinks, showers, and even a tiny swimming pool on one of the decks.  But things are of a low general standard, e.g. some of the lavatories have no locks, the showers have no curtains.  There is a loudspeaker system on the ship, but it is from many places difficult or impossible  to hear.


(6:10 PM)  We have our meals in a small crowded dining room with only a few portholes.  But the food itself is of a very high standard.  For breakfast this morning (at 7:30) there were rolls & plenty of butter, sardines, jam, tea, boiled eggs, & some other things which I can’t remember or didn’t like.  The service is rather slow.  Lunch, it was announced, would be at 1 PM, but it seems there was a later announcement which I didn’t hear saying it was at 12:30.  When I got in the dining room at one, most people had finished, but there were some others who had not heard the second announcement.  We were served, but I think we were given less than we would have had, and I was still hungry after the meal.  This sea travel gives me a very good appetite.


At 10 AM there was a meeting of all the Summer Institute people on the prow deck, at which we were addressed by the Israeli man who seems to be our shipboard organizer.   He announced plans for the next few days, & also gave some details of our stay in Israel.  We will not be going to Elath or to the Red Sea. [Dead Sea?]  This is a slight disappointment to me, but on the whole the Institute seems to have a very comprehensive program.


The weather is of course perfect, and, with the aid of the suntan cream I brought with me, I have soon acquired a tan on parts of my legs and arms.  I am wearing shorts and plimsolls [“tennis shoes.”]  The ship goes very smoothly.  For lunch I had meat and spaghetti, bread and an orange.


We are travelling between Marseilles and Naples, and today we passed through the straits between Corsica and Sardinia.  I think we will reach Naples about 11 PM, and depart tomorrow.  We will not be allowed to go on shore, but from my memories of Naples, I am not sorry!  Corsica and Sardinia we saw only from a distance.


Moshe Sharett, the Israeli Foreign Minister is, I have learned, a passenger on board, but I have not seen him yet.  I have made slight acquaintance with several people, but so far do not feel I have made a real friend.  This morning I played 3 games of chess on deck with a boy named Walter from Springfield Missouri.  We each won a game, and one was a draw. I have met a Harold from North Carolina, & had conversations with several of the British party.  But at the best of times I have not been a pleasant person, because since leaving home (and before) my health has not been good. My hay fever & nasal congestion seems now almost completely gone, & I have hardly had to blow my nose at all today. But the boil on my neck has reached the stage of acute pain.  I tried to remove the core several times, without success.  At 4:30 I went to the ship’s infirmary, where there were a doctor and 2 nurses speaking Hebrew.  I hoped they might try to get the core out, but the nurse just put on some iodine, some cream, & a bandage.  By tomorrow I hope to be free of this pain.  [I had repeatedly been having boils, & knew they eventually  burst.]I was surprised to notice, next-door to the infirmary, a padded cell!


At 5 PM there was an Institute meeting on one of the decks, for communal singing.  Song sheets were passed out, & all the songs were Hebrew. I knew none of them, but all the other people appeared to know at least some.  The songs were taught & led by some enthusiastic American girls.


Sam Sherwin, our leader, always has a smile & a kind word for everyone;  but today he told me that he has had an ulcer since he was 11.  He says he knows it comes from worrying, but says it must be subconscious worry, because he always tries to be bright and cheerful.  One girl who knows him surprised me by telling me that this is Sam’s first time abroad!  I don’t know how he got his position as leader, or whether he gets any reward for it.  After this morning’s meeting, the American & British groups had to elect representatives for a committee.  Needless to say, I was not nominated.


There is to be a “Farewell Party” on Saturday evening, & volunteers were invited to supply entertainment.  I felt sorry that I had no talent which I could display.


Today I finished reading the Book of Judges from the Bible.


Our dinner this evening included liver, very tender, very well-cooked, and in large portions.  In fact, I bitterly regretted that my plate had been cleared away just before a waiter came around offering second portions.  Besides the liver, there was soup, sauerkraut (which I didn’t have), potatoes and a rice-fruit pudding.

For the occupants of my cabin G, Sam had good new this evening.  Some of us had complained to him about the conditions, & he had taken our case to the Chief Steward.  Thank goodness, he had managed to get us transferred to Cabin L, where there are 3 portholes and more space to move around.  In G there had been only British people, but now in L there are Americans as well, of which I am also glad.


At 9 PM there is to be a film show, “The Juggler,” which, though American, is I think the first feature film made in Israel.  This evening I have sat on the prow deck and watched the sun go down, which was for me a very rare and beautiful sight.  I was surprised how quickly it sank below the horizon.  At sunset the water changes its whole character, and looks almost white.  It is almost incredibly beautiful.


Thursday, July 2 1953

(3:40 PM)  The film shown last night did not start until about 9:45, & did not end until after midnight.  Before it started, I went about the ship with 2 of my new cabin-mates, Howard from North Carolina, who has a broad southern drawl, and Bob from Vancouver Canada.  They took me to a bar, & bought a bottle of wine, but I declined to have any, though they tried hard to persuade me.  Then they got out some cards, & taught me to play Casino, which, as it happened , I won.


Then we went down to the show, which was in a dining room, & I think only for dormitory & tourist-class passengers.  First there was a short propaganda picture about the Arab-Israeli war, which was interesting to me, for, though I have now read much about it, I have seen few still pictures & no movies about it. The major picture, “The Juggler,” was a new American feature film made in Israel.  It starred Kirk Douglas, who is, I think, of Jewish descent, & all the actors were Jewish, though some did not look it.  It was for me a very enjoyable  & interesting film, especially in what it showed of life in Israel – but the story was slightly incredible.  It concerned a new lone immigrant to Israel, who before the war was a great German stage juggler.  But his concentration camp days have left him a fear of police and confinement.  He hates the wired-in immigrants’ camp, which to him is just another in a long series of camps, & he runs away from it.  In Haifa, where a policeman apprehends him, he bodily injures the policeman, & then becomes a fugitive, wandering over the country.  He befriends a young Sabra orphan boy, who travels with him, & whom he teaches to juggle.   They come eventually to an isolated kibbutz, where the boy is injured by a mine.  Meanwhile the Police trail is closing in. The juggler soon makes himself at home in the kibbutz, and falls in love with a girl there.  She persuades him not to leave.  The Police finally arrive while he is giving a juggling performance for the kibbutz children.  He at first prepares to make a stand with a rifle, but in the end breaks down and gives himself up.  All the time, he has been denying that he was mentally unwell, but now in the last scene he confesses that he is a sick man.


I particularly liked this picture for the glimpses it gave of immigrants landing and being received (some of them shaking hands with the first person they see), of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Galilee and Kibbutz life.

(5 PM)  But I was very sorry to be going to bed so late, for I knew there would be no chance of sleeping late in the morning, and anyway I did not want to miss breakfast at 7:30. But, though I did not get to bed until after midnight, I was the first in bed by a long way.  Had I gone to bed earlier, I would have been asleep by the time the others came in.  But now I had to endure the long misery of waiting for everyone to stop talking and turn out the lights.  It did not help much that I covered my head with a sheet.  They went on and on talking.  It must have been about 1 AM by the time I got to sleep, but some people did not come in until 2 or 3.I woke up about 7:15, but, as yesterday, still had time for a shower  before breakfast.  Breakfast was the same as yesterday.  It included sardines, tomatoes, cheese, and olives. 


(6:20 PM)  I have had more conversations today, particularly at lunch with the Irishman, and in our cabin with a man from Amsterdam.  The former is pretty orthodox, & knows much about Hebrew literature.  He is an enthusiastic talker, & told me much about Bialik the Hebrew poet.  He has been to Israel once before.  (Walter yesterday told me he had watched the people come aboard, & had seen a woman immigrant put protestingly ashore because she was pregnant, & might have a baby on the ship.)  The Dutchman had terrible things to tell about his wartime experiences, how he was forced to go to Jew-school, of which he somehow became the only survivor, how his whole family was sent to concentration camps, from which his father and brothers did not return, how he had tried to escape from his camp during an air-raid and was shot with 5 bullets, how he was fortunately sent to a hospital, and then transferred to another, where the Dutch staff pretended to the Germans that he had died.  He was still in hospital at the liberation, and now works in a bank in Amsterdam.  His bank gave him 3 months leave, with half-pay I think, to make the trip


(7:15 PM.)  I am sitting now in a strong breeze at the very front end of the ship, and ahead, grey and mysterious, I can see the volcanic island of Stromboli rising from sea.  It is just a single flat-topped cone. There is a little smoke around the crater. Behind me, to the right, the sun is setting.


I played some more chess today, beat a French boy, but lost to Walter.  But I make it a point to stay out on the deck as much as possible, both because I like the sun, sea, and air for their own sake, and because I dislike the smoky stuffy noisy atmosphere indoors.


My health is still not perfect, but my boil is better than yesterday, & the core came out.  But there is a lump under my chin nearby where I believe there is a swollen gland caused by the boil.  So the area is still painful to the touch, but when left undisturbed it now troubles me little.


Lunch was again a very good meal, with double portions of a white tender meat, potatoes, greens, soup, and plums.  For dinner, however, there was hardly anything I liked – salad, cheese, some fishy mixture, some fruity mixture, milk, & tea.  I had to fill up on rolls & butter.


It is now 7:45, & we are almost opposite Stromboli.  Once for a second I saw a slight red glow at the crater.  There seems to be a little town at the foot of the mountain, and there is a rock with a light flashing on & off.  The sight of this lone mass rising from the sea is at once grim & beautiful.  I have just sung “Santa Lucia.”


This morning I attended my first Hebrew lesson in many years.  It has been arranged that everyone is to attend a daily lesson either at beginning, intermediate, or advanced level, but the standard is not high.  Our teachers are members of the Institute who can speak Hebrew.  I think they are all Americans.  Mine was a plump young man who slowly and patiently gave us a start on vocabulary, with some simple food words and phrases like “I want,” “he has” etc.  I have written down much, but so far remembered little.  After this in the lounge there were some sort of optional study classes we could attend on Hebrew Literature or Bible structure.  I chose the latter.  Our teacher was, I later learned, an  American rabbi, but he seemed very unlike rabbis to me.  Perhaps it was his broad drawling American accent that deceived me.


(It is 8:05 PM & I have come indoors now because it is too dark to write on deck.)  This Bible Structure was interesting to me, because it was only lately that I have taken a real interest in the Bible.  The teacher fortunately started right from fundamentals, explaining how the Bible was divided into 3 main parts:  the Pentateuch (Torah), Prophets, and Holy Writings, and how the Prophets were divided into early and later, and the later into major and minor, depending not on their intrinsic merit, but on the relative length of the surviving works.


At about 8:30 this morning, we docked in Naples, but stayed only about 3 hours, and couldn’t go ashore.  From the dock we could not see much of the Bay (Vesuvius was out of sight)  but in the distance could see much of the town, rising to its hill.  Nearby there was what looked like an old castle at the water’s edge, and an American ship was anchored not far off.   In the harbor, men were rowing about, whose job evidently it was to scoop floating garbage out of the water into their boats.  I regretted that I was attending lessons during our departure from Naples, & so saw very little of the Italian coast, & not even Vesuvius, which I climbed last year.


New passengers came on board at Naples, including some very Orthodox-looking men, with long beards, wearing dark clothes and large black hats.  I am not at all sure about who in our party is Orthodox, & who is not, but many of the boys wear skull-caps at meals, and seem to attend the synagogue services.  It is hard to realize that almost every single person on this ship, passengers and crew alike, is a Jew.  But even English conversations are permeated with Yiddishisms like “schlep.”


Today I saw Moshe Sharret, the Israeli Foreign Minister, who is a passenger on board, for the first time.  He is a dark, undistinguished looking man with glasses and a moustache.  As it happened, I was sitting in his deck-chair, which I had moved into the sun, on the first-class deck.  A steward asked me to move.  Sam, our leader, spoke to him, & received from him a copy of The Times which contained cricket scores.  At tea Sam announced that England had drawn in the second test match against Australia, and at this there was loud cheering from the English party, who thought England had lost.  They cheered also as the detailed individual scores were read out.


Before supper there was another meeting of the Summer Institute people on one of the decks, at which our Israeli organizer gave us some general advice about our stay in Israel, eg that we should not draw hasty conclusions from the opinions of individuals we might happen to meet in the street, but should try as much as possible to see and talk to people at their home and work.  He then gave us a lot of information & answered questions about such things as currency, communications, postage, and accommodation in Israel, warning us about such things as letting strangers have our passports, or straying across an Arab border.  Somehow he made everything sound very serious and difficult.  My spirit on this journey has so far not once approached that of a normal hitch-hiking holiday when I feel at one with the world.


At 9:30 this evening I understand the Institute is putting on some celebration to commemorate the death of Herzl, the first Zionist leader.


Friday, July 3, 1953

(3:15 PM)  My shipboard days are now acquiring a certain routine.  Every morning I have a pleasant shower.  I spend several hours every day on deck in the sun.  I am very inactive, but always have a good appetite for meals. I would be quite content to spend the whole summer like this, if only a few inconveniences could be removed.  Sleeping is still my biggest difficulty.  I never get more than 8 hours sleep.  Last night I went to bed about 11 PM. I was woken up by voices & thought it was morning.  But it was only 2 AM.  Most of my cabin-mates were just going to bed.  But their noise kept me awake & miserable for about an hour.  I slept however until about 8 AM, though most of the others stayed in bed much later & missed breakfast.


At 9:30 last night on one of the decks, some members of the Summer Institute put on a short show to commemorate Herzl-Bialik Day (I think) celebrating the memory of the great Zionist and the great poet.  It consisted of what I think were dances symbolic of these men’s achievements (eg Herzl appealing to the leaders of different countries) linked by a short narrative spoken by different people


At about 10:45 last night we entered the Straits of Messina.  I stood for a long time on the ship’s prow, watching the long lines of lights on the Italian and Sicilian shores grow gradually nearer. It was a beautiful sight.  All the stars were out in the sky, and a strong wind was blowing.  At one point the wind suddenly became colder, and I supposed we had come into an air-current coming up the Straits.  For a long time the line of lights looked continuous, and I wondered where we were going to go through.  But then we made a sort of curve, and the gap became apparent.  There were towns on both sides of the Strait as we entered, and on the Italian side distant fireworks were going off, which we could see but not hear.  I was reluctant to come in, but knew I would regret it if I stayed up too late.


Some boys in my cabin are very fond of singing dirty songs, and the whole moral standard of their conversation is surprisingly low.  Last night I heard someone say seriously “Freddie’s sleeping with a French girl tonight.”


Breakfast today was exactly the same as the 2 previous ones.  For lunch there was some chopped meat, greens, and a sort of noodles, and apples.


For the second time I attended Hebrew and Bible classes today.  The rabbi who takes us in the latter has a decidedly “liberal” viewpoint, and today we discussed miracles, and he said he did not believe in Biblical miracles, in the sense that they were acts of God performed for a specific purpose.  But to him, he said, everything in life was a kind of miracle. He is discussing briefly with us all the books of the Bible, and I am interested to learn of such things as the many different interpretations which have been read into the Song of Songs, and the greatness of the Book of Job.  Today I read through the Song of Songs and the Book of Ruth, and also began the first Book of Samuel.


Meetings of people interested in taking part in tomorrow night’s farewell party entertainment were held today.  I joined the small group who met, but felt all the time out of it.  They were trying to think of ideas for sketches to put on, but I had no ideas, & have now just about dropped out.


We had a life-belt drill this afternoon, with everyone assembling at their different muster-stations.  Some people had comfortable kapok life-jackets, but most dormitory people had an old-fashioned kind of thing, consisting of 4 pieces of cork joined together by cloth, with holes for the head & arms.  These were not comfortable, and would, I think, be even less so in the water.  Most people take these drills very light-heartedly, but I have read too many stories of shipwrecks & disasters ever to feel completely happy when reminded of such things.  What I can’t understand is why they wait 4 days before holding the drill.


Various entertainments are held in the ship from time to time -- 4-man concerts, Lotto, gambling games.  Today I saw part of a musical quiz.  But as these things are usually indoors, I pay little attention to them..  I was much in the sun today, but, although I used my “Golden Tan” cream, which is supposed to enable me to tan without burning, I was considerably sunburned on my legs, which are now red, rather than brown.


We passed another Shoham liner today, the “Artza,” going in the opposite direction, & the ships hooted as they passed.


Tonight, Friday night, a religious service is being held in the lounge, but I have no intention of going.  (9:15 PM).  I have been talking some more with the Dutchman (see yesterday) & had dinner with him.  His name is I think Axel Moller, and I find he is a vegetarian,  He says he has been one from birth, though his family is not.  He says he just does not like the idea of eating dead animals.  But he does not mind wearing leather.  For dinner there was again some very good meat, as well as soup, minced peas, & canned plums.


Our passage seems to have been just slightly more rough today, and I hope the fact that I had a late dinner (8:15) will not increase my chances of sickness.  At present I am feeling very full.  My sunburn is worse than I thought at first, and my legs are stinging all the time.  But the upper front part of my body, which I exposed to the sun for the first time today, though red, does not sting.  As for my boil, it now seems to have been 2 boils very close together.  Bits of the core were still coming out today. but the pain is now gone.


Saturday, July 4, 1953

Once again I have had a disturbed night’s sleep.  Yesterday I contemplated changing my cabin, but did little about it, as the other men’s dormitories appeared to be all full. I went to bed about 10 o’clock last night, knowing that the others would not start coming in until well after midnight.  As a last resort, I wrote and signed a note, and stuck it on the cabin door.  It said, “Dear boys, please try to be a little more quiet when you come in tonight.  Thank you.”  What happened was that my message was treated as a giant joke, and I was woken about 1 AM by shouting and laughter outside.  Someone kept calling “We’re coming in, Brilliant” and someone else jokingly warned that I was waiting with a hatchet.  They made many jokes about me when they came in, but I lay still, my head covered with a sheet.  I think, however, that my note may have had some effect upon their consciences, for, if they were no quieter and went on talking as usual for about an hour, they did not turn on the lights as they usually do.  (There is always one dim blue light on all the time.)  This morning I was up about 8 o’clock (by old time, but we have now put on an hour & it was actually 9 AM) . But again many of my cabin-mates slept most of the morning, and it greatly annoyed me when some of them called “shut up!” when I started singing at about 11 AM.  But I have heard nothing today about my note, which I took down as soon as I got up.


Before retiring last night I attended a short part of an “Oneg Shabbat” meeting [a celebration of the coming in of the Sabbath] held in the lounge.  These Friday night meetings consist, it seems, of singing and story-telling etc.  I heard some of the songs, and an American boy telling childishly a very childish story about a country whose inhabitants went from the extreme of working every day to that of seeking pleasure all the time, until an old wise man taught them to set aside one day in the week to worship God.  The lounge was hot and crowded.  Bowls of fruit were passed round.  Before the meeting began, I was sitting there at a table when some girls came in.  The face of one I seemed to recognize, and I wondered if she could have been at my old Hendon County School.  But the girls she was with were speaking a foreign language, so I supposed I must be mistaken.  But a short while later she spoke to me in English, & said I looked familiar to her.  I asked her if she had been at Hendon County School, & she said yes.  She had been 2 years ahead of me, & left in 1950.  I had never spoken to her before.  Her name is, I think, Ruth Ehrenthal.  She said she is now doing Sociology at Bedford College, London.  So there are 2 girls from my school on this ship.  I introduced Cynthia Reiss to Ruth, who may vaguely have remembered her.  Ruth said, I think, that she is travelling with the Summer Institute party, but will not be taking part in the Institute.


I am sorry to have to admit it, but I feel slightly lonely.  Group travel is not for me, (or any form of group activity.)  There is no group into which I can fit.  I am always an outsider in everything  (even in my family).  I eat and walk by myself, but there must always come a time when I would like someone to talk with and be my friend.    (7:35 PM)  My fellow Institute members and cabin-mates are all Jews, and I probably have much in common with them.  But somehow, the more I find out about them, the more different I feel from them.  Their talk becomes more and more filthy.  Many of them delight in talking about their experiences with the girls on the ship, which sometimes really do disgust me.  Yet this is one of all times when I should not be concerned with my personal problems.  For tomorrow we reach Israel.


For many people on this ship, Israel is their life goal, the fulfillment of their dreams.  Yet this journey is for me little more that the result of a whim.  Until a few months ago, I had never thought seriously about visiting Israel, and had little interest.  Then it was the romantic crusading notion that inspired me, and my interest was aroused.  Since then I have read much, but my interest has always been objective.  Though I am thrilled at the thought of the fulfillment of 2000 years of Jewish hopes, at the establishment of a Jewish state and the ingathering of the exiles, I could never associate myself with it.  I do not consider myself an exile, at least from Palestine, and it is hard for me to consider myself as a Jew.  So in these few words I have summarized my present attitude.  This attitude may much change in the weeks to come, but somehow I doubt it.


So this is our last complete day at sea.  We have come north of the island of Crete, whose coast we could see this morning.  Ever since I have known it, I have always loved the Mediterranean.  Its warm beauty is infinitely attractive to me, and for this reason I will be sorry to go ashore tomorrow. This has in many ways been a wonderful journey.  But often I regret that I did not have enough of a classical education to appreciate it more.  But even that knowledge which I do possess is hard to associate with what I see.  The dim shore-line of Crete had little connection in my mind with what I have read of its wonderful ancient civilization.


Today was the Sabbath, and many people went to the religious service held this morning in the lounge.  With the ritual and trappings of the Jewish religion, and even with the use of the Hebrew language (though I marvel at its resurrection) I have very little sympathy, though I realize that a respectable case can be made out for them.


I had a little talk, while leaning over the rail this morning, with the boy named Danny who has been conducting my Beginners’ Hebrew class.  He told me he had been waiting for years for this journey, and plans to settle eventually, though not immediately, in Israel.  He has never been there before, & told me that his greatest fear was that his preconceived notions might be destroyed.  He comes from New York, & learned Hebrew by private study, youth clubs, camps etc.


The fact that everyone on this ship is a Jew has brought me to the conclusion that to be a Jew means  little when one is not among non-jews.  One of the essential ideas of Judaism is that of a “chosen people,” a “peculiar people.”  While the Jews were scattered, this became a religious concept, but, with the Jewish State in existence, it seems to me that this will become just a sort of vulgar nationalism.


Breakfast this morning was the same as always.  I don’t know why they don’t introduce some variety into it. With every non-meat meal, there is always a choice of tea or coffee, and I usually have 2 cups of tea.  All the milk is condensed.  For lunch there was fried fish and some good fruit juice.  For dinner there were large portions of chicken, as well as salads etc. and a kind of chocolate pudding.   There is always plenty of butter, milk, and sugar.  Soft & hard drinks can be obtained, but they cost extra.  But last night, Sabbath eve, there was free wine on all the tables.


This ship, I have learned, was built in Birkenhead.  I continued today reading the First Book of Samuel in the Bible.  Tonight I find myself rather badly sunburnt on my legs & torso, and am annoyed, for I had made free use of my “Golden Tan” cream.  On the arm of a man sitting at my dinner table this evening I saw some tattooed numbers, and think that these may be those of a concentration camp.


