Randy's Corner Deli Library

24 June 2008

The Jewish Nation was reborn in Auschwitz

What is the Jewish nation? What constitutes a nation? Does Religious Zionism have a chance? Does it matter? What of separation of the Jews from the state? Is that violative of Zionism? What do we make of 60 years of Charedi dominance in the religious affairs of Israel? What are the results of that dominance today? This article raises about as many questions as hair on my arms.

Randy Shiner

The Jewish Nation was reborn in Auschwitz



Arie S. Issar

During the last few months I received repeated e-mail letters, in English, Hebrew and even in Esperanto, with an article called "Europe Died in Auschwitz". In all these letters it was claimed that the article is translated from an article written by a Spanish journalist, Sebastian Vivar (or Villar) Rodriguez. All of my efforts and my friends' efforts to identify the journalist failed. Thus, until otherwise proven we can assume that the article is some sort of artful propaganda trick.[1]

I would not have bothered my friends with this article if not for the peculiar chain of events interwoven with the receipt of the e-mails containing it, all associated in this way or the other with its title. This chain of associations, in the first place, raised a chain of personal memories which pushed me to sit down and write this article. In the second place it confirmed the "First Law of unexpected certainty", which I formulated, saying that "The most unexpected is the most certain to occur".

Just in order to familiarize the reader who was not fortunate to get the series of e-mails mentioned above, I will tell in brief that this "journalist" claims that the Europeans "…assassinated 6 million Jews in order to end up bringing in 20 million Muslims! The Europeans he claims….burnt in Auschwitz the culture, intelligence and power to create…… people who gave to humanity the symbolic figures who were capable of changing history (Christ, Marx, Einstein, Freud...) and who is the origin of progress and wellbeing."

The peculiar occurrence, from my point of view, was that just when I got the first e-mail with the title mentioning Auschwitz I was collecting material for an essay, from which I got to learn about the origin of the gas 'Zyklon B.' This gas was used by the Germans in the gas chambers of the above mentioned infamous concentration camp. The essay I was writing was about the question: "Whose forecast will be verified in 2025: Malthus’ or Condorcet’s?[2] In this essay I examined the new prophecies of thirst and hunger to come mainly upon the Third World as a result of the Global Climate Change. One of these prophecies was that of the World Water Forum (WWF), which convened during March 2006 in Mexico City and which stated that an estimated 2.7 billion people, or one third of the world’s population, will face major water shortages by 2025, also foretelling a shortage of food, since irrigation for agriculture is the most important use of water. In my article, I argued that in order that this prophecy should be falsified like that of Malthus, two hundred years ago. In order that Condorcet’s prophecy of abundance, which Malthus disagreed with, will be verified, the world has to invest in progressing the population threatened by the WWF prophecy on the dimensions of democracy, education and science. Progress on these dimensions produced the innovations that brought a surplus of food to the world.

Condorcet argued that liberalism will bring enlightenment and advance in education and science, and even voluntary birth control. These stages of progress will guarantee ample food. The verification of Condorcet's prophecy was the "Green Revolution," one of its major steps was made by the chemist Fritz Haber, A German Jew, who found a way to synthesize ammonia from the nitrogen in the air. This led to the industrial production of fertilizers, which won him the Nobel Prize in 1918. The same Fritz Haber initiated modern chemical warfare by promoting and organizing the use of chlorine gas by the German army during the First World War. When Hitler came to power in Germany, Haber had to leave this country because of his Jewish origin. A byproduct of his invention was the insecticide Zyklon B gas, which the German army used for the extermination of Jews in the concentration camps, among them Auschwitz.

The second association came while I was writing, a few weeks later, another article on the subject of "Progressive Development", which in my opinion should replace "Sustainable Development" in the semi-arid regions, which are going to dry up due to Global Change.[3] The writing of this article involved the study of the successes, as well as failures, of the various projects in which I was involved in the dry countries of the world. Here came the associations of my first steps in this field which were made in the Negev Desert, as a student of Prof. Leo Picard and his assistant Zeev Shiftan.

Both of them were born in Germany, but unlike Fritz Haber, they did not try to assimilate into the German nation, but joined the Zionist movement and migrated to Palestine. Leo Picard, who got his geological education in Germany, was a pioneer in all that relates to groundwater development in Palestine. After the State of Israel was formed, he insisted that exploration wells should be drilled in the Negev Desert, as according to his theory groundwater must exist there. He was backed up by Engineer Simcha Blass, later the inventor of the drip irrigation system, who convinced David Ben Gurion, the first prime-minister of Israel, to supply a budget for buying a few British army surplus percussion drilling machines. With the help of veteran drillers who volunteered for this project, the first wells were drilled along the western escarpment of the Arava Valley. Indeed groundwater was found and since then many wells were drilled. Their water makes possible the thriving special winter agriculture of this valley.

