Menu JTA Search

Our Daily News Letter

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

(By Our Jerusalem Correspondent, David Kahan)

The time of grapes and almonds has begun in the Jewish Colonies. Day after day scores of Jewish girls and young men, workers from Tel-Aviv and Haifa, are going out to the Jewish colonies. The work is done at fever heat, for in the course of a month, or six weeks at most, everything must be completed. This year a sort of miracle has happened in Palestine. Jewish colonists have after protracted negotiations consented to employing also Jewish workers in taking down the fruits. It was not very easy to achieve this, but in view of the severe unemployment in the country and the fact that thousands of Jewish workers in Tel-Aviv and Haifa are going about like lost souls without anything to do, the colonists at last were persuaded this year to agree.

It is not the hunger alone that the Jewish workers find so hard to bear. They do get some little financial support. What is hard, what is impossible to bear, is going about idle. The worker grumbles to himself: What am I to do with my hands? The days drag by so slowly, everything drags. From dawn, when the heavens are afire with the sunrise, all through the day when the heat pours down on the glowing sands, until nightfall, what are we to do with our idle hands?

And all round Jaffa and Haifa lie the Jewish colonies, long-settled colonies, big, sound colonies, and in these colonies thousands of Arab workers are employed year after year during the working season, Arabs who come from long distances. And in the Jewish town the Jewish worker suffers distress and hunger and idleness.

Is it perhaps that the Jewish worker is not so capable as the Arab? The must embittered enemy of the Jewish worker recognizes that in the last few years there has come into existence in Palestine a tanned, swarthy, bronzed Jewish worker who is adapted to Palestine as the camel is adapted to the sands in the desert, and his minimum standard of life hardly exceeds that of the Arab. And yet, up to the present day the Jewish colonist cannot accustom himself to the thought of having his work done by Jewish workers.

For years the Jewish colonies were closed to the Jewish worker. Not even the experience of that year when the Arabs threw themselves upon the Jewish colonists, killing and robbing, was able to make any difference to the old tradition. It did not take very long for the Jewish colonist to forget the oath which he swore upon the grave of his son murdered by the Arabs that he would in future employ only Jewish workers. A few months went by and the Jewish colonies were again closed to the Jewish workers.

This year under the pressure of the economic crisis and after great efforts the colonies were opened a little to the Jewish workers and the Jewish workers are now beginning to penetrate into the Jewish village. The colony of Petach-Tikvah includes among its thousands of Arab workers about 2,000 Jewish workers and now in the midst of the season Jewish workers are entering the wealthy colonies of Rishon-le-Zion and Rehoboth.

The time of grapes! It recalls through the childish enthusiasm of “Ahavath Zion.” The sun-drenched road leading from Tel-Aviv to Rishon-le-Zion is full of bustle and movement. On camels and donkeys and in motor cars the stream goes towards the colony. On both sides of the road stretch scorched fields long past their reaping, and whole villages are gathered in the fields making holiday of the threshing time. Whole villages thresh the corn in common. A huge camel with his head stretched towards the burning heavens is yoked to a tiny donkey with thin, scraggy legs and a coat like velvet. There are oxen too and also women in the yoke. The dust rises up to the skies. There is a crying and a shouting and a screaming, and behind the barn sits the Effendi, the wealthy estate owner, surrounded by his youngest wives, and he beams with joy and warmth.

In these hot summer days, you see at every step the whole wild splendor of the East. The great rocks stand up in the flame of the sun and rise to the heavens.

The bushes are weighed down heavily with their grapes, juicy and ripe, and in the vineyards the workers spread out, wide-brimmed straw hats shielding their faces from the sun, red with the exertion of their work, and the girls are bronzed and jolly with a sort of intoxicated gladness welling out of their hearts. Upon the mounds sit young workers and learners, shelling almonds and laughing happily as they work. In the colony itself it is as peaceful as on the Sabbath day. Each house and shop is closed. Everyone is in the vineyard. The whole life of the colony has congregated there.

By nightfall we have managed to make our way to Rehoboth. More beautiful than its almonds and grapes are the daughters of Rehoboth, and the whole colony which looks tired and sleepy after the long summer day. Young life rushes in the vineyards and eyes are full of happiness and joy. The first stars light up the sky. From the far-off tents where the workers dwell comes singing and laughter. Soon they come rushing out of their tents and the colonies ring to the sound of their laughter and their song.

Following a series of clashes on matters of policy and administration with national leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. Fort Cumberland Klan, No. 37, of Cumberland, Md., severed all connection with the order and declared that it will no further be identified with it.

According to James W. Webster, former Exalted Cyclops and late Grand Exalted Night Hawk of the State of Maryland, approximately 800 members have left the order in Cumberland.

NEXT STORY