At 4:30 today an American professor gave a lecture in the lounge on “Jerusalem Past and Present.”  He comes, I think, from some New York Jewish college, and spoke with a slight European accent.  His main theme was the religious significance of Jerusalem, and outlined the Jewish case for possessing the whole city, which is at present split into Old (held by Jordan) and New (held by Israel.)  He said the Jews were the only people to whom Jerusalem was the only holy city and something more than a holy city.  The Christians had Rome, the Mohammedans Mecca and Medina. But he predicted that the problem of Jerusalem will eventually be solved by a compromise, with some sort of Jewish spiritual center in the Old City, like the Vatican in Rome, and the rest of the city (I am not sure if this included the New City) to be internationalized.


At 5:30 the members of the Summer Institute were addressed by Moshe Sharret, the Foreign Minister of Israel, who is a passenger on board.  He spoke very well, in good English, explaining that our Institute formed a sort of cultural link between Israel and the “Diaspora.” [Jews living elsewhere in the world.]  After his short speech, the man who introduced him thanked him, and mentioned that someone on board, when hearing that Mr. Sharret had been going down and having long talks with the crew, had asked whether Anthony Eden (the British Foreign Secretary) would do the same if he were travelling on the Queen Mary.  Mr. Sharret now replied that he did not want to say anything against Mr. Eden, who was a colleague of his and “a nice fellow.”  He explained that Eden’s country had been sailing their own ships for centuries, but for the people of Israel this was a great and exciting novelty.


Booklets have been given out to us telling the story of immigration to Israel.  Many languages are spoken on this ship. The “inter-com” announcements are always in Hebrew and English, & sometimes French as well.  But even more surprising is the number of varieties of English.  It is really amusing to me to hear Jews speaking in the accents of  Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and the southern U.S.A.  Though, as I say, I often feel very different from my fellows, I must admit that sometimes I fear it is I who am abnormal.


It is now 9:40  and I am in the lounge, where a “Farewell Party” is soon to be held.  I am torn between the desire to see it and the desire to go soon to bed, for, though I am not tired, we again lose an hour tonight, and I know I will have a late night tomorrow.  Moreover, sunburn may rob me of sleep tonight, and I must of course allow for the hour or more in the small hours during which sleep will be impossible.  Everyone seems to have dressed up for the party, & some of the girls are looking very pretty, but I am still wearing my plimsolls, shorts, and sweater, though with my corduroy jacket.


Sunday, July 5, 1953

It is 2:10 PM, and I am sitting at the front of the S.S. Jerusalem, waiting for the shoreline of Israel to come into view on the horizon, which should be soon now.  I have just had a good lunch, of soup, meat, potatoes, cabbage, & stewed prunes & figs.  We will reach Haifa sometime around 5 PM, & should be in Jerusalem tonight.  Breakfast & my shower were the same as usual this morning.  We put the clock on another hour overnight.


At the Farewell Party (see yesterday) I stayed just long enough to see the 2 sketches put on, one by the American & one by the British group.  The British one was far funnier & cleverer than the American sketch.  In the latter, one boy parodied a “stage Englishman,” with sports blazer, straw hat & monocle.  Its only joke was that of the “Curse of the Ponsonbies.”  If Lady Ponsonby has a girl, the mother will die, if a boy, the father.  It’s a boy, & so the butler drops dead.


The British sketch consisted of a very funny parody of the Herzl-Bialik celebration we had (see July 3rd) in which were celebrated in sonorous sentences and symbolic dances the lives and achievements of Al Capone (the gangster) and “Trite D. Eisenglas” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, the American President.)  Then followed a witty topical song written and sung by 2 British boys, the jokes being about the American “witch-hunting” of Communists.


I then went to bed (about 11:45) but this time it was not until about 4:45 (3:45 old time) that I was awoken by my cabin-mates coming in.  They made this time more noise than ever, and their behavior seemed half-drunk.  Just for fun, the boy in the bunk under me kicked once at me through the mattress.  Everyone seemed to be swearing atrociously.  But they all got up pretty early this morning, and I think some of them must be very tired today.  What surprises me is that it always seems to be the boys who look most likeable and innocent who speak and behave most disgracefully.


I am only hoping fearfully that conditions for us will be better in Jerusalem, and I will be able to sleep undisturbed.  We are supposed to be staying in the Hebrew University “Gymnasium” in Rehavia, Jerusalem, but I have no idea what accommodations we will find there.  This morning has been filled with instructions, passports, forms, packing, etc.


Everyone in the Institute party is supposed to pay 10/- into a fund for boat tips, but I am annoyed at this, and have resolved definitely not to pay.  Not only is it a high price , especially for me, but we were never told about these things in advance, and were always given to understand, before we left, that our fee was to include everything.


(5:45 PM)  We have docked in Israel, and are in Haifa Harbor.  I am now waiting with the others in the Tourist Dining Room to go before the Customs.  The Summer Institute people are I think being taken first.  It was a fine experience to stand on the prow keeping a vigil for the Israel coast.  I was the first person there, & gradually more & more people joined me.  Our boat rocked more last night & today than ever before.  Many people had diarrhea this morning, and I was a little that way myself, so went to the ship’s hospital & was given some pills.


We waited and watched.  I took out my Bible, and looked through it.  A girl standing beside me read me some passages from it.  At last at 3:30 PM we first discerned the dim outline of a hill, already rather high above the horizon.  It was Mount Carmel.  Gradually as we approached, things became clearer.  We could see the coastline extending flat on either side, to the north lined with oil tanks.  Then the town of Haifa, a splash of white upon the hill.  People began singing, but we did not, as I had expected and hoped, burst into Hatikvah.  I could sense the beauty of the situation.  Many of the passengers on our ship were approaching their new home.  When, after waiting some time, we had failed to sight land, one boy quipped “Trust the Jews to be always late!”  I replied “Listen, you’ve been waiting 2000 years – s few more minutes won’t hurt!”


When we came close to Haifa, sailors cleared us from the prow, where the machinery now had to be employed.  The town seemed to be almost all of modern white concrete buildings.  On top of Mt. Carmel, an Israeli soldier pointed out to me the Carmelite Monastery.  Sailors on ships in the harbor waved as we passed them.  A new harbor was being built to our left.  A tug helped push us into the dock, while we pulled with a rope.  Many people were waiting on the quay. Many of the passengers (including the Institute members) had relatives and friends waiting for them.  When we docked, all the Summer Institute people were told to come down here into the Dining Room.  Now it is 6:30.  People are being taken very slowly, one by one, for passport & customs etc.  We will probably not get away from here for a long time.


(Contining now July 6)  Our ordeal of red tape lasted a very long time, over 4 hours in fact, and as time went on, I grew more hot and weary.  For hours we had to wait and wait, with arrangements continually being changed, so that we never knew if we were being taken in alphabetical order, or numerical, or what.  The Israeli officials sat at tables in the Dining Room, one group dealing with passports, another with currency.  I sang to keep up my spirits, but it was a very trying time.  Sam had told us that, unless we cashed at least  £25 worth of travelers checks at once, we would not be able to be able to benefit from the very favorable tourist rate of exchange, which is 5 Israeli pounds to the pound Sterling.  I was very worried about this, for I did not have £25 worth of checks to cash.  (I have £30 of checks in all, but £10 of this must be reserved & not cashed, to pay the last part of the fee for the Institute) but in any case I simply do not intend to spend that much in Israel.  But Sam has numerous times misled us, and now, at the last minute, to my great relief, he said we could get the same rate no matter how little we cashed.


But when at long last our passports had been stamped, our numerous forms examined, our money changed (I changed a £5 check) the ordeal was not yet over, for we left the ship only to enter the large busy Customs shed, where there was again a long wait.  By this time I was feeling very low, but revived my spirits somewhat by walking around the shed, and writing an airmail postcard home – my first card since we left Marseilles.


From Haifa , we were to travel directly to Jerusalem by bus.  But it was not until about 10 PM that all our luggage had been loaded and we were ready to move off.  I was very sorry that our first Israel journey was to be made at night time, for we would see little of the country.  But it was not because of this, nor had it anything to do with the fact that I was now in Israel that on this journey I felt extremely sad, and shed tears of emotion for the first time in many years.  I think the reason was that I felt very much alone.  Everyone else on my bus seemed to have some friend to sit with and talk to, male or female, but I had no-one.


But there was one woman, older than the rest of the girls in the party, who did seem also alone.  So I sat beside her, & talked with her about her nursing work during the war in London, which led to a nervous breakdown, for which she had to go to Switzerland to recuperate – and about her boy-friend, an Israeli govt. official, who lives in Tel Aviv.  Her name was Dorothy.  I shared some candy with her, & gave her my jacket because she was cold.  Then she fell asleep, and a strange sweet sadness came over me which made me want to start crying and sobbing, but I could muster up only a few silent tears.  Somehow the thought which made me feel sadder than anything else was that of how I climbed Cul Mor in Scotland one day by myself.  At length, this period of emotion ceased, and I felt only tired.


Our ride lasted about 3 ½ hours, and we did not arrive at our destination until about 1:30 AM or later.  We had had tea on the ship, but the only food supplied on the bus was some dry cheese sandwiches.  In the dark we could of course see little of Israel, but these were my main impressions.  I was surprised , first of all, that we saw so few buildings and settlements along the road.  Almost all the groups of lights which marked habitations were off the road some distance.  For most of the way, the road was level, but we had some steep climbing to do before we reached Jerusalem.  The night air was warm, although a strong breeze eventually made me feel rather cool, and there was pleasant evergreen smell in the air..


What buildings we did see were usually square and rather ugly white ones.  I saw several groups of hitch-hikers on the road.  The lettering of all signs was of course in Hebrew.  Considering the importance of the road, there did not seem to be a great deal of traffic on it.  Often the road was lined by tall trees.  I wondered how much of the cultivated land had but a short while ago been desert.  We went through only one settlement, but I don’t know what it was.  Our buses for some reason made frequent stops.


The mountain country was impressively rocky and desolate in the moonlight.  We seemed to come into Jerusalem very suddenly.  The buildings looked new and well-designed, but I was too tired to observe much.


But there were more miseries and disappointments to come.  Our accommodation, during the time we spend in Jerusalem, is to be in the Rehavia Gymnasium, which is just a large school.  I had hoped it would be better than what we had on the ship, but instead it is considerably worse.  For our bedrooms are classrooms, and our beds are simple unsprung unmattressed canvas cots.  Washrooms and lavatories are inadequate.  We were also very disappointed that no meal was waiting for us, for we were all hungry.  But I still had some biscuits and fruit which I shared with others.  There were not even pillows on our beds – we have to use folded blankets.  But one consolation I have is that my room mates seem this time to be more likeable and orderly.  They are mostly Americans.  But although I had soon made my bed and lay down, disturbing talk continued for some time, and I could not have got to sleep before about 3 AM.


Monday, July 6 1953

(4:45 PM)   I am in Jerusalem, and yet it does not feel strange to be here.  But it is rather pleasant, for there is a warm sun, a light breeze, and a blue sky.  I am sitting now in shade on the steps in front of our school.  Although the Summer Institute is in residence here now, the School is still being used for children, but it is over now for the day.


This is my first day of the Summer Institute, organized and subsidized by the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency.  I came yesterday to feel very resentful about being a member of a herded group, always being instructed and ordered about.  I had thought at one time that group travel would be easier than individual travel.  But now I know it is infinitely more troublesome and slow. By today I had become completely fed up with this whole situation, and regretted that I had not followed my original inclination to come to Israel by myself.


We have our meals not at the school, but at a special student restaurant in the town.  They are good meals of their kind, and there is plenty to be had, but only a set meal, and I have so far had little to my taste.  There is much cold salad etc.  For breakfast there was porridge, salad, tea, jam, bread & butter; for lunch some sort of fish, potatoes, salad, borsht, tea, & a fruity mixture.


So far I have not seen much of the new city of Jerusalem, but I have walked around some of the main streets.  The city is not as I expected.  Somehow it all looks unfinished.  There are many vacant lots & much building going on.  Almost all the buildings look new.  There are many signs of war – fortifications etc.  The Knesset [Israeli Parliament]  is in a very unimposing building not far from here.  I have obtained a ticket to attend it tonight.  There are many sidewalk traders.  The people look well, and the children are well-dressed, clean, & happy.  There are many bookstores, & everywhere ice cream is for sale.  But I have as yet formed few impressions.  I have felt rather tired today.  I am looking forward to being on my own in the week-end.  Today we had an initial meeting in the Gymnasium, the staff were introduced to us, & our program outlined.


(Continuing now July 7)  At 4:30 there was supposed to be a walking tour of Rehavia, but for some reason this was cancelled, so I went out walking by myself.  I had no map, so just wandered blindly, and the more I saw, the more strange everything looked.  The buildings all looked new in a way, but in condition many were very poor.  The city does not peter out into the countryside, but seems to come to an abrupt end.  I was fascinated by everything I saw.  The whole city gave me the impression of incompleteness.  Many streets were unpaved, many things looked only temporary.  At length I came to a district which I have since learned is called Mea Shearim, where I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw many men and boys walking about in long garments, wearing skull-caps, and having the hair in front of their ears hanging in long curls, sometimes right down to their shoulders.  It was like being in another world.


I bought a map of Jerusalem in a shop for 150 puitot.  At first I thought this was expensive, but now it seems it is really quite cheap.  Before returning to our restaurant for supper, I called in at the modest Knesset building to see if I could get in, and was able, with my passport, to obtain a ticket for this evening’s sitting.  Supper was again a meal I did not enjoy.  Much of the food is strange to me & there is little that I liked.  Moreover, it is often not well cooked.  But we had some good orange juice.


I went by myself at 8 PM to the Knesset, which is the governing body of Israel.  Before going in, I spoke in French to an Israeli from Hungary, who told me he did not like Israel because the Jews were intolerable. (His word was “insupportable.”)  When I got in, I had a good seat in the front row at the side.  The chamber was very small.  Of course I could not understand the Hebrew being spoken.  The procedure seemed less formal than in the English Parliament, with members sometimes interrupting the person speaking.  The Chairman wore a beard & skull-cap, but the members, of whom not many were present, were quite informally dressed.  I did not stay long, for there was at our Gymnasium some function to be held with members of the Hebrew University..  This was quite enjoyable, its highlight being a quiz on general & Jewish knowledge between a University and an Institute side.  But the questions were mostly very easy.  I went to bed about 10:30.


Tuesday, July 7, 1953

This has been my second day in Israel, and this evening (it is now 10 PM) I am feeling very tired, confused, and discontented.  I am regretting bitterly that I decided to join this Summer Institute, and did not come to Israel, as I had first planned, by myself.  All my natural inclination was in that direction.  It was only the apparent cheapness of this scheme that won me over.  But I am very sorry now, for I have known little happiness since I left home, and today has given me more grief than even before.  I did not realize how much I hate communal existence, and how much I love liberty, especially in my travels, until I lost it.  But I must admit that I would not be so discontented if this scheme had provided greater comfort, and was better organized.  There are twice as many Americans as British in this Institute, and I feel really disgusted to think that I have allowed myself to be degraded to the level which I have always detested, that of a gaping tourist in a herded group, living and travelling with other gaping tourists.  [Practically all my extensive travels over the previous 4 years, whether alone or with a companion, had been independent, and I had come to have great disdain for “tourists.”] I have many other complaints – sleeping difficulties, poor food (though this I expected) etc., but it is always this thought which most depresses me, and has cast a cloud over my first days in Israel.


And I am still very confused as far as Israel is concerned.  Despite all the reading I did beforehand, and all the preparation we had on the ship, I still find it difficult to realize where I am.  This difficulty is unhappily increased by the fact that I am living not amongst Israelis, but among Britons & Americans.  Much of my time is spent, not seeing Israel, but in attending classes and lectures in this school.  All this goes against my grain very much.


To our restaurant we have a 10 minute walk for every meal, but this is not really oppressive.


The main event today was a tour of Jerusalem, in which we were taken in 3 old buses to various spots inside and outside the city.  I cannot unfortunately give much space to describing this 4-hour tour, but for me it was a miserable time.  I hate having to troop in & out of buses, to stand in a crowd listening to our guide telling us about the various places.  I have rarely felt so much out of my element.  Our guide concentrated very much on recent military history, and the strategic value of the places he showed us.  We went to several places where there were extensive views.  I have not yet formed any clear impressions, having so far of Israel seen only parts of Jerusalem, but everything seems strange to me.  It is not somehow as I had expected. I had forgotten that the ground would be dry and brown.  Everything to me presents an aspect of incompleteness.  But, for all my complaints, I am of course learning a great deal every day, though I cannot hope to record here more than a small fraction of what I see and hear.


On this tour we were taken right from the south of the new city to the north, with views across valleys;  a brief visit to a kibbutz, Ramat Rachel, which had seen much fighting.  This was the first kibbutz I had seen, but it made little impression on me.  Everywhere there were boundaries – for in Jerusalem one is never far from Arab-held territory.


To many of my companions, coming to Israel is like coming home.  They have many friends and relations here.  I seem to be one of the few people who knows no one.  We now saw parts of the Old City from a distance.  From Ramat Rachel we could see Bethlehem and Rachel’s tomb..  We saw Allenby Square, where there was fierce fighting in the Arab-Israeli war; then we ascended Mount Herzl, where there was a beautiful cemetery, where were buried soldiers who had died then and in the 2nd World War. At the top was the grave of Herzl himself.


This morning we were lectured to by Dr. Abraham Bicam, who is the District Commissioner of Jerusalem, a good speaker & very likeable man.  He gave us a general introduction to Israel and Jerusalem.  Then there was a discussion of current Israeli events in another class. I will have to wait until I have more time before I can start making detailed observations on Israel.




Wednesday, July 8, 1953.

(8:30 AM)  This is an early time to be writing my diary, but it seems I will have to snatch every opportunity, if I am to keep up to date. There were many things I omitted to mention yesterday – how I took a walk to the YMCA building – a very fine building  -- and to the King David Hotel, of which one wing was blown up by terrorists in 1946, across the Mamilla Cemetery, which was evidently  ruined in the fighting.  Jerusalem’s climate is quite an agreeable one.  Despite the strength of the sun, there are usually pleasant breezes, and at night it grows rather cool.


Forgetting that on my present rolls of film I can take 12 and not 8 pictures, I yesterday overwound, and last night spent a very trying time attempting to remedy my mistake.  It was the first time I had ever done such a thing, but in the end I think I was successful.


Last night when we went to bed the water supply had been cut off.  By this morning it still had not been restored, and I had to do without my usual shower.  But I did manage to get a little water out of one tap.


On the buildings along King George V Avenue, there are many plaques advertising doctors.  English seems to be almost the second language of this country, and many signs contain it as well as Hebrew.  There are many bookstores & many American books for sale.  I have heard that the Israeli children are surprisingly well-informed in world affairs.


For breakfast today there was tomato & cucumber, which I didn’t have, cocoa of which I had 3 cups, a glass of orange juice, bread, margarine & jam.


Some members of the Institute speak fluent Hebrew;  but the Hebrew class I attend is very elementary.  I have had hardly any occasion to use even the few Hebrew words I know, apart from Todah (thank you) and Slicha (excuse me).


(2:45 PM)  I am sitting now on a bench beside a windmill pointed out to us on our tour yesterday, built a hundred years ago by the famous English Jew, Sir Moses Montefiore.  I am in the shade, but the flies are troublesome, and I am a little thirsty.  I have been taking my own tour of the border-zone between the old and new cities, and from here I can see a portion of the city walls, and look across a valley to Mount Zion, where I intend to go soon.  Between Jewish & Arab-held territory there is neutralized zone or “no man’s land” where there are many ruined buildings.  One is not, I think, supposed to enter this area, but it is quite easy to do so.  To my right, there is the Scottish Church of St. Andrews, but it is very unlike any church in Scotland.  In my walk I have seen along the borders rows of slum dwellings as bad as I have seen anywhere else. Human waste is very much in evidence everywhere around here.  I have been interested to see many small workshops and machine shops, usually open to the street, with people making furniture, repairing cars, etc.  But in many busy streets there are pathetic rows of beggars or near-beggars, with trays of chocolate etc.


At the Summer Institute I am in a study group dealing with Social Services. (I had originally chosen the Administration group, but changed to this because its visits promised to be more interesting.)  Today we were taken, on our first visit, to the Israel Institute of Applied  Social Research.  This is headed by a well-known American sociologist, Professor Louis Guttman.  We sat on the uncomfortable floor of his office, & he gave us a rather technical talk on the work of the Institute, how it investigates such problems as the morale of working people, social relations in new settlements etc.  It was more interesting when he showed us the methods and machines which were used to record & calibrate the results of various investigations which the Institute carries out.


In the same building were the off\ices of the Encyclopedia Judaica, an encyclopedia of general knowledge being printed in Hebrew which will take ten years to complete. Many famous people are contributing to it, and we were shown sample volumes.  There will be 20 volumes in all.  [It ultimately seems to have appeared not in Hebrew but in English, and to be related specifically

to Judaism.]


One good thing about our restaurant is that one can usually have as much as one wants of what one likes.  Thus I had 3 cups of cocoa this morning, and 2 bowls of soup for lunch.


Before I left home, Mummy obtained for me the address of Alexander Posner, the son of a friend of hers, who lives on a kibbutz (communal farm) near Tel Aviv called Tel Yitzchak.  I did not at first think much of this, but now I intend to go and see him during the coming weekend.  It is now 3:15, and as our visit to the Hebrew University is due to begin at 3:30, I will have to hurry back now, without going to Mount Zion,


Although I love the Mediterranean climate, with its warmth and blue skies, I cannot deny that it does “take something out of me,” and I have not once felt really energetic since I left home.


The man who guided our tour yesterday knew Jerusalem very well.  He often deplored that places like the Old City were in Arab hands, but always indicated that he was confident they would not remain so.


The normal vegetation around here is of the brown prickly kind, which makes walking in fields, especially when I am wearing shorts, a painful activity.  Khaki is the predominant color here for men’s clothes, but there is still much variety.  I have another boil coming up on my face, this time in front of my right ear. How I dread these boils!


(10:55 PM)  I have unfortunately very little time to describe the busy remainder of my day.  We had a meeting at the Hebrew University, when an American professor told us much about it, & we were shown a film.  It is a great pity that the fine buildings atop Mount Scopus cannot now be used because they are surrounded by Arab-held territory.  The professor told us how a doctor, travelling on one of the fortnightly convoys to Mount Scopus was helped by an Arab guard to smuggle out a valuable card-index because he had once saved the Arab’s wife’s life by helping her give birth to her first baby.


After this, I went by myself to Mount Zion.  It was as strange to me as everything else in Jerusalem – the Hebrew signs everywhere, which I could not understand, the synagogues & candles in buildings.  I was here very close to the Old City.  Often there are signs warning of mines.  I went to a place called “David’s Tomb,” but couldn’t understand what exactly it is.  In one gloomy building there were relics of the German persecution & slaughter of Jews, including a shirt made from Hebrew parchments and bars of soap made from the bodies of slaughtered Jews.


