MARCH 30, 1955
EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK—After our visit to Beirut a week ago Monday, we stopped in Capernum to see the first Christian church and the first Jewish synagogue. Both are now cared for by Franciscan monks, who at the time we arrived were showing around some members of their order from China and Burma. As we left we were surrounded by a large group of children from a nearby village. They seemed to me to belong to a number of religions, but they were in the charge of a nun.
Next we visited the Hula drainage project, a vast irrigation undertaking that seems to be progressing favorably. When this project is finished, there will be acres and acres of good land that will permit the settlement of thousands of people. We lunched at the guest house of Kibbutz Ayeleth Hashahar, and then proceeded to Nazareth, where the mayor and the military governor escorted us around.
Another jovial Franciscan monk told us that the old Crusaders' Church is now practically torn down and that a great modern church will be built in its place. Somehow I cannot get up much enthusiasm for the building of this church because so many old things have been destroyed, which I wish might have been preserved.
We proceeded back to Tel Aviv and dined with our Ambassador, Mr. Edward B. Lawson, and his wife. We had a pleasant dinner and a chance to talk with Mr. Moshe Sharett and Mr. Eytan, both of whom I enjoyed very much.
On Tuesday morning we visited the Women's Corps of the Israel Army. The army in Israel is looked upon as a continuation of the educational system. It is expected to do part of the job of teaching all citizens the rudiments of democracy and the integration of the various nationalities now in the country. Where the level of education has been low the army is expected to help to bring it up and great emphasis is placed on what can be taught these young people about farm life during their period of military service.
Boys serve two and a half years in the service and girls put in two years. All take basic military training where the girls learn to shoot as well as the boys.
Later in the day on our way to the Weizmann Institute and the Weizmann Memorial we drove up to the border area of Mishmar Ayalon, where there is fertile land in the valley but which is called "No Man's Land." This land could be divided and cultivated by agreement, but in this particular area no agreement can be reached. We were told that the Arabs apparently seem to feel they can gain more by keeping the Israelis in a state of tension and on constant watches along this border.
We stopped in a small village where one woman told us she did not feel much anxiety as she had three dogs and she knew that a regular watch was kept in her area during the night hours.
The Weizmann Institute, which is carrying on much useful work, is being enlarged and expanding its services. The memorial to the late President Weizmann is very simple but very beautiful in its simplicity. After a short visit with Mrs. Weizmann, we visited the Ayanot Agricultural School, where several hundred boys and girls are being taught agriculture and home economics.