Another Tack: The May Day massacre of 1921

There’s no telling where the final ideological resting place of intellectually restless Yosef Haim Brenner – one of the Second Aliya luminaries and founding giants of modern Hebrew literature – would have been had he not been slain before reaching his 40th birthday. He might have evolved into a nationalist like initially-leftist Moshe Shamir, or followed his socialist leanings to the farthest radical fringe. Speculations are moot. Brenner was a full deck of cards from which any hand could have been dealt. Nothing was irrevocably predetermined when Arab marauders took his life on May 2, 1921. Continue reading

Another Tack: The forward position

My mom was never big on surprises, especially when it came to birthday gifts. The surest way not to miss the mark, she reckoned, was to straight out inquire what I wanted. Just before I turned nine, I asked her for a volume of poet Natan Alterman’s Seventh Column. My wish was granted and the brown hardcover anthology has remained one of my most cherished possessions ever since. Continue reading

Another Tack: First peacenik, forgotten founder

Is a penchant for useless information nature or nurture? Whenever I speculate about a likely inborn inclination, I recall how my mother always made sure I learned the origin of every street name in any address at which we lived. So when my parents bought an apartment on Tel Aviv’s leafy Rehov Yosef-Eliahu (near the Mann Auditorium), I was sure to become the only kid around who could expound on who Yosef-Eliahu was. Continue reading

Another Tack: Saving Labor from itself

The requiem for Labor is premature. Labor isn’t terminally decrepit. Nevertheless, its demise is inevitable if it fails to save itself from itself.

What’s at stake isn’t merely Labor’s misfortune but that of our entire body politic, which must be able to count on two responsible mainstream alternatives. Kadima – an opportunistic concoction without a weighty past, a promising future or any true adhesive to bind its cynical melange of expedient self-seekers – isn’t one. Continue reading