After supper we had a lecture here on the structure of the Jewish State, given by a man from Scotland.  Tomorrow we are going on an all-day outing to the “Road of Courage,” and have to be up at 6 AM.


Thursday, July 9th, 1953

(Written July 10 in the evening.  So much has occurred on July 9 & 10 that I would like to record and comment on that my style must, I fear, be brief, and details scanty.)


A very eventful day, which included a Summer Institute tour and my journey to Tel Yitzchak.  We were to have a “Tiyul” all day & then be free for the weekend.  I had decided to try to get to Tel Yitzchak, though I didn’t know where it was.  Our tour extended between Jerusalem & Tel Aviv.  We had to be up at 6 AM, but did not leave in buses til well after scheduled time.  Our guide named Abraham  was “madrich” (leader) from Institute, & made good guide.  We made stops at interesting places, where he told us about them.  Our route:  E from Jerusalem to Shar Hoggar, south to Beit Guvrin, west past Negba & north to Rehovat & Tel Aviv.  I took rucksack  but left unwanted things behind.


On this tour I found first real satisfaction in Israel, greatly interested in countryside, stories of Biblical associations, settlements etc.  Felt I was seeing the real Israel for the first time..  We were in 4 buses.  Stopped at points near Arab border.  Saw many ruined & abandoned Arab villages.  Country arid, but new greenery often visible.  Went along “Road of Courage,” built during Arab war – still signs of war – wrecked vehicles by roadside.


Girls singing on bus annoyed me, with popular songs.  Saw place of David-Goliath struggle, Very ancient site of Beth Shemesh, bits of pottery easily found there.  Went in ancient Byzantine church-caves near Beit Guvrin.  Visited 3-month old American settlement called Beer Tuvya “B” a moshav, not a communal farm.  Given talk by one of Americans there.  I would not want to live there.  So many new settlements everywhere of different kinds.  Face of land is changing all the time.  Surprised at sparseness of settlements in many regions.  Signs of war everywhere, e.g. bullet-scarred police stations.  Buildings always austere.  No decoration, rarely paint.


After Beer Tuvya, our bus stuck in a ditch.  We had to get out.  Soldiers had to come to pull us out with cable-lorry.  All good-humored, but now we were late.  Lunch supplied in restaurant at Rehovat, then to Weitzman Institute of Science, 3 or 4 years old, fine buildings & grounds.  Shown round by young Israeli educated at Oxford.  Laboratories etc.  Very well-equipped.


Then on to Tel Aviv, arrived about 5 PM.  I left party, wanted to get to Tel Yitzchak kibbutz to see Alexander Posner, whose mother had asked mine to tell me to go there.  I knew only roughly

where place was, not marked on my maps.  Somewhere N of Tel Aviv between 2 main roads.  My Hebrew very small – difficult to ask directions, but met many English-speaking people.  Few people I asked had heard of Tel Yitzchak.  One advised me to go to Natanya. So walked out of Tel Aviv (I had seen little of it) along Natanya road.  Stopped at place for drink.  Kind proprietor spoke no English, but when I said price of cake I wanted was too high, she seemed to take pity on me & invited me in & gave me bread & butter & soft drink.  I thanked her & went on.  It’s a miracle that I reached my destination – so many things went wrong.  Time was flying & I still wasn’t sure how to go.  I came to a fork in road. Natanya one way, Petah Tikvah the other.  Some soldiers were waiting for lifts.  (I was of course planning to hitch-hike) .  I had long talk with one about how I should go. He finally advised me to go to Petah Tikvah, then north.  So I continued along P.T. road feeling not very happy.  One man I asked seemed very anxious to help, asked other people for me & wanted to take me on bus to police station to ask directions.  I wasted much time with him, and meanwhile it was growing dark.  I did not know where I would be sleeping, for I did not expect to reach the Kibbutz this day. 


But fortune favored me.  I got a lift – my first lift in Israel – with an English-speaking army man.  He took me to Petah Tikvah, & there inquired for me, & found at a bus-stop a policeman who knew where Tel Yitzchal was, & could put me on the right bus.  I waited here some time, until  about 8:30, & meanwhile talked with a young English-speaking man from Iraq, & felt I was learning from him more about Israel than I could learn from many lectures.  He had been studying Medicine in Syria at the time of the Arab-Israeli war, when all Jews were expelled from the colleges.  He came here about 1950, & told me much about conditions, difficulties of finding work (he now works as a clerk) . 


At last the bus came, & I was packed as tightly as I have ever been on a bus, but the driver kindly relieved me of my rucksack.  On the way, I continued talking with the Iraqui.  After quite a long ride, we came to a stop called Tel Yitzchak.  This is on the Haifa road, about half-way between Herzliya and Natanya.  I still was not sure where to go from here – but 2 girls said to follow a sandy road straight on.  This I did.  It was dark, but I was not now unhappy, for my goal was near.


And my welcome was far warmer than I expected.  I came at length to what I took to be the kibbutz, went to the nearest light, and saw some girls & a boy in a room.  “Do you speak English?” I asked.  Yes, they were all English.  “Do you know anyone named Alexander Posner?”  Yes, they knew him very well.  I was invited in, & he was sent for.  He came in with a rifle, for he was doing guard duty.  Introductions were made, & I was made very welcome. I felt really happy, for a change.  A meal was prepared for me in this cabin, & I drank a cup of coffee for the first time I can remember in my life, for I felt I could not refuse.  Also I had sardines & bread & a “pepper,” – also a new food to me, of the green kind which was not hot, but had only a kind of raw taste.


I talked with everyone, & learned that Alec & these other people were here under the “Shnat Sherut” scheme, which I have heard of, whereby they give a year of work to Israel on a kibbutz.  This kibbutz is quite large, containing about 450 people, plus a children’s settlement of 200-300 children.  I explained how I am in Israel, and asked many questions about the kibbutz.  I was invited to stay, & was assured that I would not have to work or pay


Alec is a tall “ginger” boy with freckles.  He said I could sleep in his bed tonight, because he was on guard duty til 4 AM, & then would go in another bed.  The Shnat Sherut groups, of which there are 2 numbering 16 people here at present, from places like England, Sweden, & France, are housed in rows of wooden or stone cabins.  2 or 3 people sleep in a cabin, & outside there is a verandah.  The “chaverim,” or permanent inhabitants of the kibbutz, have much better accommodation.  They come from many different countries.  Tel Yitzchak is about 15 years old, and is built on a low hill, a strategic position.  Alec gave me a good idea of the comparative insecurity of this region, telling me how Arabs infiltrated across the border, & come to kill & steal here.  But now this is very seldom, &, what with border patrols etc., guards are scarcely necessary.  He showed me the dairy, where rows of cows are kept.  I went to bed about midnight  with Alec’s cabin-mate Bernard, who also comes from Edgware.


Friday, July 10 1953  (Written July 11)

I spent this day with the people of Tel Yitzchak Kibbutz, and had a most interesting and enjoyable time, learning much about kibbutz life, and about Israel in general.  Had a good night’s sleep.  Alec, guard last night, was supposed to sleep late, so I got up, had breakfast in dining hall, & went on tour of kibbutz with fat French girl named Latissa.  Everyone here very friendly & informal – walk into each other’s cabins all the time.  There is French girl here in one cabin named Yvonne.  She is not on Shnat Sherut, but an immigrant, has been in Israel only one week.  I went with Latissa into her cabin this morning, & Swedish boy (originally from Hungary) was sleeping in other bed opposite Yvonne.  But later I was assured this was quite legitimate.  Yvonne was just afraid to sleep by herself.  (She has been living, she told me, in Paris with her Nanny.  Her parents did not return from deportation to Germany.  She is 19 ½) and the Swedish boy has other girl-friend.  Latissa speaks good English, is 19 & has travelled much. Her mother is famous French travel author named Gabrielle Bertrand – she was once Einstein’s secretary.  Latissa told me stories of how her mother had been shot & wounded by German assassins during war, & she had been brought from Switzerland to see her.  But she also had many interesting things to tell me about the people of the kibbutz, & especially those on Shnat Sherut – the girl who tried to commit suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills  -- the girl who went home to England because she was going to have a baby – the man who was killed when his tractor overturned. 


Later she introduced me to a French boy, living in the Moshav, or children’s settlement, who 4 weeks ago had been shot in the head by Arab ambushers when on tour with a party in Galilee.  One boy in the party had been killed outright, but the boy I met, who showed us the bullet which had been removed from his head, seemed now perfectly well, though he had 2 scars at the back of his head – one, I think, where the bullet had gone in, & one where a slit had been made to get it out.  She also showed me a pretty young unmarried mother with her baby, only a few weeks old, sitting on a bench. Latissa said the father had gone back to Morocco.


Latissa took me up a long metal ladder to the top of the kibbutz water tower (where I happen again to be sitting now.)  When the kibbutz was founded about 1938, defense was a primary consideration.  So for strategic reasons the settlement was made on land slightly higher than the surrounding country, and this concrete water tower was used also as an observation tower.  From here there is a fine view of all the country round about.  To the west is the sea and the sand dunes, to the east one can see beyond the border into Jordan.  My kibbutz is just a little north of the point of Israel’s narrowest width.  Alexander says it now constitutes part of a 3rd line of defense against the Arabs. I have spoken much with him, and the thing which he has tried to impress on me is the fact that all the fine cultivated land, the trees and settlements which we now see in every direction were but a few years ago nothing more than sand.  All that is needed to make the desert flourish is water, and here there is plenty of water.  I imagine that Israel and its problems of water and agriculture are very similar to Southern California.


Latissa showed me the kibbutz laundry and kitchen, the places where the kibbutz children lived, and the moshav, a separate children’s settlement which forms part of the kibbutz.  The moshav has a much finer dining room than the kibbutz itself.  The food I have had here is similar to that in Jerusalem


Alec has told me much about how the kibbutz organization works. I don’t know if this applies to every one, but the shenat sherut people work 8 hours a day, & I think 6 days a week.  If they work overtime, they can get extra time off..  Their wages are very meager, being only about 3 Israeli pounds (12 shillings) a month, but within reason everything they need is supplied for them – their food, clothing, accommodation, cigarettes etc.  Alec has expressed to me very well how hard and unpleasant the work can sometimes be (he has done things like helping cows give birth) but also how enjoyable and satisfying can be the feeling of having done a good job in a group.   He has impressed upon me that there are many kibbutzim much better than Tel Yitzchak, but I think on the whole he likes it here.  His cabin is decorated with pictures he has cut out of magazines.  The washing and lavatory facilities here are much better than those our Summer Institute has in Jerusalem.  There are few paved paths, and walking through the sand is tiring.  Everyone wears sandals.  Everyone seems to work very hard, & I met English people this morning pulling weeds, peeling potatoes, tending cows etc.


There seems to be no religion on this kibbutz at all.  Shabbat is the day of rest, but people work then if they want or have to..  Meals are not kosher, and there is not even any place for prayer.  As far as I can make out, the children receive no kind of religious training at all.


After lunch, Alec & Latissa took me to the seaside town of Natanya for a swim.  We had intended to hitch-hike there, but couldn’t get a lift, so took a bus. On the way we went through a large ma-abarat or immigrant camp, a very untidy place, and ramshackle.  One man we saw in the street wearing his pajamas, & Alec says this is because it is the custom among oriental Jews to wear their pajamas all day on Shabbat, to show that they are not working.


Natanya is a town only 15 years old, & Alec & Latissa could not cease emphasizing to me its newness, & telling me how new things were going up all the time.  But I was not so very impressed.  Mere size or rapidity of building is not remarkable to me, especially in Israel.  But my friends almost went into transports in the pretty cliff-top gardens.  But then they must be doubly wonderful to then, after weeks of hard work on a kibbutz.


Everyone in Israel has much ice cream & cold drinks.  The streets of every town are lined with places selling them.  We had ice cream today.  We went at last down onto the beach, which was pretty & unspoiled.  We left our things in a changing-place there, & spent some happy time in the wavy water of the Mediterranean.

I have lately been enduring 2 boils on my right cheek, & one on my right leg, but they have not been very painful or troublesome.


We took a bus back, had some good soup for supper, as well as some hot “orange tea,” egg, bread, salad etc.


In the evening there was an open air film, Larry Parks in “Jolson Sings Again,” the sequel to the film “The Jolson Story,” which I saw some years ago.  The sound was in English, but a Hebrew translation was shown at the side.  The film seems to have been cut up a bit, & some bits to be missing.  Bernard, Alec’s room-mate, was away this night, so I slept in his bed.  I have had many enjoyable showers here.


Saturday, July 11, 1953 (written July 12)

For a time today I intended to leave Tel Yitzchak Kibbutz this day and go perhaps to Tel Aviv, though I didn’t know where I would spend the night.  I did not really want to leave at all, but was afraid my welcome might \wear thin if I stayed a third night.  But eventually I decided against it, and spent another whole day at Tel Yitzchak.


Alec, whom the people at the Kibbutz often call Ginger, is an interesting boy.  He is 22, & in my conversation with him I have learned that he has a fiancée in London.  But he says he slept with some French girls on the ship coming over.  He has the real Zionist spirit, and his talk is often almost like a propaganda leaflet.  But he has explained to me very well the spirit & organization of  the kibbutz.  He showed me today a sharp silver bullet which had been fired at him by an Arab while he was on guard duty a few weeks ago, which missed him by only a few inches.  But it was probably his own fault, for he was wearing a white shirt though not supposed to.  He asked me not to tell anyone about this, especially his parents, for of course it would cause them much anxiety -- & I said I would not.  It is things like this which make me realize how insecure a country Israel still is, with borders everywhere.  But I have never felt worried about myself.  In fact I have so far seen only one or two people whom I knew to be Arabs, & of course these were friendly ones.


The English-speaking people on the Kibbutz use many Hebrew words in their conversation, especially those concerned with the Kibbutz and their work.  They also use many English swear-words, and among them “bastard” had become almost an affectionate term.  I have learned that, whenever anything goes wrong, it is always called in Hebrew a “puncture,” but Alec says there is another Hebrew word for an actual tire puncture.


There is a type of hat worn universally in rural Israel, made of cloth with a broad brim which can be folded up or down, or in many other positions.  Impressions of Israel are gradually forming in my mind.  Besides that of insecurity, mentioned above, there is also that of incipientness.  Everything is just beginning.  There is little time to think about beauty and comfort.  Every town I have seen looks to some extent ramshackle and incomplete.  The country settlements somehow never harmonize with the landscape.  They look flimsy and austere.


Alec slept late this morning, because he had little sleep the previous night.  I learned that a lorry was leaving the kibbutz, taking people to some point on the beach to swim in the morning.  I went with them.  We were very crowded in the lorry, mostly children, but the cross-country ride was pleasant, to an unspoiled spot on the coast, where there was a wide beach. At first I thought we would be the only people there, but lorries soon began arriving from all the other settlements, and the beach became full of people.  There was a lifeguard on duty, and men came round selling ice creams.  I swam & sunbathed, & increased my tan a little


Then, after an hour or two, we were all crowded to be taken back.  On the way, I talked with an English girl who has been at the Kibbutz 6 months on Shnat Sherut (the “year of service”) .  She works mostly in the kitchen, and it seems to be a general complaint of the girls that they have not as much choice and variety of work as the boys.  They are employed mainly in the kitchen, laundry, and nurseries.  Another complaint of the Shnat Sherut people was that they had no choice of on which kibbutz they were put, and, rather than stay on a single one for their whole year, as the scheme is at present, they would prefer to spend a few months on several.  Also, their relations with the “chaverim” (literally “friends”) or permanent members of the kibbutz, though not unfriendly, were not as warm as they would have liked them to be.


Early in the afternoon, I went up the water tower again, intending to do some writing of my diary, but a great sleepiness came upon me, so that I had to lie down up there in the shade for over an hour.


Although this was Shabbat, Alec was to work this afternoon, because he wants a week’s holiday later on in the year, and every extra half-day he works goes to his credit.  When I first arrived on Thursday night, I made it clear that I was quite prepared to do any work to contribute towards my keep.  I was assured that this was unnecessary, and of course hoped that I would not be compelled to work, but this afternoon I decided to help Alec, and I think and hope he liked me better for it.  His job, though I did not know it when I volunteered, must be one of the least pleasant on the kibbutz  -- cleaning the cow-sheds.


I have never done any farm-work in my life, but somehow this was not so unpleasant to me, and, looking back on it now, I think, strange to say, that I really enjoyed it.  At first the smell and the swarms of flies repelled me, but somehow I soon got accustomed to them.  First Alec had to turn out all the cows, which were chained & fastened in the shed.  I still have a slight fear of cows, and always back away when they make any movement like getting to their feet.  But Alec seemed quite expert at managing them, and soon he had released them all (I think there were  about 30 or 40 of them) and shooed them outside. On this kibbutz, there is no pasture for the cows.  Outside they have only a small area adjacent to the “Refet,” or dairy, to graze in.


I was now first given the job of carrying in from outside 8 bales of hay.  But the real job was sweeping and shoveling up all the manure and straw, and carting it on wheelbarrows to a lorry outside.  The cleaning had to be done quite thoroughly with broom & shovel & hose, then fresh straw had to be laid.  But I was surprised how soon I became accustomed to it.  I talked with Alec all the time. He is almost anti-religious, but told me he believed in faith – faith in one’s work and one’s comrades.  It seems that they do celebrate the religious festivals like Pesach and Shovuos on this kibbutz, but they turn them into nationalist rather than religious occasions.


I have often heard about people with good education & high qualifications taking up manual labor, but it was strange actually to meet in person a man working in the dairy who had once been a rabbi in Poland.  (Alec says he has given up all religion now, claiming that he has fulfilled the duty of every Jew, to return to the land of Israel) and another who was once a professor of Latin and Greek.


Our work lasted only from about 4 to 6:20, & I felt considerable satisfaction when it was over – and the best thing I can say for my experience is that if ever I had to do it again, it would not come as a shock to me.  In the evening, many people went to a cinema show at a nearby settlement, but Alec & I did not feel like it, & so we stayed at the kibbutz, conversing & walking around.  I watched Alec and an English girl, Janet, arranging with the former rabbi about the work to be done by the different members of the Shnat Sherut group tomorrow.  Then I saw from outside a meeting of some of the chaverim in the dining room.  Then Alec & I went to have tea & biscuits in Janet’s room.


Some of the meals served today were very good, especially some excellent potato & cabbage soup.  I had 2 eggs.  Janet had a book out of the kibbutz library called “Jerusalem Embattled,” by Harry Levin, about the siege of Jerusalem in 1948, in diary form.  After living in Jerusalem, I was of course very interested in this book, & read as much of it as I could before going to bed.  Bernard, Alec’s room-mate, was still away in Tel Aviv, so I again slept in his bed.


Sunday, July 12 1953 (written July 13)

Today I returned to the Summer Institute at Jerusalem after a memorably enjoyable weekend at Tel Yitzchak kibbutz.  It is still difficult for me to get used to the idea of the working week beginning on Sunday, not Monday.  I left the kibbutz at about 8:30 AM, and planned and expected to be back in Jerusalem at 1 PM in time for lunch, which was the time we were officially supposed to be back.  I hitch-hiked all the way, but in fact it took far longer than I expected, and I did not reach Jerusalem until about 6:15 PM.  I ate no lunch today, but had a good breakfast at the kibbutz, & subsisted through the day on raisins, oranges, & water (of which I drank very much, though we have been rightly advised that the more we drink the more thirsty we will feel.)


I had to say goodbye to Alexander Posner some time before I left, because he was going out to work.  Last night I gave him a small bag of English sweets which I still had.  By 8:30 I was ready to leave, so set off with my rucksack & pith helmet, walking down to the main road, about a 20 minute walk.  Of Tel Yitzchak I had many impressions.  One was of the friendly communal spirit which seemed to pervade the place, & which Alec so eloquently expressed to me.  Another was of the wonderful progress made in cultivating land, formerly a waste of sand, in just a few years.  Then, from the aesthetic aspect, I loved the green trees & fields, the clear sky – but disliked the drabness of the kibbutz itself.  Obviously there was everywhere infinite room for improvement.  Alec told me how it was planned this year to begin work on a large new dining room.


But living conditions were not in themselves unpleasant.  Everyone had a spring bed in a cabin supplied with electricity.  The permanent kibbutz members had quite pleasant homes, with flowers & lawns in front.  I did not go inside these, but was told they each had 2 rooms & also a shower.  (The Shnat Sherut people had communal showers & wash-room.)  Flies were everywhere, & sandy dust as well, but these were not great nuisances.  One night I heard jackals howling.  Their howls sounded almost human.  Alec told me he had to shoot a dog a few days ago.  The body was left where it was shot, to attract jackals, which were in their turn shot.


My journey today was, as I have said,  long and often tedious.  All day long I had to stand at the roadside, watching empty vehicles go past, especially lorries.  I could not understand the drivers’ attitude.  Are they so hardened to people asking for lifts that they just ignore them?  So, my progress was slow, & I had no long lift, but about 6 short ones.  The weather was of course very hot, & I often felt rather morose.  For long periods, I sat on my rucksack reading my bible.  There was not always shade to be had.  Traffic was never scarce, but people just would not stop, & I have yet to have my first Israeli lift in a private car.  Few of the people I met spoke good English, so I did not have any long conversations.  But from observation I learned much.  I saw how Israel is still a pioneer country, with every settlement looking somewhat new and temporary.  It is still hard for me to realize that whereas Greater London has ten million people, the population of the whole of Israel is only 1 ½ million.  Before I came, I somehow imagined it to be a very crowded country, at least in those parts where there was not desert – but it is not that at all.  Frequently I see camps of new immigrants, which are called Mabarat.  The green fields are a fine sight, with water sprinklers playing everywhere.


The geography of Israel is very obvious – at least of those parts which I have seen – the flat coastal plain rising from foothills into round mountains.  Another very obvious thing is that Israel is a land of soldiers.  Everywhere one sees men and women in uniform, army vehicles old and new, fortifications and ruins.  More and more I come to realize that the whole land is just one battlefield, which has been fought over time and time again down the centuries.  Alec told me that at his kibbutz there had been a secret arms factory at the time of the Mandate – and I think he said the factory was still working now.  I did not ask any questions about it, but when I said I would like possibly to return to Tel Aviv by walking west to the new coast road, he answered very mysteriously that this was impossible, and when I began to inquire, he asked me not to say any more about it – so I suppose the factory is in that region.


Alec had also pointed out to me an important railway running along the coast, which had been opened only 4 weeks ago.  At Natanya, he showed me the “station,” – simply a sign on the track.  The man who worked the nearby bus crossing also sold the tickets.  This sort of thing makes me realize just how new and fluid is the State of Israel.


My route to Jerusalem went through Lydda (now, it seems, called Lud) and Ramle.  I think before 1948 these must have been predominantly\ Arab towns.  There were still some minarets to be seen.  Some places showed signs of heavy fighting.


