Jerusalem (May. 27)
In all my life and travels Zionism is the cleanest force that I have known, Lady Melchett, wife of the present Lord Melchett, who has been visiting Palestine with her husband, writes in an article in the “Palestine Bulletin” here. It strips you of the common trappings of humanity. You must first be yourself, which gives you the understanding to love the Jews and to be ennobled by what they are. And from this spiritual release is born a passion which demands a humility and a service.
The first real impression that I had of this country was from that great philosopher and leader, General Smuts, in 1921. We were travelling in the same ship to South Africa, his own country, which he loves with an intensity that can only be understood by a Boer, and he told me, “Palestine is like South Africa in heaven”.
It is true. The beauty, and above all, the quiet magic which speaks straight to the soul cannot be imagined. It has to be felt. A radiant quality emanates from the exquisite bare and softly rounded mountains.
This purity which has been the fountain of religion banishes the human turmoil, and reveals the true spirit of Israel. It is their land, because they alone have the spiritual quality born of suffering which it demands.
Before the Haluzim began to reclaim this country with incredible sacrifices, to read of which is an agony and an inspiration, this was indeed a land of graves and memories. They have given it life and laughter.