Saturday, December 30

Emek Amok or Sharm... meeting 2

A little more about the Israeli bloggermeeting at Ben Harim' located in the Yizre'el Valley, known in Hebrew as Emek Yizre'el, in short, the sequel.

Yoav Gal, blogger and Ben Harim resident owner, our host in short, took us on a little tour of the cemetary right next to his home.
In his own and special way, he told us a little about the history of the Yizreel Valley, Emek Israel or Emek Amok, valley of people gone mad (my interpretation, not Yoav's). By pointing out specific gravestones (and the lack thereoff on some of the graves) and the layout of what, at first sight, seemed to be just another small countryside graveyard, he took us on a ride through history.
The lands of Ein Harod, Tel Yosef and Gidonia etc. were bought, so Yoav told us, from their Palestinian owners. The sales' records still exist.
Yet i have that suspicion the story isn't all THAT simple. The lands of nearby Afula were also bought form their owner, a wealthy big landowner living in Beirut. the tenant farmers were then expelled with a small amount of money, from the lands they and their families had farmed for a long time. Some made it, others were just too poor to rent land elswhere, and died of hunger. It made a lot of people very angry, as yes, businesswise it was all very "kosher" but humanwise much less so.

The people who moved on the land instead of the Palestinian tenant farmers, were young, inexperienced and very idealistic. Cut of from their families who had stayed behind in Europe, from their culture and their way of life, they wished to create something new.

However hardship, inexperience and the sheer sillyness of being very young and very certain you are completely right caused trouble. Some died, some committed suicide, others went more or less mad and many ofcourse survived and created settlements driven by ideology. An atmosphere not always too welcoming of newcomers or weaker people.
Children who died, were not given gravestones, as they had not been "productive" during their lives. Just a small mound of stones markes a child's grave. No name, no date, no identity.
How must their mothers have felt?

Parents of kibbutz members were buried in a special part of the burial ground. After all, they had not been idealistic members of the group either. But they HAD been productive, so at least they had a stone and a name.

Amongst the kibbutz members, there were many very young people who die; 17, 18 20-something year olds.
Some of diseases rampant in that area, where proper medical care was often lacking. Others of sadness or suicide, deserted by their lover, or made fun of by the all powerful group, as no one would love them; "she's too ugly for love", Yoav told us. So she killed herself.

The Emek scenery is beautiful, green soft, gentle almost, i want to say.
I'm reminded of that nursery rhyme "Ba menuha leyagea, umargoa le'amel". It's a lovely tune, to be sung quietly by a mother, putting her baby to sleep.
The text tells the baby about the time to rest, as the work has been hard, the dew is on the fields and the moon has risen, night has fallen over Emek Yizre'el, .... It's dark over the Gilboa Mountain, the sounds of a shout and of a shot...who died between Bet Alfa and Nahalal?", a nursery rhyme you get it?

Uri Katzir spoke about telling history, about blogging to tell about the human side of events which happened long ago.
The graveyard told me that story and i'm sad.

The collage above was made based on images i shot at the graveyard.


ee said...

Hi Yudit,

We sing that song in the choir, in actual fact it was my audition song! I grew up in the valley so I know it well.
Your collage it lovely...

yudit said...

thanx for the compliment. Il like the music of that song too. The text somewhat less..

ee said...

You're welcome.
Now since you know my true identity:), would you care to meet for coffee sometime soon?

yudit said...

ee, sure with pleasure

this coming shabat?

ee said...

This Shabbat sounds just fine, when would it be convenient for you?