As time went on, I had continually to revise my estimate of when I would reach Jerusalem.  But, apart from lunch, the only important thing I missed was an outing of the Social Services Study Group.  I haven’t yet found out where they went.


When at last I reached Ramle, I found a group of about 10 people, mostly soldiers, waiting at the same spot for a lift to Jerusalem.  I decided that the best thing to do would be to wait with them, for drivers would be more likely to stop for soldiers.  So I stood with them and took my turn, and eventually I was at the head of the queue, and one of the familiar small open-backed army lorries stopped, and took about 4 of us on.  I thought at first that we would be going right to Jerusalem;  but we were put down at a desolate crossroads in the foothills where the lorry turned off – and there had to go through the process again.  And it happened a third time, for the army lorry which now picked us up turned off at another crossroads.  It was pleasant riding in the sunshine over new country, and my last ride, in a similar vehicle, was the best of all.  For we did not, as I expected, take the main road into Jerusalem, but for some reason took the more southerly secondary road.  The ride along this incredibly twisting road was breathtaking, and we seemed to be on the mountain tops all the time.  There were only a few settlements along this road.  Once, when we came to a kibbutz orchard where there were ripe plum trees, the lorry stopped, and the 5 soldiers jumped off, I following them, to pick as many plums as we could before we soon started off again.  Evidently, the Israeli army is skilled at lightning operations.  One of the things which most strikes me in Israel is the number of bearded orthodox-looking  people one sees doing ordinary jobs like driving lorries and serving in shops.


This ride made me realize just how high up Jerusalem really is.  We reached the city about 6:15, & I got off at Ben Yehuda Street.  I walked to the Institute (the Rehavia Gymnasium) feeling hot and dusty.  The one thing I most wanted before supper at 7 PM  was a nice cool shower.  What then was my dejection when I discovered that once again the water supply had been cut off, and there was no water in the sinks or showers.  But there was still a small flow of water in the sink  in the outhouse lavatories, which came, I think, from an emergency tank on the roof.  So impatiently I filled 2 buckets, one of which leaked, and took them into the washroom, where I gave myself at the sinks as thorough a wash as possible.  (Incidentally, there are not even any plugs in the sinks, & I had to stuff in paper.)  Such was my “homecoming.”  But I felt glad in a way to be seeing people I knew, & exchanging weekend experiences.  Sometime in this diary I will have to say something about some of the people I have come to know in the Institute individually.


After no lunch, supper was of course most welcome to me, and I ate an unprecedented amount.  As luck would have it, meat was at this meal served for the first time, the first meat I have seen in Israel.  It was chopped, & quite good.


In the evening  we had a lecture in the usual hall at the Gymnasium on the problems of immigrant absorption in Israel, given by a man named what sounded like Dr. Yosephater, who, with a German accent, spoke very eloquently and well.  After these lectures, there is always a question time, and I asked what opposition immigrants from backward countries showed to the imposition on them of Western culture & civilization. This he answered at length & well, including anecdotes such as the one in which an Eastern immigrant, suspecting his wife of infidelity, had locked her up in his house without food, until her cries brought help.  The local rabbi, however, when the man had been brought before him, had not punished him.  When asked later to explain, he said, “You westerners like to hear women laugh. We like to hear them cry.”

I did not get to bed until about 12:15 AM.





Monday, July 13,1953

The Summer Institute was yesterday joined by some more young Americans from an organization called Young Judea.  One of my main complaints about the Institute is that it is far too predominantly American, and our English party of about 30 has been completely swamped by the transatlantic element.  This situation is I fear breeding in me an anti-American prejudice..  About Americans in their own country I have little but good to say, but I have an increasing antipathy towards Americans abroad.  Much as I dislike generalizations, there is something about the American tourist, the way he dresses and speaks and behaves, which distinguishes him as a definite type. I do not like the “loud” clothes the Americans here wear, and the way they are always comparing things with “back home.”  But what I really dislike is the way many of our lecturers seem to have been given the impression that there are only people from America in the Institute, and thus give their talks an American flavor..  Moreover, many of our speakers are themselves American, but we have not had one English speaker.  Today came another example of our being slighted when photographs were taken in groups of the American & Canadian people according to the cities they came from.  These pictures would be sent and printed in their home newspapers.  But the English people were not wanted.  The reason, we were told, was that the pictures were to help the “Bonds for Israel” drive, but there was no such drive in England.


Not, of course, that I have any particular or general affection for our English group.  It is just that I feel that, as far as possible, the Institute should be an international one.  But there was good news this evening, for I hear that another English group from “Habonim” is coming to re-enforce us. --- And if the English are slighted , the few people we have who come from other countries are ignored altogether. 


This week in Jerusalem is to consist for the Institute mainly of lectures & seminars.  Some people are complaining that our lectures are too elementary.  I don’t think so.  We sometimes have very highly qualified speakers.  My own complaint is that they are often too dull.  Not one speaker has thought of using a map or any other visual aid.


The most pleasant moments of my day are often those I spend in the washroom having showers, especially when there are other people there, and we can join in the choruses of songs.  Today we were all singing Christmas carols!  Fortunately there was water for showers & sinks today.


I am usually very hungry and thirsty for the meals at our restaurant, which is like a little cafeteria.  Today at one meal I had 4 glasses of orange juice, but in doing so, went too far, for an announcement was made this evening that some people were behaving too much like “chazars” (pigs.)


I have gone to all our Hebrew lessons so far, but they are dull & unprofitable for me, & I may stop going.  It seems very foolish to me to come to Israel & have ordinary Hebrew lessons exactly the same as if one were anywhere else.  If they want to teach us Hebrew, why don’t they do it the natural way, take us out of doors, point to things and tell us their Hebrew names, etc.?


In theory, everyone in the Institute belongs to a Study Group, of which there are 4 main ones:  Religion, Education, Administration, and Social Services.  The idea of these groups is to give people a chance to investigate in detail one aspect of the State in which they are particularly interested.  Also there are 2 sittings for our meals, in theory, and the members of 2 of the Study Groups are supposed to go to the first sitting, & 2 to the second.  But these arrangements do not at all work out in practice.  Everyone (at least I know I do) simply goes to meals at the time most convenient for them, but there does not seem to be any trouble over this.  As for the Study Groups themselves, many people, like myself, are not particularly satisfied with any of them.  All I am really concerned with is going on visits to interesting places with likeable people.  And so I gravitate from one group to another, & nobody knows or cares. Today I went on a visit with the Administration  Study Group to the Jerusalem Law Courts These are housed in a building which once served Greek or Russian religious purposes.  We went into the District court-room for a while, and then into the High Court, but neither was very interesting.  The language was of course Hebrew, but in the District Court we heard a lawyer quoting in English what I supposed were English precedents on some procedural point.  In the High Court, all we heard was a Judge reading something aloud to about 5 people seated in the court. I don’t know what it was all about.  The most interesting thing to me about the visit was the variety of people and costumes we saw waiting in the corridor. I only wish I knew what costume came from what country.  There was one obvious Arab there with the usual head-dress and robes, another man in a long gown & wearing what looked like a fur cap in the shape of an inverted bucket, who I think came from Turkey.


After visiting the court-rooms, we went to the office of a Judge. who started to give a talk on the Israeli law system.  But this also was dull, & after a few minutes I decided to leave, for there was another place I wanted to visit.  The YMCA building, with its semi-oriental architecture, is very well-known in Jerusalem, especially because of the view from its tower.  I had enquired before, & learned that the tower was open to the public from 11 to 12:30.  So I now walked there from the Law-Courts, and learned that the visit to the tower was included in a conducted tour of the building, which cost 25 piastres.  This I took, & joined a group which went round with an English-speaking guide.  We saw the meeting-room, the museum, mostly of pottery, the concert hall etc.  But I was really only interested in going up the tower, which we did at last, up several staircases.  The view, though extensive, was not as grand as I had expected it to be.  I had hoped to see much more of the Old City than the view from the tower afforded.  But at least there was a good general view of the whole region.  On the whole, I think Jerusalem an ugly place, but not more so than any of the other towns & settlements I have seen in Israel.


This evening I went for a walk through an ultra-orthodox section of the town called Mea Shearim.  It is the appearance of the orthodox people which impresses me, the boys with long curls hanging down in front of their ears, the men & older boys wearing long dark-colored coats and round black hats with wide brims, the little boys wearing long dark shorts held up by braces [suspenders], and skiull- caps, and the boys and girls often wearing long stockings.  It may be my imagination, but these people never look very healthy to me, & are often thin.  The men often have beards, & frequently are seen carrying with them their large old prayer-books, and wearing some kind of prayer-shawl.  I would like to know more about these people, where they came from, & how their dress & customs came about.  I have heard that, although they know Hebrew very well, they speak only Yiddish, because they consider Hebrew a sacred tongue.  Again, I may have imagined this, but this evening I saw one of these Orthodox Jews waiting at a bus-stop, and when 2 loud-talking non-orthodox Jews approached him, I thought he stepped a little out into the road as if to avoid contact with them.

Our lectures today were rather disappointing.  This afternoon 2 men from the Bonds for Israel campaign spoke to us on the economy of Israel.  This evening, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, and the head of the Youth Department came & gave us some propaganda lectures on Zionism, which I only listened to with half an ear.  Then representatives of our different youth movements gave short talks on their impressions after a week in Israel.


Tuesday, July 14th, 1953

The most important event today was a tour I went on with a party, of several yeshivot  in Jerusalem.  A Yeshiva is, I believe, a religious school or college specializing in the study of the Talmud.  We went to about 4 different places, and I was both impressed and horrified by what I saw.  The first place we went to, located in the building  which was once the British Opthalmic Institute, was not very interesting.  All that seemed to be going on there was some sort of young people’s meeting, and I got tired, with some of the others, of listening to translations of a Hebrew talk about the place, being given to us by a man there.  But then we took a bus to a district called Mahane Yehuda and to places I will never forget, one school where we saw rows of little boys sitting at long classroom tables around the walls, chanting and rocking mechanically as they read from old worn prayer-books, and a bearded teacher walked up and down, leading the chanting and pointing out the places in the text.


To me, somehow this was the most horrible thing I had seen in Israel, these tiny large-eyed boys with their forelocks, skull caps, and long short trousers, who seemed almost afraid to look up at us as we came in, were in a way in-human to me. They did not seem real.  It was a relic of ages past.  But there were rooms full of them, and we were allowed to take photographs.  In another room there were older boys having some text explained to them, and then we went to another Yeshiva, where the uniform was different, and we were allowed to walk freely around rooms full of men and boys engaged in reading and discussion, almost everyone reading aloud and rocking back and forth as they read, some standing at worn reading-stands, some seated at tables.  It all seemed horribly unreal.  The noise of all the voices was loud and strange.  Girls were not allowed to enter the rooms, because they might distract the students, but we boys could go where we liked – and the students were so absorbed in their obscure studies that hardly any of them took any notice of us, even when we took photographs.


Then we went to another, more “modern” Yeshiva, where forelocks were not so much in evidence, and saw a strange black-bearded man, with a weird high-pitched voice, giving a lecture to a group of adult students standing about him, hardly any of whom, however, seemed to be listening to him.  One of these students was a young red-bearded man from England, who took us to the library & answered our questions about the place. All these students seem to study for long hours, 8 hours a day, & many become rabbis.


After we had seen these yeshivas, there was fierce discussion among some of the members of our group, some attacking what they had seen (like myself), others defending it, saying that such schools had held the Jew together through the centuries, that such studies sharpened the wits, and were not really worse than what went on in many other countries.  But my feeling was one constantly of incredulous revulsion.  The experience of seeing these places has however been most enlightening to me.


(Continuing July 15)

Compared with most people in the Institute, I get enough sleep without forgoing my breakfast in the morning. I usually manage to be asleep by 1 AM, and don’t wake up til about 7:30.  With this much sleep, I do not usually feel inordinately tired during the day – but it is still not as much sleep as I feel I ought to have.  As for other people, some of the people I came with from England are now definitely looking more tired and less healthy. Every night when I have retired to bed, I have made up my mind that I would take some action about the difficulty of getting to sleep early.  In the Institute, we have an elected committee, or Voad, which is supposed to deal with complaints.  I had approached several of the members, especially Sam Sherwin, who is leading the British group, about this, but heard nothing further about it.  So I decided that the only thing to do would be to contact Dr. Simon Herman, the South African who is the Director of the whole Institute, and this afternoon, during our usual 2-4 rest period, I sat down & wrote a letter to him explaining the situation, saying that I felt I needed at least 7 or 8 hours’ sleep a night, and begging him to use his authority to do something about it. I put the letter in an envelope, and gave it to one of our “madrichim” (leaders), a girl named Titsa, who said she would deliver it to Dr. Herman.  Afterwards she told me she had done so, and that something would be done about it.  This evening, when we were having supper, Eli, the man who leads the American party, made an announcement in the restaurant that complaints had been received about sleeping hours, and that in future there should be lights out and silence in the dormitories after 12 midnight.  But he did not say it very forcibly, and not everyone was there at the time.  What should have been done was to put up a notice & also make several announcements.  But anyway I got to sleep tonight not long after midnight.


This afternoon we had a symposium on Anglo-American settlers in Israel, in which various people talked about the difficulties & problems of people who come from places like England & the U.S. to settle in Israel. This symposium was poorly attended, and for much of the time I sat there not listening, but reading an American book called “Ticket to Israel.”  For some reason I felt uneasy & not altogether happy all day today.  This morning I went to the nearby building of the Jewish Agency & the office of Keren Kayemet to see if I could obtain a free map of agricultural settlements  in Israel, with a view to finding out the positions of various kibbutzim on which I might like to spend some time.  They gave me a very good map.


This evening I made a mistake, and accompanied most of the English group to a function of the kind I never enjoy, a “stand-up-and-talk” party.  The idea was that the different members of the Institute went to different places to be entertained by people of their own nationalities. The place we went to was a former Arab house in the district called the German Colony, now the home of a Mr. Shaw.  All English people were there, & there were plentiful refreshments.  We were supposed to stand on the verandah & in the hall & just talk to people.  No doubt there were some very interesting people there, but I could not bring myself to get into a conversation with anyone at all, & felt hot & unhappy.  Finally I just sat in the garden there, with 2 of our boys named Henry & Herbert, & talked with them.  Herbert studies biochemistry at Regent Street Polytechnic, & had been to Israel before.  He told me how he had once hitch-hiked to Eylat on the Red Sea.  This trip to Eylat across the desert was one that I was hoping very much to make in Israel;  but the Institute will not be going there.  But Herbert says he may be going there again, & I told him I would like to come with him..  But to hitch-hike there sounds very difficult & chancy to me.    I bought 10 postcards today.




Wednesday, July 15, 1953.

(3 PM) This morning the Social Science Study Group, comprising a busload of people, went on a visit to an immigrant camp named Maabarat Castel.  (9:36 PM)  It was the first time I had seen such a place close up.  This settlement of wooden and metal huts on a hillside is located in the “Jerusalem Corridor,” on a secondary road near a hill called Castel.  The immigrants living there came from, I think, Persia, Kurdistan, and Morocco.  They looked generally dirty & untidy, but the women often wore colorful long clothes.  The camp houses, I think, 2500 people, & we visited its mothers’ clinic, staffed by 2 nurses, and its school-rooms, and heard talks about the place.  The facilities are inadequate, but it seems that, in comparison with their former situation in their old countries, these immigrants are quite well off.  After yesterday’s yeshivas (q.v.) it was heartening to see today in this camp’s classrooms a smiling woman teacher leading the children in happy songs accompanied by motions, and showing to us their paintings and models etc.


Then we went to a kibbutz in the corridor near the north border called Maole Chamisha.  Here we again met David Ron, who is connected with our Institute, and teaches at a school there.  The main point of interest of this kibbutz was the Eddie Cantor Institute (named after the famous American entertainer who aided and opened it) which is an Institute of Youth Aliyah, the organization for bringing young immigrants, mostly orphans, into the country.  We were given a talk about the place & saw some of the children at play.  I walked about the kibbutz for a while myself, and felt that, after my experience on July 11 (q.v.) I must visit the cowshed, which I did, & found it not much different from the one at Tel Yitzchak.


These visits were to me not as interesting as I thought they could be, because too much time was spent at them just sitting in rooms listening to speakers, rather than walking around them and seeing for ourselves.


We returned to Jerusalem for lunch, & then in the late afternoon went on another excursion, this time to the Machon Lasker, a Hadassah (American Women’s Zionist organization) Clinic for Mental Hygiene and Child Guidance.  Here again, almost all our time was spent listening to a talk about the Clinic and its work by an American member of its staff.  It seems to be a very advanced and experimental type of clinic, specializing in the relations between mothers and their young children.  After this, one of our leaders, the Israeli girl named Titza, invited us all to the apartment nearby, where she lives with her family, for tea.  It was a very fine well-furnished place, & the cups in which we were given our tea were like soup-bowls with handles


I am beginning to grow tired of the food in our restaurant.  Too much is served which I don’t like.


Thursday, July 16, 1953 (written July 17)

I feel that my diary writing has of late been deteriorating from tiredness and lack of time, but there seems to be no immediate hope of improvement.  My days are so busy, and the climate so oppressive, that even when I have some free time (and there is a 2 hour rest period on most days) I just do not feel like writing, or doing anything else.


Today was a very full and wearying day in the Summer Institute, but I didn’t enjoy it. It consisted of visits to various places in the “Jerusalem Corridor” (the mountainous salient of land which connects Jerusalem with the main body of Israel) connected with the Jewish National Fund.


Nothing ever starts on time in this Institute.  If a lecture or excursion is scheduled to start at 8 o’clock, it will surely not begin until 8:15.  One of the greatest disadvantages of the Institute, especially as far as excursions go, is the great number of people.  The Institute numbers over 200 people, and an excursion like today’s fills 4 buses..  This means that everything goes slowly, because we must always wait for the slowest.  Also, it is always difficult for everyone to hear what the guide is saying, and in general things are much worse than if we were only a small group.


But another reason for my discontent is that I still have no real friend.  My happiest time today was this evening in the shower-room, when all the people there had a loud shower concert of songs we knew.


The bus I was on had small windows for observation, but I was lucky to sit at the front, so did not suffer much from this. We were accompanied by a Mrs. Silman, an English woman who works for the J.N.F. [Jewish National Fund] and sometimes acted as our guide.  I talked with her on our way back, and when I said I had no relatives in Israel, she invited me to come sometime to her house.


Our first visit was to a kibbutz called Palmach Suba, about which the most interesting thing was that it had been founded by people who had fought in the war against the Arabs, on the ground upon which it was built.  We travelled quite extensively around the Corridor, & I saw many places I had seen before.  We went again along the “Road of Courage,” and our driver sang us through his microphone the song “Bab el Wad,” which commemorates how people died on convoys passing along this road.


Another impression I am getting of Israel is that it is just one great battlefield, and that, as long as there are wars in the world, there will be wars in Palestine.  For it is one of the most desirable regions in the world.  It is a commonplace observation that Israel today is a land of borders. I don’t think one is further than 20 miles from a border anywhere in the country – and the strategic importance of the places we visit is always highly emphasized.


We went to a tree nursery at Eshtaol, and then to a kibbutz called Nach Shon, right on the border, where we could stand on a hilltop and look towards the settlement of Latrun, now in Arab hands, which controls a section of the former main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Not far away we could see an Arab pillbox, and we were surely being watched by many eyes. We were instructed not to take photographs or look through binoculars, for there was a danger that we might be shot at. But I did take a photograph, & I don’t think there was much danger, for, according to a story I heard this evening, an actual attempt was made by the Jews to provoke the Arabs there to a “border incident,” so that they would have had an excuse for recapturing Latrun, but the Arabs, led by a perspicacious British commander, did not snatch the bait.


One of the worst features of today’s outing was that we did not go anywhere for lunch, but were given very poor box-lunches to take with us.  These consisted of a hard-boiled egg, a tomato, and 3 cheese sandwiches.  But since I do not like tomatoes or cheese, I had even less to eat than the other people. [I don’t know when I started to eat & like cheese – but I still don’t like tomatoes.]  We stopped to eat lunch at strategically very important hill-top moshav called Beit Meir, whence there was a very extensive view of the coastal plain.  We were told that the people here have to waste much of their time on guard duty every night.  Here we were given some plums, but many of us wondered, while hungrily eating them, whether they would give us shilshul (diarrhoea.)


Our next visit was to the town of Abu Gosh on the main road, an all-Arab town, where we first went to a very old French monastery, where an old French monk seems to live in the large place all by himself.  He told us that this spot had been inhabited for the last 6000 years – but we did not see much of interest, apart from an old bathing-spring inside the building, whence we were given glasses of fine cool water to drink, a Roman inscription of the 10th Legion, and a Crusader’s tomb. Then went to a restaurant, & were given small cups of Arab coffee, but I did not like it, & left mine.  I was disappointed that we did not learn & see more of Arab life.


Our last afternoon visit was to the kibbutz Moale Hachamisha where I went yesterday with the Social Services Study Group – but this time David Ron (who was the man who accompanied us on the ship from Marseilles) took us round & showed us more of the kibbutz.  This place was only 5 years old, but we were particularly impressed by its “civilized” aspect, the lawns and paths and flowers, and attractive homes, but most of all by the part of the kibbutz known as the “resort,” which is actually a kind of rest-home holiday place, which the kibbutz maintains as a profit-making venture, to which people come from all over Israel for a quiet holiday.  The dining room here was very fine.


After the evening supper & shower, there was this evening yet another outing, though only a very short distance, to the Jewish Agency building at the corner of our road, where we were the guests of the Jewish National Fund, sat in their board-room, saw the “golden books,” containing the names of people in whose honor contributions of $100 or more have been made to the Jewish National Fund.  Then we visited the “Herzl Room,” a reproduction of Herzl’s room in Vienna, containing many interesting objects.  Also we saw some films about kibbutz life, & the plan for draining the Huleh swamp.


By the time all this was over, about 11 PM, I wanted only to go to sleep, but, to my miserable rage, several of the American boys again went on laughing & joking until 1 AM.


Friday, July 17, 1953

(11:45 AM)  Probably because I was so tired last night, & kept up so late, I overslept this morning for the first time, did not wake up until 8:30 AM, & thus missed my breakfast, which most grieved me.  But I decided not to buy food outside, but suffer in silence until lunch-time.  I attended a lecture on Education in Israel, but listened with only half an ear, for I have been all the time during it writing my diary.


This afternoon there is to be a cricket match between members of the English Group of the Institute and the team of the British Society of Jerusalem.  I assured the selectors that I know how to play Cricket, and have been put down in the team, but am fearful of how poorly I may do.


(Continuing  now July 18)  The cricket match was a most interesting affair.  Our opponents were the Hitachdut Olei Britannia, and the match was announced yesterday in the “Jerusalem Post,” the only English-language paper in Israel, which many of us read, & quite a good paper.


