A Stamp for Artzenu
Suggestion to Certain
Prominent Philatelists on a New Issue
In a few weeks, or only days, letters will arrive from
Palestine bearing Hebrew stamps. The issuance of these new stamps
is not a month-in month-out occasion, nor even one that takes place
Since the year 71 of the present era, when, after the
fall of Jerusalem, Simon Bar Giora, the leader of the war against
the Romans, was dragged to Rome and there thrown down from the Tarpeian
rock, there has been no Jewish state on earth.
Hebrew coins were minted for the last time by Bar-Kochba,
who raised the flag of rebellion against Rome in the year 132 to 135.
For eighteen hundred years there has been no Jewish state and no signs
of Jewish independence, and the only regalia has been the Jewish anthem—the
Hebrew Psalms of Zion, and the Jewish crown that was placed on the
scrolls of the Torah, the Holy Scriptures, where it is still, as everyone
can see for himself by visiting a synagogue.
In our day, under the Premier-Designate, David Ben-Gurion,
Hebrew money and stamps are being printed.
* * *
Thus when you see Hebrew money and stamps, you will
know that these signs of statehood are not a daily occurrence. It
is an event that came to pass after eighty generations, which longed
for the rebuilding of Zion, dying without having seen it. We are privileged
to live in a very unusual time, a time to which 80 generations have
addressed their prayers.
We know that this right of statehood was not given,
but was acquired by a nation in which burgeoned anew the seed of heroes
of eighteen hundred years ago.
In 1895, in the early part of June, a Paris correspondent
of a Viennese newspaper, sent to cover the Dreyfus trial, suddenly
turned from reporting to writing a book. In his room in the hotel
close to the Place de la Concorde, he wrote feverishly, and as he
described in his diary, he felt as if where was a murmur of angels’
wings in the room. The book was ”The Jewish State.”
The Jewish colonization of Palestine had been going
on already for two decades, but here were pronounced the magic words:
”The Jewish State,” and the response was audible in every place, large
or small, where a Jew lived. The likeness of Dr. Theodor Herzl, the
author of ”The Jewish State,” (creator of political Zionism, and the
President of the first Zionist Congresses, is on one of the stamps
of the new State.
* * *
During the First World War, a one-armed veteran of the
Russo-Japanese war, a burning idealist, went to the Near East to fight
for the liberation of Palestine from the Turks. The Jewish Brigade
he formed in Egypt fought with the British army against the Turks
on the Gallipoli expedition, the most arduous war adventure devised
by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty in the Lloyd-George
The Jewish Brigade had agreed to serve at Gallipoli
instead of fighting in Palestine because it had been persuaded by
the British that this was the most useul contribution it could make
and because it had beeh told it would be rewarded with Palestine.
Later another Jewish Legion, composed largely of American Jewish volunteers,
fought under Gen. Allenby and particiated in the conquest of Palestine.
Then the one-armed captain went to defend Gallilee against Arab bands.
At the Tel-Hai settlement, a small group de fenders stood heroically
against a force of attackers a hundred times larger; they fell with
their captain, whose last words were: It is good to die for
our land. The picture of Joseph Trumpeldor is also on a stamp
of the new State.
At this late moment, the new defenders of their National
Home deliberate on the name of the new State. Zion? But Zion is the
hill of David in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is not yet inciuded in the
Jewish State. Land of Israel? But the Jewish State does not cover
the historical land of Israel, only a small part of it. Judea? But
Judea is a geographical designation for the southern, part of Palestine
only, Judah having been the leader of the southern tribes of Israel.
A scholar who is preparing an extensive new history
of the Near East and , who is closely known to me suggests the name,
Artzenu” (Our Land”), the name often employed in the Scriptures:
It was also the last word spoken by Trumpeldor.
* * *
Is not Mr. Attlee a phitatelist? Is not President
Truman a philatelist? I recommend that they be among the first to
obtain stamps of the Hebrew Republic, possibly postmarked May 6, 1948.
Their contribution to the realization of the Jewiah State has not
been greater than the weight of a stamp, but perhaps they will be
asked to produce such a stamp when the will know at the door of Paradise