By Uri Avnery, Christopher Costello
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Extra info for 1948. A Soldier's Tale – The Bloody Road to Jerusalem
They are very young, no older than their recruits, who from now on will stand to attention before them and obey their orders. ” Talking stops. The red-haired officer arranges the men patiently in rows of three. In a few days they will form up like this to order. They stand in ranks. Soldiers. What was being formed here was not just an army. It was also a youth movement, a revolutionary movement. Within a few days a new lifestyle developed, a new way of talking, of dressing, of behaving. This new style was not copied from somewhere or somebody.
Sad, because I knew that a cruel war was coming, which would bring death to many of those now dancing. Depressed because I could see that this land that I loved so much, where I had grown up since the age of ten, would never be the same again. The 635,000 Jewish inhabitants of Palestine rejoiced, because they could set up their own state in at least a part of the land. The Arab population lamented the loss of a large part of the land where their ancestors had lived for generations. The next day the war began.
Everyone felt instinctively: the die is cast. The uncertainty, the paralyzing indecision is at an end. The most brilliant director would not have been capable of producing a scene of such spontaneously erupting joy. These young people were not happy about the partition, which would divide Palestine into little pieces. They were not celebrating the approaching battles. Their joy was an expression of freedom: the walls of the ghetto have fallen, the road out is clear, new horizons for activity and life are open.