Our team was taken by taxi, escorted by Mr.Silman, who had organized the game, who was to be the referee, and also to play for our opponents.  He is the husband of the woman who went with us on our tour yesterday, a Yorkshireman who spoke at machine-gun speed, & apparently wanted to impress us with the way he had organized everything, providing equipment & drinks etc.  We had to share the taxi fare.  The Club against which we were playing was formed only 2 weeks ago.  Its members, people from Britain & the Commonwealth now resident in Israel, had none of them played cricket for some tme.


The “cricket pitch” [playing area] itself was really a joke.  It was on Katamon Sports Ground, which was just a level brown stony field, surrounded by trees, streets, & buildings.  But there was a clubhouse nearby, & some tennis courts, which I think belonged to the British of the Mandatory period.


I had been afraid that my poor skill at cricket would  disgrace me, but it soon became apparent that our game was to be of a very low standard.  Apart from the factors already mentioned, some of our opponents were more than twice our age.  Because the Sabbath would begin this evening, our game had to be shortened, & the innings for each side limited to about 1 ¼ hours.  The sun was strong, & I wore my pith helmet while I was fielding.  We all wore some kind of head-gear, & hardly anyone had the regulation cricket “whites.”  The toss-up decided that we were to field first , and so, after some practicing, the game began. It was the first time I had played cricket for over a year, and, despite its semi-farcical nature, it was probably the most important game I have ever been in. We had not enough men to make a team. At first, we were going to use Joan, the English girl from Cambridge, in the team but it was eventually decided instead to borrow a South African boy from the other side, and to enroll also an American boy from the Summer Institute named Jonathan, to whom we had to explain the rules of the game.


Cricket must be an extreme rarity in Israel, but only a few people came to watch.  Among them were 2 or 3 American boys from the Summer Institute, who wanted to see what cricket was like, & take photographs


We fielded first & my position was “long on,” but I had very little to do.  We got our opponents all out, just within the allotted time, for 84 runs.  The batting of some of the younger men was not bad, but we had some good bowlers & fielding.  Between the innings, there were cold drinks and a rest for members of the teams, and more welcome drinks later on.


I had been placed 5th on the batting list, but our first batsmen did so well that I wondered if I would have a chance to bat at all.  Herbert Marx from Manchester made I think over 30 runs.  But at last I did get an innings, when our score stood at about 72, & I made 3 runs off a very poor bowler, and was not out when 4 byes gave us the match, which we thus won by 7 wickets.  Afterwards photographs were taken, & we returned by bus to our Gymnasium.


Normally I take 3 showers a day here, but today I took 4.  In this I think I am different from most boys here. Why is it that I behave so differently when away from my life at home?  Here, frequent showers are a pleasure.  At home a weekly bath is a tedious necessity.  Here, I try to go to bed early and rise early.  At home it is just the opposite.  The tragedy of it all is that I know I can continue this better way of life only as long as I am away from home.  When I return, I know I will lapse as always into bad old ways.


This evening I saw my first Shabbat (Sabbath) in Jerusalem, and I had good opportunity for observing its many aspects.  Returning home from the game, we saw some bearded men in long black silky robes wearing large round furry hats getting onto our bus.  They were on their way to Synagogue, but could still take a bus because Shabbat had not yet begun.  For the rest of the evening, these men were a familiar sight.  Their origin, I think, is Eastern European, & it was explained to me that in the places they came from, these clothes were the best obtainable, and so came to have a religious significance for Sabbath finery.  But we saw other men of different origin, who wore more fez-like headgear and striped gowns.


Our supper was not to be until 8:30 PM, and before then, it had been considerately arranged for us to go on tours of different kinds of synagogues.  Most of us were most interested in the Yemenite  synagogues, and so we were taken to these first.  One was just a small room filled with men & boys.  But some of us were found places, & we stayed for a short while.  I know little about synagogues & their services, albeit my Washington life was closely connected with a religious organization, & I think I rarely missed a Shabbat service.  I respect and almost envy a person who has a true religious belief and faith, especially if this is apparent in the goodness of his life.  But the chanting and rocking of bodies in synagogues, the prayer-shawls and ornamental scrolls etc. seem all so foreign and primitive to me that I can have no subjective sympathy with them.  I have been surprised to find how much this sort of thing is bound up with the lives of many of the English and American boys in the Institute.  Some of them, I have noticed, wear a special tasseled under-garment, or have fringes at the corners of their vests. But this sort of thing seems totally incompatible with the dirty songs of which many of them are so fond.  Still I think it remarkable when an American boy from Mississippi told how he travels sometimes 20 or 80 miles in order to go to synagogue.


The next Yemenite synagogue we visited was larger and more interesting.  Here, in a room below the level of the street, so that people walking by on the sidewalk could look down at us through the windows, we saw strong oriental influence.  There were no chairs, but only low benches and couches around the walls, covered with brightly striped material.  One old man squatted barefoot on a couch.  The chanting of prayers had a definite unmelodious oriental sound to it.  Of course all the people there were dark-skinned, and the children often had large beautiful eyes.


After this, we paid a call at a dimly-lit Sephardi synagogue, where beards & unusual clothing were not much in evidence; and finally we saw a youth service of the Bnai Akiba synagogue, in which the ages seemed to range from about 5 to 20, and even the leader of the congregation was only a boy – being held for some reason in the open air.  In all the synagogues we saw, the women were separated from the men, often by a close grill or lattice-work.


For the first time in Jerusalem, we did not have our meal at the Students’ Restaurant, but went instead to a much finer place, the Rehavia Café, where most sat at long tables, and some in side-nooks.  I was in one of the latter with a boy & girl from the States & a young man named Ben from Australia, & our seats were sprung, & very comfortable.  We had quite a good meal, by Israeli standards, & it was my second meat meal in Israel, although the chicken (?) we were given was almost all bones.  There was soup, salad, potatoes, jellied fish, bread, orange & grapefruit juice (I had 2 glasses of orange juice & one of grapefruit, although I didn’t like the latter) & fruit salad.  I did not have the salad or fruit salad.  We were sitting very close to the small unoccupied table where Rabbi David Weiss, the young man who with his wife is taking part in the Institute, pronounced the blessing over the chola (bread) and wine, and we were able to commandeer the whole chola, which was the best bread we had had in Israel.  After this meal, we felt very full & tired, & I & Leon, the boy from Mississippi who was sitting next to me, almost fell asleep.


This was a sort of religious gathering, & one man led the people in different Hebrew songs, but I felt that, if it was to be such an occasion, there should have been in evidence the only Sabbath symbol  which I associate with my own home – candles on the table.


Most of the members of the Summer Institute, especially the Americans, have attended some sort of Hebrew educational establishment or club:  many of them speak Hebrew well, and they all seem to know many Hebrew songs, into which they burst at the slightest opportunity. I am coming to know these songs, but, for some reason, do not like to join in with the others.  The other day, when they sang a song called “Shalom Chaverim,” (Goodbye, Friends) it struck a chord in my memory, & I think we must have sung it at Hebrew School in Washington.


After the post-prandial singing, we had a meeting in an adjacent room which took the form of an Oneg Shabbat.  I am still not exactly sure what this term means, but it seems to apply to meetings  held on Shabbat to sing songs, have talks, & discuss Judaic subjects.  In this meeting there was a symposium consisting of 2 speakers on the subject of Religion in Israel. The procedure was simply that members of the audience asked questions on this subject, & each speaker gave his reply.  I’m sorry I did not catch the names of the speakers, because the symposium was very interesting, & their views were strongly opposed.  One speaker, who had a black beard, spoke only in Hebrew, because his English was not good, and had to be translated at intervals.  His was an Orthodox viewpoint, though I would not call it extremist.  The other man, who spoke quite good English & was I think a bio-chemist, though very learned in Judaism, was strongly anti-Orthodox.  When I asked my question , “What place have the Yeshivot  (religious schools) in the modern world?” he quickly interjected, “No place at all,” – but his viewpoint was not really much closer to mine than that of the other speaker – for he seemed to be strongly nationalist, and to consider the State as the highest authority.


It was almost midnight when I returned to the Gymnasium, and I had an urgent call to make – to the lavatory.  Shilshul  (diarrhea)_seemed to have caught up with me at last.  I had a shower before going to bed.

Saturday, July 18, 1953

(3  PM) This being Shabbat, we were allowed to sleep a little later this morning.  Breakfast was available til 9, & I did not get up until 8 o’clock.  A rapid visit to the lavatory confirmed last night’s suspicion that I had diarrhea, & I wondered what could have caused it.  It could be a direct result of last night’s large late meal – or more likely it is a delayed action effect of my drinking too much water, & perhaps the plums on July 16 had something to do with it as well.  Since this morning’s call, I have paid only one other, but I am obviously not in perfect health.  A nurse is supposed to be on duty, for members of the Summer Institute, in the Eleanor Rothschild School  building, close to the Rehavia Gymnasium, where some of the people are staying.  I went to her office at 9:30 AM, but it was locked.  I felt annoyed.  I saw the nurse in our restaurant at lunch-time, & she asked me to come again at 2 PM. I did so, & it is in her room that I have written much of yesterday’s, & this much of today’s, entry.  She has told me she is busy & asked me to wait.  I have been waiting over an hour now.  Once she came in with a doctor.  I told him I thought I had Shilshul, and his first question was “How many times?” I told him 3.  After looking at my tongue, he & the nurse went away.


At 11 o’clock this morning I was one of a party from the Summer Institute who were taken on a visit to the home of Rabbi Hertzog, the Chief Rabbi of Israel. (At this point, I was interrupted by the return of the nurse)_

(8:20 PM)  Our Gymnasium headquarters are very well situated.  We are near the homes of the President & Chief Rabbi, near the Knesset & Jewish Agency, not far from town, from the YMCA & King David Hotel.  This fine home was only about 2 minutes’ walk away, & our party was received in the dining room by the bearded old Rabbi in a black silk gown, sitting at the head of a table on which were wine & biscuits to be passed around.  He spoke English well, but much of the time was spent in what seemed to me the foolish manner of everyone standing around the table & singing Hebrew songs, while the Rabbi just sat & listened impassively.  But he did give a short friendly address, in which he looked forward to the ingathering of more exiles, the spiritual influence of the new Israel upon the world, and even to the rebuilding of the Temple.


For much of today I felt tired, but otherwise had little pain or discomfort.  The nurse, when she came back, gave me some pills & tea, told me what to eat (dry bread etc.) and what not (fruit, vegetables etc.)  If my shilshul is not gone by tomorrow, I may have an unpleasant time, for we are going on an all-day tour to Tel Aviv.  Today was the least eventful day I have spent in Israel.  This is due partly to my illness, partly to the poorness of today’s program, but mainly to my own lack of initiative.  There are many things I want to do – letters to write, places & people to visit, but I just never feel like doing them.  But anyway, Shabbat is supposed to be a day of rest, & most things, including public transport, close down completely.  Yesterday we saw a little man in long black clothes walking around the streets with a horn, which he blew to announce the approach of the Sabbath.


Apart from facts about the State of Israel, I am learning, as time goes on, much about the Jewish religion, and becoming more tolerant about certain features.  For instance, I have begun to realize the importance of the Sabbath as a day set apart from ordinary days, and it seems somehow pleasant to me to see people shaking hands and saying “Shabbat Shalom,” instead of just “Shalom.”  And I liked the little ceremony in which I took part just a short while ago in the Gymnasium, which I have never seen before, in which the close of the Sabbath is commemorated with the reading of a prayer, the holding high of a candle, and the dancing in a ring.  At the close of the Sabbath, the streets become full of people.


But I have had little opportunity to observe the keeping of the Sabbath today, for I have wasted much time here in the Gymnasium, & have been feeling most of the time tired & bored.  For some reason, boys today broke many of the windows at one side of the Gymnasium by throwing stones at them.


Yesterday I went to the Jewish Agency Department of Missing Relatives, hoping that I would be able to trace the location of Jacob Firston, Mummy’s cousin, with whom I stayed in Belgium in 1950, who we know emigrated with his wife Elsa to Israel, but who has not written to us since then.  I told the man as much as I knew about Jacob, but it seems I did not know enough.  I didn’t know his age or birthplace or parents’ names etc.  So they gave me a form requiring these particulars, & I will send it home for my parents to fill in.  The man there said it is not true that the State kept a record of everyone coming into the country – but this is hard to believe.


I have spent some time today talking with Julie (Julius) Levine, a 22 year old boy from Brooklyn, studying engineering, who is in my dormitory.  He is quite a likeable friendly boy, but we do not see eye to eye on many religious and political matters, which, however, is of course not a bad thing.


(Continuing July 19)  In the evening I went for a walk with some people from the English group, Michael Fox and Sheila Israel, who are always together, John Gross, the Oxford boy, Daphne, Michael’s cousin, and Henry Wanderer, a large tall boy with incredibly sloping shoulders.   We walked in the busy center of town, went into a café, & I had a glass of hot tea.  But, although they have not known each other any longer than I have known them, I just did not seem to fit in with them & came back before they did, had my shower, & went to bed.


Sunday, July 19, 1953

It is not yet 8:30 PM, but I am tired & weary, for today I have been on another organized “tiyul” (tour) and this sort of travel with the Summer Institute is for me one of the most exhausting of activities.


Up at 6:30 AM, & anxious to determine the condition of my shilshul (see yesterday.)  At first I thought I had got rid of it, but it has remained with me in a mild form throughout the day.  I have visited the beit kisay [toilet] only twice, but have had very slight brief stomach pains at various times.


Our journey today was by bus to Tel Aviv.  I had been looking forward to it, as I had yet scarcely seen Tel Aviv, but our day was disappointing, and I was generally unhappy..  I have been just a little careful of my diet, eating dry bread & tea when possible, but just could not reject taboo-ed delights like meetz (orange juice) and ice cream when they were offered to me.  The greatest disappointment of the day was that, although we had been told beforehand that we would have an opportunity of bathing in the sea at Tel Aviv, and I took my towel and bathing trunks, this decision was later reversed by our madrichim (leaders) for what they called “health reasons.”  They said that the strong sun might affect us.  In general, I think the standard of the madrichim is one of the better points of the Summer Institute, but they do annoying things like this sometimes.  I was particularly looking forward to a swim, for I, like many others, felt most unpleasantly the greater humidity of Tel Aviv which made me feel sticky all the time.  Sometimes I went about with my shirt off or unbuttoned.  Moreover these past few days, according to the “Jerusalem Post,” have been unusually hot all over the Middle East.


One reason why I like reading the “Jerusalem Post” is that there are so many things in it in which I can feel some sort of subjective interest.  Today, for instance, there were articles about Chief Rabbi Hertzog whom I saw yesterday, & about more students arriving on the SS “Jerusalem,” on which I came.


Religious fanaticism is still very strong in Jerusalem.  I was very sorry that I missed, the other evening, a demonstration of hysterical religious women outside the Knesset building, which many members of the Institute saw, against some bill being debated concerning the conscription of women into the army, which had eventually to be dispersed with hoses.  Also I have heard people talk about the way cars are booed, and sometimes stoned, when they pass through the Orthodox sections on Shabbat.  John Grant saw this, but said the crowd did not boo when an ambulance went past.


This present holiday of mine is I know a failure, compared with any other trip I have taken in the past 3 years.  The reason is that on all previous trips I have to a large extent been able to leave all my troubles and personal difficulties behind me, especially as regards my relationships with other people.  But on this occasion I have brought them with me, and suffer from all the feelings of uneasiness and inferiority which plague my life at home.  The fault is my own, for not heeding the suspicions and exhortations of my heart of hearts, which warned me that I could never be happy in an organized group – and now for lacking the courage to break away and strike out on my own.  I keep telling myself that things may get better, and I may have better opportunities for doing what I want to do – but I know it is unlikely.


This morning was the first time I had made the direct journey between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  But we did not at first go right into Tel Aviv, but drove around the districts to the south, called Holon, Bat Yam, and Jaffa.  In the 2 former places, it was very evident that the land consisted only of sand dunes.  It was the first time I had seen so many buildings built upon sand.  As always, there were many open spaces everywhere.  We stopped for drinks at a café, & it was then that I first noticed the high humidity.  Some of our Hebrew-speaking people got into discussion with some men at the café.  One man said, I think, that he had left a good job in Turkey to come to Israel, & now he was unemployed for half the time, & could not properly feed his children.  Someone I think also said that there is definite discrimination against Sephardi  Jews as far as employment is concerned.


In Jaffa, the old Arab town, we saw many ruins created by the 1948 struggle, when the Jews tried several times to capture the town before they succeeded.

Our first call in Tel Aviv was at a large dairy cooperative.  By the time we arrived there to be shown around, most of us were hot, hungry, & thirsty – and I for one was interested – far more than in all the various mechanical processes we were shown, the purifying of milk, the cleaning of cans & bottles, the making of butter & cheese etc., interesting as these things were – in the prospect that, at the end of our conducted tour of the place, we might be given some free milk.  (I remembered a similar tour , in April 1952, of  the Guiness Brewery in Dublin, & the free samples which unfortunately I did not like.)  My hopes were amply rewarded, for at last we were taken to the dairy dining-room, where we were provided with cups & jugs of cold milk.  There was enough for us to have as much as we wanted.  Apart from on cereals & in tea, I had not had any milk in Israel, & this was a very welcome treat.  We all enjoyed it very much, but I had only 2 cupsful because I was afraid that more might increase my illness.  But Michael Fox told me that he had 5 or 6 cups.  The only trouble with this treat was its timing, for directly afterwards we went to have lunch.


Our lunch was at the fine new building of the Zionist Organization of America.  The building was a beautiful place & had a fine outdoor  theater, but I think what most attracted and was most welcome to us were the fine American-style washrooms and lavatories.  In our hot dusty state, there were cries of “God Bless America!” even from the English people.  We ate at long tables in the main portion of the building, & had quite a good set meal of soup, bread, salad, peas & beans & a sort of mushroom cake.  It was after this meal that the most unwelcome announcement was made that we would not be able to go swimming. Instead, we were given a choice between visiting the parks & gardens of Ramat Gan, and going to a “Children’s Village” at a place called Romana, north of Tel Aviv.  I chose the latter, but it was typical of the kind of visits we make in the Summer Institute. It was a children’s settlement, fostered, I think, by the Mizrachi Women of America, but we saw very few children there.  Instead we were shown round empty buildings & given explanatory talks by adult officials of the place.  It was interesting to hear how these children, mostly orphans, were allowed to run their own affairs, were mixed up so as to have all different nationalities & age groups living together, and to be shown the shops where they are taught various skills & trades like woodwork, metalwork, & shoemaking – but it all seemed so hollow, with the children (whose ages are from 10-17) themselves not there.


We returned to Tel Aviv, where this time we were guests for a meal in another pleasant building, this time I think the headquarters of the American Mizrachi Women (I do not know exactly what this is.)  Here we were given ice cream, orange juice, & biscuits, but did not stay very long, only long enough to hear 2 typical Zionist speeches from 2 of the women there.


After this, it was back to Jerusalem, & we had seen very little of Tel Aviv. But on the way back we drove through what I think was the center of town, & I got a good idea what the city is like – busy, crowded, large, new ((none is older than 35 years) with balconied, square-cornered concrete apartment-houses everywhere.


I felt unhappy, because alone on the ride back to Jerusalem.  The hills are very rocky, & sometimes the layers of rock indicate the actual contours of the hills.  The few settlements look strange & unpleasant when they have no trees.  After supper I returned right to the Gymnasium.



Monday, July 20 1953 (written July 21)

The shilshul from which I suffered on the last 2 days seems to have been a very mild form, for by today it was a thing of the past, But I have kept off raw fruits & vegetables, & had plenty of tea.  Hitherto I have never liked tea without milk, but since it is often served that way in our student restaurant (“Mensa”) I have now acquired a taste for it.


As usual, I felt generally tired today.  I never really get enough sleep.  Next weekend I will have free, but I don’t know what I will be doing then.  This morning I wrote a postcard to Jacob Salamon, the man who many years ago was a friend of Daddy’s when they shared “digs” in London.  Jacob is now a famous lawyer here, & living in Haifa.  Daddy wrote to him before I left, saying I would be coming, but we received no reply, at least not while I was still in England.  On my card, I said I would like to come up & visit him, & asked if next weekend would be convenient.  It would be very nice to receive from him an invitation to stay with him, but I am chiefly worried that I have not written early enough, for there may not be time for his reply to arrive before Friday.


We had a symposium at the Gymnasium this morning, on the different forms of agricultural settlements in Israel, with different people speaking about the kibbutz, the different kinds of moshavim, and the religious settlements.  I think, when the 2-week work period comes, I would like to spend mine on an ultra-socialistic kind of kibbutz.


There are some good points about our Mensa meals, and some bad.  On the credit side, we can usually have second or third helpings of anything we like.  Margarine, bread, & jam are always in plentiful supply.  There is always tea or orange juice or cocoa to drink.  But the food is often unappetizing, especially the cakey desserts and bowls of very watery fruit juice that are often given.  We never have milk to drink, & rarely have eggs.  On the whole, however, I would say that these food facilities are one of the better features of the Institute, and I always look forward to my meals.


The streets of Jerusalem are full of “characters,” – people in odd clothes, women carrying bundles on their heads, ragged men selling chocolate & cigarettes. (Incidentally, I always wonder that the chocolate, though wrapped, does not melt.)  There are a great many outdoor tradesmen\ -- bookstands selling mostly cheap American books – “general stores,” which sell all kinds of things, like combs, mirrors, & sandals etc.  Often I want to take photographs of people & things I see, but I haven’t the energy even to get out my camera (for I hate carrying my camera slung around my neck.)


This afternoon there was nothing scheduled for the Institute (which incidentally is called in Hebrew the Machon Kayitz) so I decided to go for a walk by myself.  It was very hot, & I took with me, besides my ever-present shoulder-bag, my pith helmet & water-bottle.  When I started out from London with my pith helmet, many people laughed at me & said it would be inappropriate. But I have found that such headgear, though not common, is not unknown in Israel, and my helmet has served me well, though it does have a tendency to blow off in a strong wind.  Indeed, I have had the last laugh, for I know of at least 2 other boys in the Institute who have bought such helmets since they have been in Israel – but the quality of theirs is better than that of mine.

The new city of Jerusalem has few places of great historical or aesthetic interest, which are the kind which tend most to attract me, but I had heard of a place called the “Tombs of the Judges,” in the district known as Sanhedria. I did not know exactly what this was, but decided to go there. An American boy named Paul told me he had been there, and advised me to take a flashlight – So I borrowed one, and set off.


I walked all the way to Sanhedria, in the extreme NW of the city.  (The thought has just occurred to me that I have seen not a single statue in Israel, apart from a large figure of a Madonna, atop the monastery at Abu Ghosh. This I suppose is because of the Biblical law about “graven images.”)  On the way, I paused in the shade of a small isolated building, & lay down in some convenient wood-shavings there, hoping that I might be able to sleep for a while. But there were too many flies about.


When going on walks like this, I often regret that I have no guide to accompany me & explain the many things which puzzle me. I would like especially to know what districts are settled by people from what countries.  I have heard that the different nationalities in Jerusalem built their settlements in the style of their native architecture.  But this is not so obvious to me.


