My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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LONDON —When we were in Haifa, we were the guests of the president of the Israel Institute of Technology, Rav-Aluf Yaakov Dori, and his wife. They told us a little of the rapid growth of the institution, which is training engineers and scientists for Israel, and smilingly referred to it as the MIT of Israel.

I am sure, however, after it has had a few more years to develop, that many students will be going there to study, just as they seek out our leading universities. We visited some of the dormitories after lunch and, much to our surprise, found that already there are a number of people from other countries. One girl came from Argentina and another from Austria.

The view from Mount Carmel, above Haifa and its harbor, is most beautiful, and driving from there to Acre was an equally lovely drive, much of it along the coast.

MAYor Gadish of Acre met us, and I was much interested to see the walls and moats that surround that old city. Our hosts talked about the Crusades and the Turkish conquest almost as if they were modern history.

We walked through some of the old streets, saw the beautiful mosque, and visited the Arab folklore exhibit. Then we were taken down to see some of the excavations that are being carried on, which showed that the city is built on another city -- and probably as they go down deeper they will find several layers representing different periods. The age of many things in Israel is surprising to those of us who live in a new country like the United States.

We had tea with a high-school teacher who is a friend of the mayor, and our talk ranged over many questions of Arab life, for it is obvious that the Arabs living in Israel are not very happy. There are a number of restrictions they must adhere to, but this is only natural in a country that is surrounded by unfriendly Arab countries. Nevertheless, it must be very hard on them not to be able to visit with ease and freedom their families and friends just across a border. But the fact remains that for Israel's security this might be dangerous, and so one understands the government's hesitation in granting more freedom of movement than is at present permitted.

We drove from Acre to Tiberias and saw the Sea of Galilee by moonlight, and later dined at Degania, the oldest kibbutz in Israel, with Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Baratz and their daughter-in-law. I had last seen this young couple in the U.S. soon after their marriage, and I was interested to find out how a young man, who had practiced law in Washington, D.C., was accommodating himself to the life of the kibbutz.

He told me that he felt some people loved that life and could live no other, and he thought his wife was one of these people and he was, therefore, trying to adjust himself. He found it almost too easy a life, I think, and I could not help wondering whether the less-well-established kibbutz might have offered him more of a challenge. For Degania is now really a pretty big business concern. Everybody works and has his place in its society, a society that is different from what you and I are ordinarily accustomed to. But it is established and the decisions to be made are no longer fundamental and their management is not very creative or challenging now.

The next morning we stopped at Capernaum and Nazareth for a short tour, and then went on to Tel Aviv, where we were the mayor's guests at the City of Tel-Aviv-Yafo Municipal Jubilee. This is a parade for all the children at Purim time and they certainly made it a very gala affair.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 3, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.