Article - Halperin, Alon, Grinberg
was born in 1860 into a very wealthy and learned family in Vilna. He received a traditional Jewish education and from a very early age became a fervent nationalist and public benefactor. One of his earliest acts was to take steps to care for Jewish prostitutes and help them make a new life for themselves. He also set up a cooperative workshop in which he engaged Jewish workers who were miserably employed in privately-owned undertakings.
Following the pogroms of 1880, he devoted himself full-time to the Hibbat Zion ("Love of Zion") movement, and in 1885 decided to immigrate to Eretz Israel. On the eve of his departure he entered the synagogue and took a Scroll of the Law in his hands. There he swore to devote all his wealth to the well-being of Eretz Israel and took an oath, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning."
Upon his arrival in the Holy Land he participated in the redemption of the soil of Yesud ha-Ma'alah and purchased the land of Nes Ziyyonah with the intention of founding a workers' village on the site. He was unable to carry out his plans, however, because of financial difficulties. On the day that Nes Ziyyonah was officially founded, Michael Halperin appeared on the scene bearing a blue and white flag in his hands and accompanied by a company of horsemen.
When in 1891 a ban on the entry of Jews to the Holy Land was declared, he demonstrated against the edict by riding the streets of Jaffa on an Arab holiday carrying the Zionist flag and accompanied by a troop of horsemen loudly singing the hymn of the First Aliya: "Carry the banner to Zion, the banner of the camp of Judah." When the group reached the hill on which Nes Ziyyonah stood, he drew his sword and cried out, "I dedicate this sword to the Lord" and cut his right hand, drawing blood, to signify that only through the sword and bloodshed could Eretz Israel be redeemed.
About the same period, Halperin founded the first Workers' Organization in Eretz Israel and declared open war on the officials of Baron de Rothschild for their actions in the colonies that were under the aegis of the Baron. As a result, Halperin was forced to leave the country. Returning in 1898, he took part in a number of Zionist conferences abroad where he appeared dressed in a red shirt "as befits a representative of the Zionist proletariat."
He then spent a number of years in Europe and returned to Eretz Israel in 1906 swearing that he would never again return to Russia. He returned a poor man, having spent or wasted all his wealth, and took a job as a night watchman, first in Jaffa and then, when Tel Aviv was founded, at the Herzliyyah Gymnasium.
Halperin was an effective orator and also wrote a number of Yiddish dramas and poems full of love for the Land of Israel. All his manuscripts went up in flames in the attack on Tel Hai in 1920 (see Defense of Tel Hai 50th Anniversary).
He founded Ha-Shomer (the Watchmen's Organization) and the Poale Zion (Zionist Workers) Party and devoted all his time to these organizations.
When in 1918 General Allenby began the conquest of Palestine and volunteers formed the Jewish Legion, Halperin volunteered but was turned down on account of his age. Scarcely a few months before his death he began to consider the possibility of organizing a Jewish army to conquer the country so that it could provide a refuge for all persecuted Jews.
During and after the war he suffered greatly from ill-health and poverty. He went to live in Upper Galilee but there he was sick, alone, and forsaken. He died in Zefat (Safed) in 1920 and was buried at Mahanayim.
A village near Nes Ziyyonah was named after him - Givat Mikha'el ("Michael's Hill") - and a street in Tel Aviv bears his name.
Yigal Allon was born in 1918 at Kefar Tavor in Upper Galilee. He attended the Kadoorie Agricultural School and was one of the founders of Kibbutz Ginnosar with which he remained closely connected all his life.
From his early youth Allon was active in the military. During the disturbances of 1936-1939 he commanded a unit of the Galilee Mobile Defense Group; he was a member of the Haganah and commander of the Palmach (Jewish defense forces in Palestine until 1948). During World War II he took part in special missions in Syria and Lebanon and took an active role in the struggle with the Mandate authorities over illegal immigration and the establishment of illegal settlements. During the War of Independence he commanded armies in Galilee, Jerusalem, the coastal plain, and the Negev, ending his military career with the rank of Aluf (General).
After the War of Independence, he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Oxford.