I had some difficulty in finding the Tombs. Either the 1942 map I use is very inaccurate, or some astonishing changes have occurred in the layout of Jerusalem in the past 10 years, for I never seem to be able to follow it exactly.  When I did find the place, after asking directions from a woman who spoke French, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Tombs located in a new and well-kept garden.  But, like most gardens in this country, it had no flowers or grass lawns.


There were several groups of tombs, and I explored 3 of them.  They are, I believe, about 2000 years old, and were the tombs of the members of the Sanhedrin, or governing body of the country.  The tombs are cut right into the rock face.  The entrances are very small square holes, through which it is necessary to crawl on hands & knees. This leads into a bare chamber, off which lead slightly larger openings into other square bare chambers, in whose sides are the coffin-shaped holes leading off at right-angles, in which the bodies were placed.  There are no inscriptions, but the ceilings were full of marks & writing, which looked as if had been made with the black smoke of candles.  I suspected that this was modern.  On the walls there were myriad tiny flies.


After inspecting the tombs, I lay down for a long time on a shady bench, but still could not get to sleep.  Then I took a hot and prickly walk over the hills opposite the tombs.  This was right on the Arab border, & I could see many signs of fighting – trenches, fox-holes, pill-boxes etc.  Walking was difficult because of the prickly plants everywhere.


When I returned to the town, I had used up all my water, and was very thirsty.  So I bought wonderful glasses of orange juice at the first 2 places I saw selling it.  I am glad it is so cheap.


In my long walk back to the Gymnasium, I passed through a part of the town where there were many little workshops open to the street.  Often children were assisting in them.  It was strange to see a bearded man with his skull cap & long curls blowing industriously at a welding blow-pipe in one shop, but I am becoming accustomed to such sights.

I also re-visited the district called Mea Sheorim (Hundred Gates) and this time saw the aspect of it which I should have seen before.  Instead of walking along the main streets, I went into the large courtyards which the houses surround.  Here it was like a world apart, and from the buildings and clothes of the people, one could imagine oneself to be in an old European Jewry.  All the shops faced into this courtyard, and people were going busily to & fro.  I sat on the steps of a Yeshiva next to a ragged dirty fat man lying asleep.


In one part there was a row of prayer-rooms, and men were standing outside calling “Mincha, Mincha!” (the word for the required ten people to hold a service.)  I saw a man collecting peel from garbage cans.  Jerusalem is full of surprises – but I would recommend this part of Mea Shearim as one of the real sights of the town. How long can it go on like this?


Today was the Eve of Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, on which Jews throughout the world lament the national calamities of the destruction of the Temple (first & second) and also, I think, the expulsion from Spain in 1492.  This was all I knew about it until today – and even this, I learned only recently.  But tonight I went with a party to a synagogue service, and afterwards to Mount Zion, and saw for myself how this festival is commemorated.


The synagogue we went to was one of the old Yishuv, i.e. of the people who have been living here for many generations, before the advent of Zionism.  Here I saw that the men & boys (the women were in a separate place above) were sitting on the floor, or on low benches turned upside down as a sign of mourning.  They wore the costumes I have so frequently seen in the streets, the long dark clothes, the beards & curls etc.  I understand that it is the custom to put out the lights during this service, & to read by the light of candles, but in this place they apparently compromised, & just turned off some of the lights.  In the synagogue I witnessed the most amazing thing I have so far seen in Israel.  Unfortunately I did not at the time understand exactly what was going on, so my account must be a composite of what I then saw and what I learned afterwards.


There were many little boys in the synagogue, some of them trying to follow the service in books, but many having apparently little interest in it.  Part of the service consisted of the reading of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by a single man.  He did it, I thought, very well indeed, for, though I could not understand what he was saying, it sounded as if he were really weeping all the time.  Unfortunately, I never saw this man, though I looked very carefully to try and spot him.  I think he must have been hidden in a corner behind some other man.


I had been lucky to get a seat on an upturned bench.  The other boys had had to sit on the floor.  There was an old man sitting next but one to me.  He had a white beard, & wore small broken glasses, which were fastened to his ear with a piece of string.  In the midst of the service, he suddenly became very agitated, started shouting out in Yiddish (the language of these people) and waving his stick at the children in the synagogue.  I did not realize what was happening, but it seems the children had been throwing things at him!  The things were olives, or some other hard fruit, and he had not been the only victim, for some of our boys told me afterwards they had been hit.  But the most surprising thing of all was that the children were organized in this activity by adults!  I greatly regret that I did not perceive more of what was going on than actually I did.  I did gradually realize that the children were doing something wrong, but at first I thought the old man was complaining simply because they were making a noise and moving about.  No doubt they were not all guilty.  The old man finally resumed his seat – but a short time later, he was up again, hurling out curses (I learned afterwards that among many other things he had mentioned pigs and Jesus) so loud that this time the singer had to stop.  Everyone tried to shush the old man, but it was no use – he was obviously furious.  But the children did not seem to be afraid of him, and most of them looked very innocent.


Again the old man finally resumed his seat & went back to his book, to which he had clipped a clothes-peg to keep his place.  But a few minutes later he was up again, and this time there was no holding him.  Three little boys were sitting on the floor near him.  He raised his stick, and knocked 3 of them on the head, but not very hard, though the people tried to restrain him.  At this, all the children in the synagogue stampeded out of his range, and he chased after them.  It was very funny to see, but astonishing on such a solemn occasion.  After this, the children kept their distance, and the old man did not get up again.


It was after we had left that the other boys told me that they had seen adults helping the children; and Avrahom, our madrich (leader ) who was with us, told us this:  that the idea of throwing things at the old man is a sort of unofficial custom, to distract them on so sad an occasion, so that they will not weep too much.  I find this almost impossible – but Avrahom, whom I like very much, assured me that it was true.


After this I was among a large party from the Summer Institute that after dark ascended Mount Zion.  I had been up it once before in the daytime, but it was now much more impressive in bright moonlight, especially on so solemn an occasion – at least, it should have been.  But this was one of the many times on which I have hated myself and cursed my folly for ever coming on this Summer Institute.  For how could I be content to ascend Mount Zion in the moonlight on the eve of Tisha B’Av amidst a large crowd of chattering sight-seers?  But it was not only this that made me unhappy, but the fact that, of the whole crowd, there was not one with whom I could walk and talk in friendly ease.


We went up the long steps, and into the Arab building which houses the so-called “Tomb of David.”  Here I met a young man from England named Ephriam Halevy who has been here 5 years, and is studying Law at the Hebrew University.  He was quite cynical about this building, though he told me he was Orthodox by religion.  He said that the “Tomb of David” is really the tomb of a rich medieval Arab.  Jews, he said, were not allowed in this building before 1948, but now they have commercialized it for the benefit of American tourists.


Adjoining the tomb room there is a sort of synagogue, where we saw men sitting on the floor & praying by the light of candles which they held.  At one side of the room was the professor (?) who had lectured to us about Jerusalem Past and Present on board the S.S. “Jerusalem.”  He was sitting there unashamedly writing in a book.  Ephriam told me that he writes for a Hebrew magazine whose name means “The Spectator,” and he was usually full of inspired praise for such scenes as that which he was probably now describing.


We went right up onto the roof of this building, where some young people were sitting in a large ring, singing softly songs about Zion.  But all this had no emotional effect on me.  How could it have, when I was not alone?


So, back to the Gymnasium & to bed at about midnight.  I had 3 cups of tea for lunch today.


Tuesday, July 21, 1953

Today was Tisha B’Av (for explanation, see yesterday) and many of the Institute boys & girls fasted a whole day.  This is more a national than a religious festival, and for this reason I can sympathize with such self-denial even less than on the Day of Atonement. As it happened, the food we were given in the Mensa was poorer than usual.  This evening I had what appears to be a return of my diarrhea.


I had thought that our early water trouble at the Rehavia Gymnasium was all over, but today there was again no water in the wash-room all day.  This meant no showers – a great blow to me – and the only place we could wash was at a single tap in the out-house.


Tomorrow our 2-day tour to the Negev begins, and I am regretting my position in the Summer Institute more than ever before.  I feel that I have been unfaithful to Richard Halliburton [a favorite author of books about his own adventurous travels], that my ideals have been dragged in the dust.  How much longer can I put up with this shepherded misery, this conforming to a schedule, moving with a mob, being always given instructions, told what to do & what not to do?  It goes so utterly against my nature that I am sick at heart.  I know I will not enjoy the Negev tour, the climbing in & out of buses etc.  This is not my kind of life, and with every day my spirit grows more rebellious.  Yet, if I leave, I must forego prepaid food and accommodation, which is also against my nature.


I seem to have lost the piece of paper on which I had written the addresses of all the people I wanted to write to.  But I am not much worried about this.  I spent most of the morning writing yesterday’s entry.  This afternoon I wanted to visit some museums, but found that they were closed because of the Festival.  So I am embarked on a journey after my own heart.  I had long wanted to make a return trip to Mount Herzl, the hill containing the tomb of Herzl, which I visited with the group on one of our first trips in Jerusalem; and I now decided to make for there.  The normal road to Mt. Herzl runs from the northern part of the city, but, being in Rehavia, I decided to move toward the mountain as far as possible in a straight line.  This meant crossing hills and valleys, large areas of rock and others of prickly plants, avoiding barbed-wire fences – and all in the sun with no shade – but sometimes I did find a little shade behind a shrub or rock, and sat or lay down for a while to rest – but always there were too many insects to allow me much peace.  But still I enjoyed my expedition, as I always like climbing towards a goal, and I got a good idea of the vegetation and scenery on the outskirts of Jerusalem.  As I plodded along, meeting & overcoming obstacles, I reflected how Herzl himself had thus to endeavor to reach his high place. But I had to reach the top alive!  [Herzl, whose concept it was, died long before the birth of the State of Israel.]


The vast expanses of rock were impressive to see, & I was surprised to see stone walls dividing up these areas which could apparently be of no value.  Lizards are common in Israel, but not so common as in Spain & Italy, though here they are much larger.


At the end of my climb, I had a rather unpleasant adventure.  Crossing the main road and climbing up the Herzl hillside, I found myself in a ruined Arab village, of the kind which are all too common in Israel.  Up ahead, I could see the flagpost of the Herzl tomb, but before that I could see barbed wire and some small signs which were facing in the other direction.  It occurred to me that the area in which I stood might be mined!  Signs warning of mines are a common sight in Israel, and this would be a very likely place for them to be.  I remembered (as I have done frequently) the film “The Juggler,” which I saw on the ship, in which straying into a minefield, and a boy being injured by a mine, figure.  But although I became worried, the thought of turning back somehow never occurred to me.  It was hard to comprehend the tremendous danger which might exist.  I went forward, but gingerly, keeping to stones &plants as much as possible.  Fortunately, I had not far to go.  At last I reached the barbed wire, and crossed at a point where it had fallen. Herzl’s hill-top resting-place, a little round island of green on the dusty earth, lay before me.  But, when I looked at the signs, I found they were merely indicating directions, & had nothing to do with mines.  Still, I could not help feeling that I had been through a hazardous experience.


One of the most interesting things about Israel is that it is a country just in its first stages.  Here one can see in many forms how things normally taken for granted are begun, what forests look like when first planted (on my walk today I saw many tiny saplings in some fields, only a few inches high, but obviously well cared for) what an incipient town looks like, how a road and railway system is built up.  One gets the feeling everywhere that things are changing rapidly, and that many of the places seen today will in a few years be unrecognizable.


I thought of this today on Mt. Herzl, where a cemetery is built for Israel’s war heroes.  Everything looks so temporary today – the flowers are kept in old tin cans (incidentally it is remarkable how many uses the Israelis have found for old tin cans and oil drums, the latter especially for making roads, and, when full of stones, for supporting posts) the buildings look very ramshackle, the paths are often very primitive.  But much work is going on there, and doubtless the place will eventually be transformed into one of rest and beauty.


Of course, the main agent of such transformations in Israel is water, by whose aid trees and lawns can be planted and flourish.  From Mt. Herzl, where I rested for a while and washed at a convenient tap, I took a bus back to Jerusalem.


Wednesday, July 22, 1953

(Written July 23)  Today began our 2-day tiyul to the Negev.  We had to be up at 6 AM.  We had been given a list of things to bring, including a water-bottle & 2 blankets.  This was the first of 2 major tiyuls.  The other, to Gallilee, will last a week.  Last night we were given a short lecture on the geographic outlines of the Negev.  I had not expected to enjoy this trip at all, but it did not, on the whole, work out too badly.  One good thing was that I was able to obtain on the bus (there were as usual 4 buses) a fortunate position at the front behind the driver, with an empty sideways-facing single seat in front of me, on which I could rest my legs.  Beside me sat Arthur, one of the Dutch boys.  Behind me were an English boy, Charles Corman, who always looks and sounds somehow very English, and an American girl named Shoshanna, who studies History at Brooklyn College, & is so far the only person I have found doing my Subject in the Summer Institute.


Every bus had at least one Madrich.  Ours was a little moustached man named Tzvee, who speaks English with an American accent.  (I think he used to live in New York) and is here a school-teacher of English.  Somehow I always feel sorry for him.  He seems very enthusiastic, but always to have great problems to cope with.  For instance, in the bus, he often tries to teach us songs & get us singing, but few people pay any attention to him.


This, I have said, was our first big expedition, & we were continually plied with instructions & warnings, many of them unnecessary or exaggerated, especially about the heat.  For instance, we were told not to wear shorts, but many people did, & I am sorry I didn’t.  In our buses we took many supplies, especially crates of orange juice, loaves of bread, boxes of carrots & potatoes, boiled in the jackets, for our lunch would not be supplied on the way.


We were supposed to start from the Gymnasium at 7:45, but as usual there was a delay, & we left about 8:05.  We went along the familiar main road out of Jerusalem.  I knew roughly what our route was to be, but did not know what stops we would make.  Our main leader was Dr. Vilnaee (?) who was our guide on our tour of Jerusalem on July 7th.  He is a large, enthusiastic, & very nationalistically-minded man, who was I think a high-ranking commander in the Israeli army during the war.  He is very fond of talking about “strategic points,” about the “fightings” that went on everywhere, and the “blood” that was lost in the war.  If the Arabs hold anything that Israel wants, that is “very unfortunate.”  One good thing about him is that he has a loud voice, but I do not like the way he is always blowing his whistle to call us together.


Our first visit was to a low hill near a place called Mishmar David, where there was a war memorial, and a forest nearby where Israeli soldiers used to train.  Then on to a place called Mizdal Gad, where there was a factory producing large metal & concrete pipes for irrigation. Here, after a tour of the factory, we were given free soft drinks, but had to do much hot waiting for them, through the usual faulty organization. 


Then on to the coast, with beautiful palm trees standing above the ruins of ancient Askalon.  I walked about here a while by myself, but found most of the ruins thickly overgrown.  A few remnants of the Roman town had however been excavated and enclosed – there were some beautifully carved pillars, reliefs etc.  I picked up from the ground some pieces of old pottery handles, but cannot tell how old they are.


We had brought bathing suits, and, after this visit to the ruins, we were taken to the nearby beach.  We used the buses for changing in, & had a very enjoyable swim in the warm Mediterranean, where the waves were high and powerful.  The sand was very hot.  But we were allowed only 15 minutes in the water, and at length, with bathing suits & towels hung up all down the buses to dry, we set off for the place where we were to have lunch, a kibbutz called Yad Mordechai, just north of the border of the Egyptian-held “Gaza Strip.”


Cameras and picture-taking seem to be almost an obsession with the Americans amongst us.  This is distasteful to me.  A camera immediately marks one out as a tourist.  And yet I too want to take pictures of things I want to remember, so I also carry my camera with me;  but I dislike doing it, and, as much as possible, keep it in my shoulder bag.


Americans seem obsessed too with mail from home.  They get very excited when it arrives, and many of them get many letters.  I have so far received nothing.  I told Mummy before I left that I did not want her to write to me.


The Yad Mordechai kibbutz, where we had our own lunches of orange juice, carrots, cold potatoes, & egg sandwiches, was only a few years old, but showed signs of high “civilization,” including pleasant lawns & gardens & a fine hill-top swimming pool.  On top of this hill also there stood, beside a fallen water-tank, ruined in the war with Egypt, a large statue (the first Jewish statue I have seen in Israel) of the hero of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising after whom the kibbutz was named..


We went on to a kibbutz named Sa-ad, which had progressed remarkably in 3 years.  As we now travelled south, we were approaching the true desert of the Negev, and the character of the land gradually changed, becoming less green and populated, more open and bare.  But there were to be seen a great many small ruined buildings, obviously all deliberately destroyed for some reason.


Once we saw some distant camels.  These were the first camels I had ever seen outside of a zoo or circus.  We turned off the Beersheba road to visit a kibbutz called Urim, where there were people of a young average age, including many Americans.  I was pleased & surprised to learn that this kibbutz supported its own group of 7 or 8 artists, some of whom were achieving national success.


When we reached Beersheba it was getting dark, but for some reason we were not staying the night there, but at a place an hour’s drive further along the road.  Beersheba is, I know, a town of great historical interest.  It was the southernmost town of the country in Biblical times (“from Dan even unto Beersheba”) – but the present town is I think less than 100 years old.  Formerly it was an all-Arab town, but now it is inhabited by 20,000 Jewish immigrants.  We did not see much of it in the dark, but it somehow bore the appearance of a real “frontier town.”  When we stopped for petrol, one of our madrichim , Yitzchok, who comes from Australia, brought round free ice cream of the very popular chocolate- coated kind called “Artic.”  Then, off into the moonlit desert.  Along much of our former road, there had been trees planted, but now there was nothing.


We were hungry & tired by the time we reached our overnight stop, a settlement of bare wooden huts called Kfar Yerucham.  Here we were given not a bad supper, which included egg, tea, & aproicots.  We were not sure what kind of accommodation to expect.  The girls were given beds in some buildings.  Some of the boys had to sleep on mattresses on floors, but I was lucky & was given a bed in a wooden hut with 7 others.  The unfortunate thing was that we had to get up at 5 o’clock the next morning.


Thursday, July 23, 1953  (written July 25)

This was the second & last day of our Negev tour.  We had to get up very early this morning, because we were going to the Dead Sea, & it was important to avoid the heat of the day.  I was up at 5:15 and found the atmosphere at this time of the morning very strange.  The settlement where we were was nothing more than a collection of small wooden buildings with, as far as I could see, no trees or greenery of any kind.  I found the air surprisingly moist and misty.  The predominant sound was the crowing of cocks, for many places here seemed to keep chickens – and we had eggs for breakfast.  We were given paper-bag lunches, consisting of bread & butter, egg & cucumbers.  The outhouse lavatories were extremely primitive, a mere hole in the ground, mostly without even a door.  While running to one of these over the uneven ground, I stumbled & fell upon my hands & knees.  The heels of both my hands received several small cuts, but the most serious damage was to my left knee, which gave considerable pain for the rest of the day.  Fortunately I was wearing long trousers, and so it was not as badly injured as it might have been.  Later I went to the nurse who accompanied us & had my injuries attended to.


At length, we started out for the Dead Sea, and went along a road completed only about 30 months ago, through real desert country, which appeared to be composed not so much of sand as of dry earth.


The Dead Sea is the lowest spot on Earth, & it can be seen from some points near Jerusalem, but it now takes a long time to reach it from there [because of the new border-lines.]  For long periods yesterday and today, a hot wind blew into our faces as we drove. At last we reached a spot where our guide took us up a hill whence we could see the Dead Sea and the unearthly-looking valley in which it lies.  Then down we rode, past a sign indicating “sea level,” hundreds of feet down to the valley.  “Dead” is indeed an apt description of this region, for, even more than the desert itself, it looks totally lost, a land of heat and erosion.  But here indeed there was life.  For, not far from the sea shore stands Sedon, a factory which processes the minerals of the Dead Sea, and a small workers’ settlement.  It is not known whether this is really the site of ancient Sodom.  It was still early in the morning, but the heat was already great, though it did not affect me very much.


In the Sea were many small boats, concerned mostly, I think, with the mineral industry.  It had been my wish to swim in the Dead Sea, where one cannot sink --  though I have heard it is possible to drown there.  I have already swum in the Great Salt Lake in Utah, U.S.A. (195          1).  But we were not given any time to do so, and we would anyway have required showers afterwards.  Moreover, my fresh cuts made it doubly unwise to bathe in such salty water. But we all went down to the water to feel it & taste it.  Both feel & taste were very unpleasant


Then we were taken into the Caves of Sodom in the salt cliffs, where it was quite cool.  At the entrance to these caves, there was a stand selling soft drinks & orange juice etc., where most of us eventually bought something.  Fire-torches lighted our way through the dark caves, until eventually we came out into a very impressive place, a deep round natural vertical shaft, about 70 feet long, up which we could look to the sky through an opening far above.  Here we sat, while our guide told us about the Dead Sea, and how, in the Mandate days, Jewish youngsters had come to places like this for secret military training.  I would have liked to stay longer at all these places.  Somehow I never consider these visits as a real part of my experience, and always visualize myself returning again, alone. No doubt this region will change much in the years to come.  It is planned to build a hotel here, & make a winter resort out of it.  There is already a small airfield there.


Now we had another long journey, to a desolate spot in the desert, where minerals like kaolin have been found.  There were only one or two small wooden buildings there.  It was interesting to me to see the colored mineral veins in the rocks..


Now a long ride back to Beersheba, and on the way, most of us ate our lunches.  Orange juice was supplied.  In Beersheba we were given 1½ hours free, and I sat on a shady lawn writing my diary.  Then our guide took us into a former mosque, now an incipient museum, where he told us mainly about the fighting that had gone around here during the 1948 war against Egypt, and how he himself had led an Israeli army into Egyptian territory in Sinai.  Then, after a short drive around Beersheba, and a visit to a disused wired-in well next to a petrol station, known as “Abraham’s Well,” which did not at all impress me, we made a most interesting visit to a Bedouin camp. 


We saw several Arabs in Beersheba, & I photographed some of them sitting under a tree.  But now we were taken to a genuine Arab camp, a large group of “tents” spread out across the desert. I had never in my life seen anything like this before.  We wandered around the camp, and most people made for the few camels which they saw, and started taking pictures like mad, with people  getting on camels to pose. It was interesting to see how awkwardly the camels rose from the ground.


The poverty of these people was astonishing.  Their “tents” were merely pieces of sacking patched together.  They seemed to have very few possessions.  Their blankets (?) were tied up on supports of sticks in front of the tents.  Their implements looked very crude.  Hay & alfalfa were scattered around different parts of the camp.  The tents were not close together.  There were donkeys & dogs as well as camels.  The way of life, I suppose, of these people has not changed for thousands of years.  The men seemed on the whole friendly.  The children went around openly begging.  The women did not want to be photographed, and turned away, or covered up their faces whenever a camera was pointed at them.  But some were less shy than others, & smiled & chatted openly. Some young women wore gold rings through one of the nostrils.  There were several women at one tent, but I did not find out if they were all the wives of one man.  I took a few pictures, & had one taken of myself beside a camel.  These people are nomads, but I don’t know how long they spend in any one place.