As a student I accompanied my instructors when they sited the wells and later I served as the well sitter, which meant going down to the drilling sites every few days, bringing back the drilled rock samples and reporting the advance, success or failure. During the long days of travel with Picard and Shiftan, I learned about the reasons for their decision to leave Germany and immigrate to Israel. Picard, who first immigrated to Palestine in 1924, then returned to Germany for his Ph.D. studies and in 1934 started his academic career as lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told me that because of various experiences as a young men, he came to the decision that anti-Semitism is ingrained in the German population, general as well as academic and there is no future for the Jewish people in this country. The same story I heard from Shiftan, who was detained in Buchenwald concentration camp, after the Nazis gained power, but got a certificate from Palestine, enabling his immigration.[4]

Here comes the next association, namely Iran. In 1960 Picard and Shiftan were invited by the FAO and the Iranian Government to start a project of groundwater development in Iran. As neither could not take on this project, they suggested me as the head of the project, this was accepted and in 1961 I left with my family for Iran, where we stayed for more than three years. One of my tasks was to locate a well for supplying fresh water for the building of the electric power station at Busheir, at that time a conventional power station. After I left Iran I was invited o come back by the UN Atomic Energy Agency to advise the Iranian Government on the application of environmental isotopes in hydro-geologic investigation. I left Iran just a few weeks before the Ayatollas gained power.

The above mentioned e-mails continued to arrive while I was listening to the spiteful orations by Iran's president Ahmedinajad promising the destruction of Israel, and his boast of turning Iran into a nuclear powered state (Not mentioning that atomic power is a brain child of mostly Jewish theoretical physicists, especially a Jewish lady scientist named Lisa Meitner, and was implemented by a team including many Jewish physicists headed by Robert Oppenheimer) and hearing about the conversion of the Bousheir power station to a nuclear station with the help of Russia, the vicious circle closed. This brought to mind Abdul Nasser's boasting speeches in the days before the Six Days War in 1967.

I was mobilized to my reserve artillery unit in Jerusalem (the guns, were positioned on a field a few hundred meters from my home) and we were sitting and waiting. The radio was tuned to Cairo from whence the voice of Abdul Nasser was heard. A fellow soldier in our battery,[5] a refugee from Egypt, translated the speeches from which we learned that the destruction of Israel is near, by the coalition of Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Iraqi armies, equipped by arms manufactured by the USSR. Hearing these promises, one of the fellows got up pulled up his sleeve and pointed at the number tattooed on his arm in Auschwitz and cried out in Hebrew: 'Ya Abdul Nasser. Never Again! No more killing of Jews, one Auschwitz was enough, we have learnt the lesson". As a matter of fact, this fellow gave vent to the feeling of all us and of most Israelis. The burden of anxiety from another stage of extermination, exploded in an outburst of bravery which washed away the Arab armies in the shortest war in our history.

After a day or two the war started, after the Jordanian Arab Legion broke down, we advanced north towards Ramallah, but before reaching it we were informed that it surrendered, so we turned east towards Jericho. We stopped for a while north of Jerusalem. We could see the Old City and hear the fighting. Then there was silence and on the army radio net we could hear the voice of Motta Gur the parachutes division commander: "The Temple Mount is in our hands, the Temple Mount is in our hands". We continued to Jericho, and found out that it surrendered too. We continued northward, participated in silencing Syrian guns which shelled the valley of Genessaret, climbed the escarpment above Kibbutz Shamir and stopped our advance on the Golan Heights facing Damascus, when the cease fire was declared. On our way back we heard that Abdul Nasser resigned and saw convoys of Palestinian refugees returning to their homes, from which they fled when they heard that the Israeli army is advancing.


[1] I am especially grateful to Ami Isseroff and his friends for ringing the alarm about the identity of the writer. The Spanish original of the article is evidently at http://www.gentiuno.com/articulo.asp?articulo=1865 but the author is unknown except for that article.
[2] The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com Hydrogeology Journal, 2007, 15(2):419-422
[3]"Progressive development in arid environments: adapting the concept of sustainable development to a changing world", Hydrogeology Journal 1431-2174 (Print) 1435-0157 (Online) Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
[4] Was murdered by Arab terrorists in 1990
[5] Later on became one of the senior economists and general director of one of the leading banks of Israel

Arie Issar pioneered hydrogeology in Israel and is a world-recognized authority on the subject. He is an emeritus professor at the J. Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and has authored several books on geology, climate change and philosophy.

Copyright ©2008 by the author. All rights reserved.

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