In 1954 he entered the Knesset as a representative of the Poale Zion party and was one of the founders of the Israel Labor party. From 1961 to 1968 he was Minister of Labor and worked for the improvement of labor relations. He was responsible for introducing special Labor Courts and set up a program for directing people to the development areas. In 1968 he organized the Ministry of Absorption which dealt mainly with the Jewish immigrants from Russia.
From 1969 to 1974 Allon served as Minister of Education and Culture and was responsible for introducing the educational reform which led to the establishment of junior-high schools. He did much to foster the education of the very young: encouraged modifications of the existing elementary and secondary school syllabuses, introduced changes into teachers' training colleges, and set up a new pattern of government participation in higher education through the Council for Higher Education.
From 1974 to 1977 Allon was Foreign Minister and was a signatory to the first interim agreement with Egypt, He worked hard to develop a political understanding with the USA and to reach agreement with the nations of Europe and the members of the Common Market.
URI ZVI GREENBERG
Uri Zvi Greenberg, one of the great Hebrew poets of the twentieth century, was born in Galicia in 1894, the direct descendant of a family of rabbis from whom he drew his inspiration.
His first works in Hebrew and Yiddish were published in 1912 and he was quickly accepted into the ranks of the leading writers in both tongues. His first book, in Yiddish, was published in Lvov while he was fighting on the Serbian front.
Upon immigrating to Israel in 1923, Uri Zvi Greenberg declared that in future he would write only in Hebrew, but he found it difficult to cut himself off from his mother tongue Yiddish, and continued to write in that language from time to time.
His poems and articles appeared in the labor press. He spent his time traveling around the country, visiting the pioneer settlements in which he saw the fulfillment of his dreams.
After the disturbances of 1929, he left the workers' movement and joined up with the Revisionists. This dramatic change was the outcome of his dissatisfaction with the leaders of the Yishuv who, he claimed, had abandoned their ideals of a revival of the Kingdom of Israel and failed to recognize the dangers inherent in the spread of Arab nationalism.
Greenberg became an active member of the Revisionist movement and undertook a mission for the party in Poland, returning to Israel on the outbreak of World War II. During the 1930s Greenberg attacked the official policy of "restraint" and called for the setting up of a Jewish military force that would keep the Arabs in check and free Eretz Israel from British rule. He expressed this in a number of his poems in which he called upon the people "not to die for the sanctification of God, but defend ourselves and establish the Kingdom of Israel". These poems were the inspiration of the underground movements as they fought to bring their dreams to life.
As early as 1923, Uri Zvi Greenberg foresaw the destruction of European Jewry, and in his poems and articles he warned of the fate in store for the Jews of the Diaspora. After the Holocaust he mourned over the fact that his terrible prophecies had been realized.
Uri Zvi Greenberg was elected a member of Israel's first Knesset, representing the Herut party, and until his death in 1981 was active in the public struggle for a "Greater Israel", the redemption of Jerusalem, and the realization of his royalist dreams.
In his works he takes the Christian world to task for turning Europe into a slaughterhouse for Jews and attacks the Arabs for their acts of savagery. He strives for a "Jewish Revolution" that will renew the ties between the Jewish people, their homeland, and their traditions, and gives vent to the yearnings for a revival of the Kingdom of Israel and the redemption of the Jewish people. His works represent a synthesis of traditional Jewish values and an individualistic lyrical approach to life and its problems. Thus, while his works clearly owe much to such traditional Jewish sources as the Bible, the Talmud, and the prayer book, a certain European influence also makes itself felt.
His Hebrew poetry has been published in a number of books including Rehovot ha-Nahar ("Streets of the River") which contains poems on the Holocaust. However, there still remain a considerable number of his poems that have not yet been collated.
Throughout the long years of his work as author and publicist, Uri Zvi Greenberg had a wide circle of admirers who saw in him a "poet-legislator", as well as numerous vociferous detractors who opposed his views and his vision; but both groups were united in agreeing on his eminence as a poet. All his life, Greenberg strove to be a "venerable Jerusalemite" and felt himself to be a "representative of the Kingdom that is still no more than a burning vision".