This was our last visit before the long return to Jerusalem – but on this journey we had an exciting time.  Between our bus and one of the others, a sort of war was declared, and every time we passed each other on the mountain road leading to Jerusalem, we had a water-battle, with each bus throwing water from their bottles at the other.  It became a very exciting affair, with many people from each side taking part & getting wet, including me.  I don’t know what the attitude of the drivers was, but there was really no reason that I could see why the buses should overtake each other at all.  Still, we had 2 or 3 battles, in which even the drivers got wet.  But more excitement followed.  We knew that our enemy bus would have to stop at Abu Ghosh, because it was carrying some people who lived at a kibbutz near there.  When it did stop, and our bus slowed down, I jumped off with a “raiding party” of 4 or 5 other boys.  We took our water-bottles, and had a short but fierce battle with the boys at the open back window of the enemy bus.  But then we found that our own bus had gone off without us!  And the bus we were attacking, its kibbutz passengers having alighted, began to move off.  All we could do was cling to the back, and try to climb up the narrow ladder onto the luggage rack on the roof.  And meanwhile our foes cruelly continued to throw water at us.  At last we managed to get onto the roof, and I was visualizing an enjoyable roof-top ride back to Jerusalem.  But then came a piece of bad luck – for almost immediately we were spotted by some policemen who were passing along in a jeep.  It is illegal to ride on a bus roof, and they stopped our bus.  We had to get down, to come inside, and meanwhile the driver was being interviewed by the policemen.  It seemed a shame that he should get into trouble on our account.  Yitzchak the madrich also talked with the policemen.  In the end, I think everything was straightened out, and we were “let off” by the police.  So we rode on, & soon came upon our own bus, which had stopped to wait for us.  We transferred to it, and the rest of the journey passed without incident.  It was not until about 8:00 that we got back to Jerusalem.  Supper was waiting for us in the Mensa.


The chief of all my complaints about the Summer Institute in which I am taking part has been that I do not, cannot, get enough sleep.  I have made many complaints about this, but never got any satisfaction.  While away in the Negev, a step occurred to me which I cannot understand why I never took before, and which I did take this evening.  What I have always needed was a room to myself.  I recalled that in the main downstairs corridor of the Gymnasium I had seen some rooms containing unused beds.  Why should I not move to one of these?  I decided to investigate the situation as soon as I got back.  So, when our bus arrived, I went directly down this corridor, and found a room containing only one unused bed.  Here I deposited my rucksack, and brought hither the bundle of all my other possessions which had been left behind in the old dormitory.  This room was also much more conveniently situated than that dormitory, and I had it all to myself.  How glad I was, but how sorry that I had not thought of this before!  I obtained plenty of blankets, & placed most of them beneath me to mollify the hardness of the canvas cot.  I went to bed, and looked forward to a good night’s sleep.


Friday, July 24, 1953  (written July 25)

Last night’s sleep was the best and I think the longest I have had since I left home.  But when I woke, it was already 8:30.  Breakfast is supposed to be served only I think until 8AM (or perhaps 8:30).  I had asked a boy next door to wake me for breakfast, but evidently he had forgotten.  But I knew that, if I hurried, I would still have a chance of getting some breakfast.  So without washing or anything I dressed, and ran all the way to the Mensa, where I found that I really needn’t have hurried so much at all, for they went on serving until about 9 o’clock.


But I still was not pleased about sleeping so late, for today began a free weekend for the Summer Institute, and I, planning to hitch-hike from Jerusalem, had wanted an early start.  My plan was very vague in my own mind.  Here I had 2 days free, and more if I chose (for there was nothing important going on in the Institute on the following day.)  Unlike most of the other people, I had no relatives to visit or friends to call on.  But I had no intention of staying on in Jerusalem.  I had not received any reply to my postcard to Jacob Salamon in Haifa (see July 20), but I knew that his reply might not have had time to arrive.  But in any case, not knowing how I might be received, or even if he were home, I was very reluctant to go to see him.  Moreover, getting a late start, it now seemed unlikely that I could hitch-hike to Haifa today.  But gradually a vague scheme formed in my mind that I would head in the general direction of Haifa, and, if I did not reach there, I would try to get into a kibbutz somewhere for the night, or, if worse came to worse, I would see if I could sleep out.  For the latter purpose, I packed into my rucksack, (as previously on July 9th) my groundsheet and a blanket.  But to begin with, I was dubious about the whole project.  I had lost the confidence born of experience which carried me through countries like Spain and Italy.  But when I began to pack & then set out on the road, my spirits started to revive.  The old carefree and adventurous spirit returned to me, and I knew that I had nothing to fear.  And, as it happened, things today went remarkably well.


I took with me my rucksack, and in it my foodbox, into which, besides other odds & ends, I packed 4 buttered slices of bread which I had taken from the Mensa.  It says much for my good fortune that I did not even have to eat these.  What with washing & packing etc, I did not leave the Gymnasium until about 10:30 AM.  I walked to the Egged bus station in the Jaffa Road, and there took a number one bus out of the city on the Tel Aviv road.  Every bus driver I have so far met speaks English.  Transport fares always seem quite cheap to me.  In the Gymnasium this morning we had again no water except from the outhouse tap.  I filled 2 buckets, took them to the washroom, and gave myself as much of a “shower” with them as I could.


Getting off the bus, I found myself at one of the many places where hitch-hikers, mainly soldiers, congregate to wait for lifts.  I had a glass of orange juice at a nearby stand.  An old woman was sitting on the ground with a pitifully small array of nuts and sweets for sale in front of her  I waited with a group of people for a lift for about 20 minutes, but nothing stopped – and so, at 11:15,  I decided to walk on.  It looked less & less likely that I would make Haifa this evening, for a much shorter trip on July 12 had taken me 10 hours.  It was the first time I had walked on this road, though I had already ridden many times along it.  I now had time to observe things in more detail – the bare hills & dry valley, with some olive trees.  The road was not wide, & for safety I had to keep well over to the side.  There seem to be very few private cars in Israel.  Most of the cars I saw on the road were taxis.  There are 2 kinds of taxis, the ordinary kind, and the sherut (service) kind, which carry 6 people at a time & worked almost like buses, though twice as expensive.


I went at a very leisurely pace, &, after not walking very far along the winding mountain road, I came to a shady spot where there were some boys and a bench.  I sat & rested on the bench.  A car came & picked up 2 of the boys, but had no room for me.  One of remaining boys, I found, came from Morocco, & I spoke in French to him – but his French was difficult to understand.  Also there was a boy from Romania who spoke French.  The Moroccan boy, I learned, had been here 2 years, & was living in the moshav just above the road, where he also went to school.  But his family were all in Morocco, & in 3 months he would be returning because they wanted him back.  He was not sorry to be going back.  The Romanian boy’s parents had been killed by the Germans, but he had a brother on a kibbutz.


The first boy asked if I were hungry, went away, and came back with a sandwich for me, containing a kind of dough cake, which I ate gratefully, & which served as my lunch.  Some other boys came over & talked with me & tried to help me stop a car.  But at 1;00 PM I decided to move on, & so shook hands with all of them & continued walking.  Despite my failure to get a lift, my spirits were still high, and in a little while, as in days of old, along came the unexpected.  A young man & woman came along on a motorcycle.  I did not signal to them, but they stopped by me & spoke English to me.  I told them I was trying to get a lift, and the man, who wore some official kind of helmet, said he knew many of the drivers on the road, and would stop something for me.  This seemed very unlikely to me, but almost the first car which came along stopped, & the driver seemed to be a friend of his.  I was let in, & learned that the car was going to Ramle, a very convenient point for me, where the Haifa road meets the Jerusalem road.  It was a very comfortable American car, the first private car I had ridden in in Israel, but the 2 men in front, though they talked much in Hebrew to each other, did not talk to me at all.  So off we went to Ramle.  At one point we met some motorcycle policemen whom the driver seemed to know, for he got out of the car & let one of the policemen drive the car, with me & the other man in it, once up & down a short stretch of the road – but he was not a good driver.


My water-bottle was as usual my trusty friend, & from it I had frequent drinks.  The story of the rest of my journey to Haifa is simply that of one army vehicle after another.  It was a straight road, and I stood wherever the soldiers stood.  I rode in about 4 army vehicles, mostly large lorries with many soldiers.  Sometimes I found someone who spoke English, & had a conversation.  One boy I met comes actually from the Rehavia Gymnasium, where I am accommodated in Jerusalem.  He was going up to a kibbutz on the Lebanese border, & said that the Lebanese, at least the Christian ones, are friendly to Israel.  I also talked with a man from Romania, but his French was so rapid that I understood little of what he said.


It was good to be travelling in open vehicles all the time.  I knew the road a little, as far north as Tel Yitzchak, where I stayed a weekend 2 weeks ago.  I have soon got used to the idea of rushing to the lorry which stopped, & climbing on as quickly as possible, but my rucksack sometimes makes this a little difficult.


As we came north, it was interesting to see the hills of Carmel on the right falling steeply to the coastal plain.  At last we reached Haifa, where I had not been since landing on July 5th.  The time was about 5:30, & I considered that I had done very well.  My main concern now became to find Jacob Salamon’s house.  I knew the address was 87 Hayam Street.  Fortunately we were put down at a fire station, & I was able to enquire there & learn the number of the bus I should take.  The bus went right up the mountain, to a place called Carmel Central.  On the way I spoke with a boy formerly from London.


When I got off the bus, I happened to meet a young American couple from the Summer Institute.  I soon found Rehov Hayam (“Sea Road”) but had a long way to walk along it.  The district seemed to be quite high-class;  I felt excited, but also ashamed to be arriving in such a dirty poorly-dressed condition.  At last I reached number 87, and it looked a very fine large house with a beautiful garden.  I rang the bell, & the door was answered by a woman whom I later learned was the maid, Vera.  She spoke English, but knew nothing about me or my letter.  But when I explained that I had come from England to see Mr. Salamon, she invited me in. I asked if I could wash, & she showed me into the bathroom, & said I could have a bath.  So, within 2 minutes of my ringing at the door, I was taking a bath in the home of Mr. Jacob Salamon.  Mr. & Mrs. Salamon were not then in.  My bath was very enjoyable, & I changed into my grey trousers & clean shirt that I had brought with.  But my shoes were still very dirty.

When I came out, Vera gave me tea & cake, which I ate on the terrace.  Then I sat in the garden, waiting for Mr. & Mrs. S. to arrive, & wondering what I would say when they did.  At last they arrived, in a beautiful convertible car, and I introduced myself to them on the terrace.  Mr. Salamon had received Daddy’s letter and my postcard – but I think he said he had already replied to the former, wondering why I had not come, and he had had no chance to reply to the latter..  He said he was going to write & ask me to come next weekend, because he now had another guest, Mr. Horowitz, to whom I was introduced.   This depressed me somewhat, but he said he would find room for me.  I really did not know how to behave, for I felt that my slight connection with Mr. Salamon, who had not seen my father for 25 years, hardly entitled me to his hospitality.  Moreover, it seemed he remembered Daddy only vaguely, and confessed that, when he received his letter, it had taken him some time to recall who Victor Brilliant was.  But I answered that my father had not forgotten him, & told him a few of the things Daddy had told me about him, e.g., how he used to read the Koran.  [My father had roomed with him in London, when both were still single, but I’m not sure for how long.  Jacob Salamon was now an eminent Israeli lawyer.] 


For some while I was left to myself on the terrace, while the family were busy elsewhere.  Somehow I felt I was not a very welcome guest.  Ronnie, the eldest daughter, not yet 17, came & introduced herself to me. Later I met Binnie, the second daughter, about 15.  The youngest daughter was away at camp.


When I mentioned the book “Israel Diary,” by Bernard Bloomfield, in which I had read about the Salamons, Mr. S. said it was a foolish book.  We all had supper together in the fine dining room, & a very good meat meal.  After this, Ronnie took me with some of her friends to a meeting of her scout group, where they sang around a bonfire, & danced Hebrew dances.  I grew very tired, but had to stay a long time, because I could not come back by myself.  Then, on the way back, Ronnie & her friends bought watermelons & went to a special place to eat them.  (I didn’t have any) so that we didn’t get home until about 1 AM.  A bed had been laid for me on the couch in Mr. Salamon’s library-study, & I was soon asleep.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


Saturday, July 25, 1953  (written July 26)

There is so much that I want to write about the Salamons and the time I spent with them that I will never be able to put it all down.  Firstly, I may as well say something about their home.  It is high up, in the district I think is called West Carmel.  It has 3 stories, and a most beautiful garden at the side. The furniture is very fine, & there were many American appliances in evidence – an automatic dishwasher, refrigerator, mixing machine, pop-up toaster etc.  There were many paintings on the walls, a grand piano, 2 bathrooms, sinks in the lavatories, a lovely terrace overlooking the garden.  The sea could I think be seen from upstairs.  Altogether it was a very fine home, and obviously belonged to wealthy people.


(Continuing now July 27th)  I was never sure about the attitude of the Salamons towards me, but I could not help feeling, especially on the first evening, that I was not altogether welcome.  Perhaps this was partly my guilty conscience, because I had arrived without an invitation.  Mr. Salamon, I regret, did not seem very interested in me, and never talked very much with me. But today he was busy all the time, and later tired, so that he had little time for me.  He must be about Daddy’s age, or perhaps a little younger, but his hair is greyer, and build somewhat stockier.  He wears glasses, & usually has a pleasant half-smiling expression.  His voice is fairly high, & he speaks English almost without a trace of accent. I learned that he also speaks good Arabic as well.  The whole family of course also speaks Hebrew.  They used English mostly while I was there, but would sometimes change to Hebrew in the middle of a sentence.  But I learned that the 8 year old youngest daughter, whose name was I think Kathy, who was away at camp during my visit, speaks only Hebrew.  This, Mr. & Mrs. S. said, was because she had been born at a time when there was much trouble with the British in the country, and the family (as a form of protest) had only spoken Hebrew.  Binnie & Ronnie both spoke English, but Ronnie seemed to prefer Hebrew.  Ronnie was quite friendly & talkative, but Binnie was shy, & hardly spoke to me at all.


 All I knew about the Salamons when I arrived was what Daddy had told me, who had not seen Jacob since 1929, and what I had read in the book “Israel Diary,” by Bernard Bloomfield, a Canadian Zionist who visited Israel in 1949 and met the Salamons..  Daddy had been in the same lodging house with Mr. Salamon in Finsbury Park, London, in (I think) 1923.  Daddy had told me that Jacob was a Palestinian of many generations.  He was then studying Law.  He came top in his examinations, returned to Palestine, & became a very successful lawyer.  When Daddy travelled with his father to Egypt & Palestine in 1929, they visited the Salamons who I think received them hospitably & showed them around.  But Jacob apparently could hardly remember this visit.  Jacob had a type of humor that I never properly understood. I was never sure if he were being sarcastic or not.  For instance, when I told him about Daddy’s visit, he said
“What a kind man I must have been.”  His family, I learned, came to Palestine in 1812.  I only wish I had had more chance to speak with Jacob, but fear I talked much more with his wife, with Ronnie, & with Mr. Horowitz  than with him.  When I asked him what case he was working on now, he said it would bore him to talk about it, & bore me.  He said he remembered Daddy as being quite an Orthodox man, and that he used to say the Friday night Kiddush (blessing) at the place where they stayed.  I told them a little of my family history since then, but somehow think they were not much interested.  It was an annoying habit in the family for a person speaking to be interrupted by someone on an entirely different subject, & for the old subject then to be forgotten.


Mr. & Mrs. S. thought that “Israel Diary” was a poor book.  I agreed with them, but its interest lay for me in its mention of them.  Ronnie told me she remembered the author, Bloomfield, coming to their house & making many notes, but she had not thought he was going to write a book about it.  Actually the Salamons are not mentioned a great deal in the book.  The chief occasion was a Pesach Seder held at the house of Mrs. S’s father Chaim (who is still alive) in Jerusalem.


Ronnie & Binnie go to a school called, I think, the Real school.  It too is on Mount Carmel, & is supposed to be one of the best schools in the country.  Fees are very high.  It was near this school that Ronnie took me last night, to her scout club-house.  But the house was occupied by an older group, who had to use it because they had guests from Jerusalem, and that, it seems is why we had to be outside, and why our evening was not very successful.  Ronnie said she was very disappointed with it.  I was surprised at the wonderful brightness of the moon.


The Israel Scouts, Ronnie told me, have only recently joined the international Scout organization.  One of their chief differences from the Scout organizations of other countries is that they are not divided up into Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, but the boys & girls meet all the time together.  Also they seem to be a very nationalistic body, and, as far as I could understand, the members of the scout group are all supposed to go into the Army together (there is 2 ½ years compulsory military service for both men & women) and remain there as a group, and, when they come out, they are supposed to go onto a kibbutz together.


Ronnie told me about a kibbutz in the Negev near Elath where she had stayed for 2 weeks with her group in the winter.  Apart from the heat and aridity, there was actual danger from Arabs, & she, not yet 17, had learned with the others to use a rifle, & had some nights stood on guard.  But she said that she enjoyed it very much, & it was hard to get used to the humdrum life of school again.


Both Ronnie & Binnie are very fond of music, & they have a fine large collection of gramophone records.  This morning I sat with them for a while, while they were cataloguing some of them.  Mr. S. has a habit of repeating a phrase over and over again to himself.  I know that he is a very important man in the country.  Many Israelis I mention him to have heard of him.  He is possibly the country’s most important lawyer.  Ronnie told me that he had been offered a place in the Knesset, but had refused because he did not want to get mixed up in politics.  She said he has no political affiliations.  When I remarked how well-known he is, Mr. S commented about his unpopularity, & how there was a danger of my finding a bomb in the house. But whether there was any element of truth in this joke I never discovered.


Talking about law at the dinner table last night, Mr. S said he was glad there was no jury system in this country.  He also advocated the death penalty (now, it seems, in abeyance) for such crimes as treason.  Mr. Salamon is apparently a very strong nationalist, and, when he said he thought Israel was Paradise, I think he really meant it.


My difficulty in this house was never knowing quite how to behave.  I had to keep asking myself “Now, what would a well-mannered person do in a situation like this?”  But gradually I lost some of my self-consciousness.  My shoes were very dirty, and I had not brought any polish with me, so today I asked Mrs. S. for some, which she gave me.  I think I was fortunate that Mr. Horowitz happened to be a guest at the Salamons’ at the same time that I was there, although our double presence made it difficult for our hosts. I had heard about him both from Daddy and from “Israel Diary.” It seems that when Mr. S. returned from his studies in London, he went into Mr. H’s Palestine law office, & eventually I think he became his partner, but I am not sure about this, for Mr. S. always called him “my boss.”  Mr. H is now 72, a little, rather bent man, who seems highly intelligent and cultured, but who has a habit of monopolizing conversation, and of not sparing people’s feelings.  This afternoon, for example, when talking to some American ladies who said they thought Washington DC a beautiful city, he said it had the worst slums he had ever seen.  Mr H. is actually English.  He came from Manchester about 1923.  I spoke much with him today, about the Israeli radio, about architecture & terrorism.  He told me one of his best friends was killed in the King David Hotel explosion outrage in 1946  and that he had headed (?) an inquiry into the tragedy of a convoy of university people which was attacked & practically massacred on their way to Mount Scopus in 1947.  If the British had wanted to prevent this, he said, they could have done so. Mr. H. holds now some post in the University.


The Salamons have a dog named Tina, about the same age as Happy (my own dog) for whom I felt sorry because she seemed neglected, & was always scratching herself.  I think she is 7 or 8 years old.


Our supper last night was very fine.  It included meat & ice cream, showing me that the Salamons are not Kosher [which forbids eating meat & milk together.]  Various things said today led me to believe that they also have no objection to eating pig or rabbit [also forbidden] and it seems that bacon is becoming quite popular in Israel.


My night’s sleep last night was very good.  I got up about 9:15 & we had breakfast about 10 – toast, fish, milk, fruit etc.  I thought the furniture of the dining room particularly fine.  The chairs were upholstered almost like armchairs, but had no arms.  For outside they had some very interesting folding chairs made of tubular aluminum, which are remarkably light and easy to carry about.


Mr. S. spent most of his time this morning in the garden with his gardeners.  It seems he puts in a lot of work there.  They have many varieties of plants & trees, including palms & cacti.  There was also a large screened box which housed 2 colorful birds.  I talked this afternoon at the house with a friend of the family who was an architect (he came originally from Hungary.)  He said he did not think much of the Salamons’ house, but their garden was exceptionally fine.


Mrs. Salamon is the sort of woman who is I think usually described as “charming.” There was something immediately pleasant and likeable about her, & I think she was slightly more interested in me than her husband was.  She was, I learned, originally American, from New York, but has now lived more of her life here than there, & considers this her home.  Her accent, however, is decidedly English – except perhaps for an occasional faint rolling of an “R,” and I wondered if she had taken pains to cultivate such an accent.  Her daughters, I think, look much like her, especially in the nose.  Because I still felt rather guilty about my presence there, I was anxious to do anything I could to help.  As it happened, Mrs. S. was giving a garden party this afternoon to a group of Hadassah (American women’s Zionist organization) women and tourists from America.  That is, I think, why Mr. S. was so busy preparing the garden.


For most of the morning, I just sat around, writing my diary & talking.  For lunch we had tongue.  Everything is of course served by the maid.  On the table is a special electric bell to summon her.  I kept telling Mrs. S. that I wanted to help, & she said she would use me when she needed me.  But Mr. S. seemed to have a strong objection to me doing any work.  But this was overcome, & I helped sweep the terrace & a carpet, cut the cake, carry things down into the garden, & after the party, clear them away.


At first I had wondered what I should do while the party was being held, for I did not think that I was supposed to be there, but Mrs. S. invited me to come down into the garden, & I found to my surprise that I was no longer shy & awkward, but could talk with those people as easily as anyone.  This made me very happy, & for this reason the party, whose circumstances are probably unique in my annals, will be a happy chapter in my memory.  Most of the guests were middle-aged American ladies.  I sat for some time with 2 of them who were making their own private tour of Europe, Egypt, Israel, Istanbul etc., travelling everywhere by air.  Something about the way they looked, the way they talked & were dressed amused me.  They seemed somehow typical of middle-aged American ladies travelling abroad.  I met also a Mrs. Sarah Harris (incidentally Mrs. S.’s name is also Sarah).  She came originally from Canada, but has been living many years in Israel.  She has a daughter living in the U.S. married to an American & studying with him at Yale. She was a very friendly & talkative woman, & seemed very anxious for me to get to know a woman I had already met there named Mrs. Havatselett who seemed to like me.  Mrs. H. I learned is a member of another old Palestinian family, & her father was one of the original founders of Tel Aviv, where, she said, there was a street named after him.  She said she would like me to come to Tel Aviv & meet her daughter, who is about my age.  I am unused to such invitations, but said I would be glad to when I got a chance, which may be in about 4 weeks’ time.


