The source of the desecration of “the holy trinity”Davar, 21 August 1978Haim Gouri likes to wear the cloak of preacher at the gate. He preaches morality, sometimes to the world and sometimes domestically, while braving infernal anguish that torments his troubled soul. He recently did that in his article “The holy trinity” (Davar 4/8/78) in which he declared himself to be shocked at the employment of Arab children in Israel’s Jewish agriculture. I do not know whether to laugh or cry in the face of Haim Gouri’s hypocritical moralistic pose. He is the last one who has the right to preach morality. Haim Gouri was and still is an active participant in the process of degeneration, corruption and decline that have characterized Israel since June 1967. That process is inextricably linked to the beginning of the Occupation, Israel’s rule over and oppression of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Occupation is the original sin which contains within it all the corruption, decay and degeneration that have begun to fray the fabric of Israeli society. Haim Gouri never opposed the Occupation. He defended it from his lofty quasi-spiritual position. In his sanctimonious pose of a Palmahnik with a conscience (a clean conscience, I should add – because it has hardly ever been used) he supplied Israeli society with the addictive drug of moral and historical justification for oppression and Occupation. He cannot suddenly recoil from one of its direct consequences. The employment, for a pittance, of Arab children who work under the burning sun is entirely grounded in the Occupation. That disgrace constitutes part of the growth of a racist consciousness that has grown at an impressive rate within the Jewish collectivity since 1967. The moral degeneracy that is the employment of Arab children is part of the general degeneracy, as are parasitic war-profiteering, stealing lands from the Arabs of the Territories and throwing gas grenades into classrooms full of children. It all starts with the Occupation. It is no coincidence that a gangster like Flatto-Sharon entered the Knesset in 1977. Ten years of Occupation were fertile soil for distorting the values of Israeli society to the point of accepting the norms of an international gangster and integrating him into Israeli society as a patriot. Cocktail parties in a villa in Savyon in the company of ministers and tycoons along with an aperitif of Holocaust films are a good background against which to see what has happened in Israel since the beginning of the Occupation. Haim Gouri cannot beg off with the Israeli excuse that “I had no part in it”, because he did have a part in it. He is part of the influential and comfortable crowd in the State of Israel. He was close to the regime, he received favours from them and he did favours for them. Haim Gouri was an architect of the compromise that prevented the evacuation of the illegal Gush Emunim settlement at Kadum. He hobnobbed with ministers and prime ministers as part of the family, he mediated and compromised, added a word here and removed a sentence there and in the end he managed to help the gang of marauders execute the land-theft that for some reason was given the bland label of “settlement” (Heb. hitnahalut). There is a direct line between the brutality of Gush Emunim and the employment of Arab children under conditions of slavery. We have not heard Haim Gouri demand that the occupied Arab population be invited to use the educational and community infrastructure that the Jewish collectivity enjoys. Arab children do not have summer camps and activities at community centres, and their parents do not earn enough to make a living, and that necessarily leads to cheap child labour. What Haim Gouri needs to do – what he should have done long ago, in fact – is to be quiet and be ashamed. In silence he can go over the screenplay of his next film: “The 82nd Blow”.  Haim Gouri repliesDavar 28 August 1978No man chooses his adversaries, if it were possible I would choose an adversary whose style is cleaner. 1. I have the right to be appalled at the employment of Arab children under conditions of exploitation “in Jewish agriculture in Israel”, a right that is shared by many who think as I do that Israel does not have to return to the borders of 4 June 1967. 2. Problem of Arab labour did not begin only with the “Occupation”. It accompanied the return to Zion from its beginning. The “holy trinity”  of the Second Aliyah was already a social, national and moral challenge at the from the beginning of the century to its continuation in the twenties and the thirties at the time of the “vigils” for Hebrew labour against “those who see the Homeland through the hole of a piaster” 3. “Small and good” Israel had hard choices, moral unease and injustices in the relations between us and our neighbours. It suffices to mention only one incident: the Kafr Qasim affair. There is a tendency to idealize those days in all aspects. It is worthwhile to take a look at the newspapers from that period …4. There are those who think that the “Occupation” and its continuation are entirely the fault of the Israelis and in no way the fault of the Arabs. As an “an active participant in the process of degeneration, corruption and decline that have characterized Israel since June 1967” I nevertheless believe that the Six Day War did not break out because of Israel, which was willing to see the “Green Line” as a final border, just as it had danced for joy on 29 November 1947. 5. I admit that I was an “active participant”. First as a company commander in the Jerusalem Brigade against the Arab Legion, which opened fire on 5 June 1967. After that I was an “active participant” who helped hundreds of Arabs who had fled eastward to return to their homes in Abu Dis, al-Azariya [Bethany – trans.] and other villages in the area, and I did it with the “active participation” of a captured Jordanian vehicle which fell into our hands next to an artillery position that had shelled Hebrew Jerusalem. 6. After that, I admit, I opposed and I still oppose, as an “active participant”, the withdrawal of Israel to the Green Line. The “Allon Plan”, which I support, concerns itself with the survival and security of Israel and it does not require the exploitation of Arab children for the sake of greed and the distortion of the face of Zionism. 7. Kadum. The Labour government, if it had wanted, could have rejected the compromise I proposed next to the train station at Sebastia. It was a hundred percent consistent with what had been proposed to the settlers by the government of Israel at the time of the preceding settlement crisis and which was sharply rejected by the honourable Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. Without identifying with the path of Gush Emunim, I thought that under the circumstances that had been created there, when thousands of men, women and children had been gathered there for a week without an answer, it was desirable to prevent a repeat of the ritual of settling and dragging away and the spectacles that go along with it, it down to the last victim. The government of Israel had the authority after that to decide what its policy would be on that matter based on its own judgment. 8. I do not know what “favours” I did for the “regime” or received from it. If G.S. has a detailed list of those “favours” I hope he will be kind enough to divulge it without requiring me to retain the services of a lawyer for that purpose. Presumably this newspaper will publish it. 9. The dragging of The 81st Blow into the above-mentioned letter causes me, for all that, to wonder whether it would not be best to let the reader judge and to respond for himself, instead of me, the remaining sections of the letter and its style.
To Yaakov Goren greetings I bear witness like a hundred witnesses that Gideon Spiro whom I know personally is an AA Israeli patriot a graduate of a Zionist-socialist movement a fighter in a paratroopers regiment and veteran of battles. All the slanders about him being a “Communist” heaven forfend are stupid lies and foolish McCarthyism this young man has the right to be treated like any other person and to be judged according to his talent and success in his work.Yours Haim Gouri