Later, in the evening, Mr. Horowitz invited me to come & have lunch with him one day in Jerusalem, & these 2 invitations made me feel very pleased.  The party went on quite a long time, & I listened to Mrs. Havatselett telling about her younger daughter who, though a brilliant student, is determined to go onto a kibbutz.  I was only sorry that I did not get a chance to meet more people there, for I understand that there were important people there, like the Israeli Consul-elect in Mexico.


Mr. S.’s interests seem to be very mixed, judging at least by the books in his library.  He is a Commodore of a yachting club, & has his own yacht.


One thing I most enjoyed about the visit was that the Salamons seemed to know in Israel everybody who is anybody.  E.g they know personally (and “rather well” said Mrs. S.) Moshe Sharett the Foreign Minister.  Arthur Koestler, the man whose book  “Promise and Fulfillment” I had so much admired, had sat on the very terrace where I was talking to them now.  Mrs. S. knew Dr. Simon Herman, the Director of the Summer Institute.


I have read no newspapers lately, but today I saw a headline that truce in Korea was to be signed today.  The war there has been going on for over 3 years.  Its conclusion may have important results in easing world tension.


I had very much wanted to be able to take a photograph of the Salamon family to take home with me, but, though they said I would have a chance, that chance never came.


About a week ago, I took the light-hearted decision to see what I would look like with a moustache.  The result is surprising me very much, & I may keep it. But what even more impresses me when I look into a mirror is that the whole character of my face seems to be changing.  My eyes seem somehow to have acquired a different texture.  Indeed. although this was always the case, now more than ever the person whom I see in the mirror does not seem to be me at all.  I do not look like I feel I ought to look.  For one thing, especially with the moustache & sun-tan I have acquired, I look somehow “foreign,” as if belonging to a country which I have never seen.


Mr. S. said that the fact the fact that he came first in his Law exams was “an accident,” but that he had worked very hard for them.


After the party, when everyone had gone & I had helped to clear things up, despite Mr. S.’s objections, we did not have supper at home, but I went with Mr. & Mrs. S.& Mr. Horowitz, in their fine convertible car, though it was closed, to a point on Carmel overlooking the town of Haifa.  The view of the myriad lights in the town, & stretching along the coast up to Acre was very beautiful.  The view most like it I had seen was that of Los Angeles at night from the hills, but I think this was more beautiful because of the sweep of the Bay.  Nearby stood the Hotel Panorama, on whose restaurant terrace we had dinner, a fine meal of soup, orange juice, 2 large pieces of liver, potatoes, cabbage, & ice cream.  I think this must have been quite expensive.  I certainly enjoyed it.


Afterwards we went for a short drive to a place called Stella Maris, whence there was another fine view of the lights.  But unfortunately Mr. J., after a busy day, (he had worked in the garden, been to some yachting function, attended our garden party) was very tired, & we had soon to go home.  Early tomorrow morning, Mr. S. would have to leave for Jerusalem, for some important meeting.  He was going to drive very fast, & be in J. for breakfast, but said there would be no room for me.  So I said goodbye to him tonight, but he did not stand upon ceremony, & had gone up to bed even before I had time to thank him.  I stayed up til one A.M, having a bath & writing my diary.


Sunday, July 26 1953  (written July27)

Today I returned from Haifa to Jerusalem, & it was a good day, as good in its own way as yesterday had been.  Things went well all the time.  I did everything that I wanted to do, & felt much satisfaction at at the end of the day.  By the time I got up this morning, about 8:15, Mr. S. & Mr. Horowitz had already left for Jerusalem.  I had breakfast with Mrs. S. & the 2 girls, Binnie & Ronnie.  Afterwards I wanted to take a picture of them, but Binnie was shy & would not come, so I photographed Mrs. S & Ronnie with their dog in the garden.  Mrs. S. said she would try to send me a photograph of Mr. S.


Before leaving, I insisted on helping with the washing up.  They have an automatic dishwasher in the kitchen, but Mrs. S. said it is just about as easy to do it by hand.  She asked me why I was going to hitch-hike back to Jerusalem.  I said I could not afford a bus or train ( though it would have been more correct to say that I did not want to spend the money on them) but also that I enjoyed hitch-hiking & meeting people etc.  A short time later when Mrs. S. took me out to the bus, she said she could lend me some money if I needed any, but I assured her that that would not be necessary.  I hope I had not given her the wrong impression. 


Before leaving, I shook hands with Binnie & Ronnie, & thanked all for everything.  I was lucky to get a bus which took me right down onto the main road going south, where I could start hitch-hiking immediately.  But, as on July 24, it took me some time to get my first lift, and there was no shade in which to wait. But when my first lift came, it was a good one, & took me right down to Tel Aviv.  It was a lorry which picked me up, & I rode in the cab with the driver, who told me he was English & had been here 5 years.  But he had a slight accent, which made me think that he might not have been born in England.  He said he came from a kibbutz north of Haifa called Nahariya, and was carrying a load of potatoes.  He told me that he had to work very long hours, often 15 or 16 hours a day, & he considered himself lucky when he got a 10 hour day.  But in the winter it was not quite so bad.  He told me much about the country we passed through, & the changes he had seen in the past 5 years.  After Natanya we went along the new coast road which I had not til then been on.  Much of the country we saw was sandy waste, but the driver said that practically every building & settlement we saw, especially between Haifa & Hadera, had been put up during the last 5 years.  He told me too about his experiences during the Israeli war, how he had fought at a kibbutz on the Syrian border, how he had driven an armor-plated lorry down to the Negev.


By the time we reached Tel Aviv, I was hungry, & decided to have lunch there.  On the ship coming to Israel I had met a young American named Walter May, who had been to Israel before, & gave me the address of what he said was a cheap restaurant in Tel Aviv.  It was on Allenby Rd., near the crossing of Rothschild  Blvd.  My lorry put me down at the edge of town, & I had to take a bus to Allenby & walk a little way from there.  I did not know Tel Aviv at all (though I had been there twice before) but fortunately I had a street map to guide me.


An Israeli bus ride can be very slow, because at every stop the people have to pay, get their tickets & change from the driver before getting on, & often there are a large number of people waiting  [I was used to the British system, with a conductor taking fares as we rode.]  Often too the buses are very crowded, but I have never seen a man give a woman his place; but someone told me he had once seen an old man give his place to a soldier – and the soldier took it.  When I arrived at my destination, I could see no obviously cheap restaurant, but was very hungry, & so went into a place on the corner of Rothschild & Allenby, which I think are the 2 main roads of Tel Aviv, which surely could not have been the place Walter meant – and there I bought my first Israeli restaurant meal (not counting last night’s, which I did not buy.)  The waiter spoke English, & I learned that there were meals at set prices, the cheapest being at 78 piastres (about 3 shillings.)  This I had, but it was not a very good meal, for I had to leave the sauerkraut, tomatoes & cantaloupe  which I did not like [I still don’t like them today.]  All I had was soup, bread, potato, & some kind of sausage meat.  But the best part of the meal were the large glasses of delightfully cold water which I had.


I had intended today, if an opportunity arose, & if I had time, to go swimming somewhere, & try to improve my tan.  That opportunity now arose, for I had made good time to Tel Aviv, and, so long as I had a chance to get back to Jerusalem in time for supper, there was no need to rush.  So I walked down Allenby Road to the sea.  There were as many beggars along the street as I see in Jerusalem.  Tel Aviv is a large new busy town which did not exist at the beginning of the century.  It was founded as a Jewish suburb of Jaffa, but Jaffa is now a sort of suburb of Tel Aviv.  Daddy visited Tel Aviv in 1929, but he would surely hardly recognize a thing in it today. On the beach I found a place where I could change for 20 piastres, and a shower was provided.  The man at this place spoke English l.  A bearded, long-coated man came in, but a short while later, he left.  I don’t know what happened, but the man who ran the place told me happily that he did not like this Orthodox type of people, who were “too religious,” and he always charged them more.  I was most surprised to hear this, & reflected that, if I had understood the man correctly, even here in Israel, it was not possible for Jew to escape all forms of religious persecution.


I went 2 or 3 times in the sea, and toasted myself for a while on both sides, lying on the blanket which I had brought .


Leaving the beach, I bought an “Artic” (chocolate coated ice cream on a stick) in a café.  These Artics, introduced here not long ago, are immensely popular.  In the café I met a blond young man who spoke English, & was reading “Tom Sawyer,” not, he said, for the first time.  There are, I think, as many English language books as Hebrew in Israel, & perhaps more.  They are almost all American.  He told me he had never had an Artic, and thought this so remarkable that he asked me if I would like to take a photograph of a man in Tel Aviv who had never tasted Artic.


Now it was my task to get out of Tel Aviv on the Jerusalem road.  This was not a difficult, but a tedious, procedure, involving one long slow bus-ride.  My way back to Jerusalem was made entirely in army vehicles, about 5 of them.  I did not get out of Tel Aviv until about 5:30, & was worried that I might not get back to Jerusalem in time for supper at the Mensa.  Supper there was officially from 7-8 PM, but I knew that, if I was there by 8:30, I might get served.  I have now become used to getting lifts with soldiers on the open backs of army lorries.  Sometimes an objection seems to be raised to my being a civilian, but many other civilians travel this way, & when I explain that I am English & cannot speak the language, I am almost always allowed to remain on.  But by myself I find it very difficult to get any lifts.  It is only when I am waiting with soldiers that things stop & I can get on.  It seems to be the recognized practice (although there are many exceptions) for any army vehicle which has room to stop & take up soldiers.  Sometimes I find a soldier who speaks English – but the name of my destination is all really that I have to be able to say.


When one of my lifts stopped on the wrong side of Ramle, I had to walk with a soldier right through the former Arab town, but the time was made up on my last lift, which went at great speed along the familiar mountain road.  But unfortunately this did not take me right into Jerusalem, but stopped at the outskirts, so that I had to take a bus.  But I was able to arrive at the Mensa at just about 8:30 (or perhaps a little earlier.)  The doors were already locked, but people were still eating inside, & I was let in & served.  I was lucky, for the main dish was chicken with rice.  Approaching the City, the moon shining over Jerusalem had looked very beautiful.


My  day had been successful, but the program was not yet finished.  For this evening at the Rehavia Gymnasium, our Summer Institute  was holding what was called a “Public Reception,” which took the form of a show put on by members of the Institute to an audience of Institutioners and invited guests, most of whom were I think connected with us in some way, eg many people were there who had lectured to us.


The show was one of variety, but the British supplied all the humor.  Sam Feinstein, who is a music teacher in America, played several violin solos very well.  Another American played  the mouth organ [harmonica], another sang.  But the best & most enjoyable parts were the sketches put on by some of the British boys, most of whom had been connected with a similar show which we had on the ship.  Charles Corman, John Gross (Cambridge), Louis ? (Cambridge), Stephen ? & Michael Fox were the boys.  They had had very little time to prepare anything, & read most of their parts.  They satirized the Institute & various people in it, our tours & guides etc. There were rather too many jokes about shilshul (diarrhoea) and the beit kisay (lavatory) but the script was on the whole very clever & funny.  2 jokes were even made about me.  Once I came into the auditorium carrying my pajamas, washbag & towel because I intended soon to be retiring .  Also, I usually wear a pith helmet.  So in the show a boy walked onto the stage wearing pajamas & a pith helmet. But I think very few people appreciated the joke.  Had I been asked, I would have played the part myself!  Also I was mentioned in a verse of a comic song, but the only words I caught were “British calm of Ashleigh,” & I don’t know what the joke was.  After the show, refreshments, orange juice & cake, were served.


Monday, July 27, 1953

7:15 PM  This has been a day of rest for me, not so much because I needed a rest, although no doubt it will do me good, as because it was imperative that I bring my diary up to date, write some letters & postcards, & have some laundry done.  So I spent most of my time on these occupations.  I sent a “thank you” card to the Salamons, posted a letter home, & also sent cards to relatives & friends in Canada, U.S. & England.


I missed breakfast this morning.  I had asked the boy in the next room to mine, since I am in a room now by myself, to give me a knock this morning.  This he did, at about 7:30, but I fell back to sleep again, & when I next woke it was 8:30, too late for breakfast, so I lay awake (padded with many blankets, my canvas cot is now almost comfortable) & did not get up til about 10 AM I spent the morning writing in my room, and the afternoon similarly.  It gives me great satisfaction to have brought this diary at last up to date.


There was today one remarkable event.  I received a letter from home, the first since I have been away.  It was written by Daddy & said nothing important, but enclosed in it were 2 other letters.  One had been written to Daddy by Jacob Salamon, my visit to whose home is related in the 2 preceding entries.  It was a short typewritten letter, acknowledging receipt of the letter Daddy had written to him on June 12 about my forthcoming visit.  It said that I had not yet contacted him, and asked Daddy to contact me about it, since Jacob did not know how to get in touch with me.  This must be the letter which Jacob mentioned having written to my father when I first met him 2 days ago.  It eases my conscience a bit, for I now see clearly that Jacob certainly wanted to invite me to his house.  The only trouble was that I arrived at the wrong time.


But the other letter Daddy enclosed was of even greater interest to me. It had arrived for me at home & had not been opened.  It was an American air-letter from California.  I did not recognize the handwriting, & wondered at first who it could be from.  Even when I opened it, its contents looked strange to me. I did not recognize the sender’s address, & had to look again to see if it were really addressed to me.  Then I saw the signature, and there came upon me a flush of realization and exaltation.  It was from Aldous Huxley!


Since early this year, I have been actively interested in improving my vision, which is distressingly imperfect.  I based my attempts upon the Bates System, and especially upon the book “The Art of Seeing,” by Aldous Huxley.  Aldous Huxley (not to be confused with his more scientific brother Julian) is a famous English writer, especially of novels.  The only novel of his I have read was “Brave New World.”  After finishing “The Art of Seeing,” I decided, having had some interesting and encouraging results from my endeavors, to pursue further the Bates method.  To do this efficiently,  I knew I would have to obtain some sort of personal treatment.  It was mainly to inquire about this that I wrote to Aldous Huxley, I think in June (perhaps May).  I told him how much I liked and was influenced by his book, and asked if he could recommend any English teachers.  I also told him about my personal difficulties, & asked if he could explain why I experienced good sight sometimes for brief instants, accompanied by a stinging sensation and tears.  But his untidy letter today dealt only with my former query.  I had addressed my letter to him at the Athenaem, which, in “Who’s Who,” I saw was his club. Evidently he now lives in California.


It is not an interesting letter, & contains nothing personal.  It simply lists various books & institutions that I might consult – including the Psychology Department of University College London!  [which I was then attending.]  But I was very glad to be able to show to people I know here a letter from the great Aldous Huxley.  [About a decade later there was a sort of follow-up, in the form of personal encounter, described in the “Me And the Famous” chapter of my own book, “Be A Good Neighbor and Leave Me Alone.”]


This evening in our auditorium we had a program presented by Keren Hayesod, which is the United Israel Appeal.  It consisted of 2 parts – first, a good & very enthusiastic speech by an official of the organization, whose theme was that the Jews are so divided among themselves that the State of Israel and the Keren Hayesod  are the only things capable of unifying them.  The second major part of the program was a performance of Yemenite dances by 7 young Yemenites, 3 men & 4 women, who I think may come from a school of dancing.  Their dancing, though strange, was very good, and very well appreciated.  As they danced, they often sang, & played on drums & cymbals.  The thing which most impressed me about them was the enthusiastic, almost ecstatic, expression on their faces, especially the men.  During the program we were given refreshments, & also large collections of propaganda literature.


Tomorrow is, I think, going to be a busy day for me.  On the day after, we begin our long tour to the North, after which we will go immediately into the kibbutzim we have chosen for our 2-week work period – so there is much preparation to be done tomorrow.  Also, I am hoping that I will be able tomorrow to have lunch with Mr. Horowitz, & intend to phone him in the morning.  It is not yet settled which kibbutz I will be going on. I forgot to see the man I was supposed to see about it today.  But I hope to see him tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 28, 1953

(6 PM)  So far, this has been a comparatively unimportant day.  I have been troubled with mild shilshul.  There was no program in the Institute, & we were free to do what we liked.


First, I want to record some things I forgot to mention on previous days.  In our evening show on July 20, Joan Diamond, the English Cambridge girl, also took part as a solo comedienne-impersonator.  Her impressions of a sweet old lady and a Cockney barrow-boy, given an Israeli twist, were quite good.  Recently Joan was unfortunate enough to have her purse containing all her money, stolen when she left it on her bed.

Last night, I paid my second visit, for an hour before supper, to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, but I paid little attention to what was going on, because I was writing my diary all the time.  Last night, I had some difficulty in getting to sleep, despite the fact that I am now in a room by myself.  When I took my water-bottle down to have a drink, I discovered to my dismay that it was leaking badly.  It was too late to do anything about it then, but this morning, I took off the rough felt casing, and found that the metal bottle had evidently rusted away along one edge at the bottom.  I would either have to get it repaired or buy a new bottle, for a water-bottle is to me essential, especially when tomorrow we are beginning a week’s tour.  I decided to try to get it soldered somewhere, & asked the woman at the Mensa where I could get it done.  She gave me the directions of a place, which I followed, but could not find it.  I found myself in a very ramshackle commercial district, where I walked up & down, looking for some sort of metal-work shop, & asking many people for help, who directed me in various fruitless ways. But at last, in the most ramshackle of places, a row of “shops” and workshops consisting of boards & sacking, I found just the little metal-workers’ place I needed.  The man here came from Turkey, from Istanbul, 4 years ago.  He said he would solder my bottle right away for 25 piastres  (one shilling).  He spoke French, & I talked a little with him & his son while I waited & watched him work.  He did the job quite well, & my water-bottle is now again leak-proof.  I only hope it will remain so.


Mr. Horowitz, whom I had met at the Salamons’ home (see July 25) had invited me to contact him & come for lunch one day in Jerusalem at his home.  Today was my last chance for at least 7 weeks, so this morning I made my first Israeli telephone call & arranged to come for lunch.  His address was Beit Shalom, Rehav Achad Ha’am, not a very far walk from the Gymnasium.  He told me on the phone how to get there.  I took great care to be clean, & wear clean clothes when I went.  He had told me that he had given over all but a small part of his home, in which he lived, to the Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal) for use for their purposes.  But I had not realized what a large house he had.  It looked quite fine from the outside, but inside I saw only his private apartment of a few rooms.  I had looked forward to this visit, for Mr. Horowitz is an important man.  He was formerly a partner of Mr. Salamon, but retired in 1941, and is now on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University.  I felt quite privileged to be invited personally to lunch at his home.  In person, however, Mr. Horowitz, now over 70, is not an impressive man, and does not give the impression of importance & experience, even when he talks about the famous people & events he has been connected with.  His conversation is by no means brilliant.  His small apartment, at the side of his former house, was well furnished & had interesting ornaments.  Before eating, we sat & talked for a while.  I tried to find out as much about him as I could.  He has always been a bachelor.  He came to Palestine in 1922 from Manchester, at the invitation of a friend who had come before, & had a law firm here.  Mr. Horowitz had been at St. John’s College, Cambridge. (I told him how I had failed the scholarship exam for there last December.  That seems a very long time ago now.)  He joined the law firm, & I think eventually became his friend’s partner.  His friend’s wife was I think an heiress of Marks (of Marks & Spencer, the big English chain store company) and when she came into her fortune, the friend returned to England, & handed over the firm to Horowitz.  Then Horowitz was joined by Jacob Salamon who in the early 1930’s became his partner.  Horowitz had always been legal advisor to the Hebrew University, and some years ago he was given a place on its distinguished Board of Governors.


Our conversation in general during this visit was unfortunately not excellent.  I had to keep on thinking up things to say & ask.  We touched upon the Hebrew language, the Israel tourist trade, hotels, music, immigration.  Mr. H. had obviously had very wide experience.


For our meal, we sat at a table next to a cubby-hole, through which the maid passed the things to Mr. H., who put them on the table, & we helped ourselves.  We had some sort of pancake roll, gefilte fish, peas & potatoes, bread & orange juice & apricots.  Afterwards we talked for a little while more, then I said I must go, & Mr. H did not press me to stay, but asked me to call him up when I am next in Jerusalem.  I came away not altogether satisfied with my visit, but I had learned a little, & it would be good to be able to say that I had had lunch with Mr. Horowitz.


2 more things from yesterday:  I met yesterday, or at least spoke with for the first time, a boy named David who came from Iraq to study electrical engineering in London.  He is now 29 years old, and is a “stateless person,” because, when he was 27, the Iraqi government demanded that he return to Iraq or else forfeit his passport.  He chose the latter, for he hated Iraq, and had worked for years in Bagdad just to make enough money to get away.  He is in the Summer Institute, but came 3 weeks later than the rest of us, & through some mistake, all his luggage went astray, & is not due to arrive for weeks yet.


Dorothy Jacobs, whom I first met & spoke with on the bus on July 5, I learned yesterday evening, when discussing vision with her & my letter from Aldous Huxley, wears contact lenses.  She is the first person I have ever met whom I knew wore them.  There is little to be seen, but the lenses are not invisible, for, from the side, the eyes obviously have some transparent covering.


I have become more clothes-conscious lately, & now definitely feel pleased when I know I am wearing clean things.  Yesterday I took a bundle of clothes into an automatic laundry (Bendix washing machines) to be laundered.  It cost me about 4/6 in English money.  I did not like paying this, but had to pay almost 3 shillings more today to have just one pair of trousers & one of shorts ironed in another place, since the laundry did not do ironing.


I wrote some more postcards today, including ones to Dr. Miller [my psychiatrist] and Rabbi Waldman in Washington, whom I think may be particularly surprised & pleased to hear from me from Jerusalem.


Today I consulted David Ron, one of our Madrichim, about the kibbutz I am to stay on after our tiyul (see yesterday.)  I told him I wanted to be on a Mapam (ultra socialist) kibbutz, & he suggested a place called Tsuva.  This is a kibbutz in the Jerusalem Corridor which I believe we have already visited.  From what I remember of it, it was not a very attractive place, and I am not altogether content.  Still, things are not definite yet.  I would of course like to go to a beautiful comfortable place, but the important thing for me (10:30 PM) is to go somewhere where I can get away from the Institute and be on my own with the kibbutzniks.  The situation is that most people are going to one of several kibbutzim of which they were given a choice.  But a few people like myself made special requests, I to go on a Mapam kibbutz.  This evening I have done my packing, and, as a precaution against any eventuality, I have packed into my rucksack everything I think I will need, even if I should decide to leave my kibbutz, & go about on my own.

We had another preparation meeting this evening, for our tour which begins tomorrow.  How I hate these instructions, this going about in a large party, this “canned tour,” always with the same guide whom we laugh at & like in a way, but who is not really a good guide, Dr. Vilnaee.  We will tour Galilee & Esdraelon extensively, but I do not enjoy even the prospect.


I paid a visit to the Bezalel Art Museum near here this afternoon, but did not like it very much.  I was not in perfect health, suffering from an uneasiness in the stomach.  We have to be up at 6 AM tomorrow.