The Secret Weapon of Israel Is the Spirit
of All Her People
Here is a letter written by friends of Jacob, a boy of 17
who fell fighting on the Latrun front. With his friends they were preparing
to become farmers and to build a new agricultural settlement on the land
of the Jewish National Fund, when they were called to defend their invaded
country; in a single day the little group suffered the loss of nine members,
and Jacob was one of them. It was on the day before the renewal of the
truce; they were fighting for the water line to parched Jerusalem.
After a while the surviving friends wrote to the parents
of the boy:
Dear Parents of Jacob: A fortnight has passed since
the somber day on which nine of the best members of our pioneer group
fell in the battle on the road Ramallah-Latrun. At first we were speechless
from the heavy blow; but we know for what they fell and therefore we stood
up and decided to go on with our pioneer work. We organized our life anew
in order to continue to prepare ourselves for pioneering, whatever may
It is hard to believe, hard to absorb the great loss.
Every one of those who died was a living part in our pioneering group,
and the gap is great.
Jacob, your son, was always one of the most active
in the groupin the work in the field, and on the Sabbath his songs
and little stories and his laugh did not cease.
We shall try to find our comfort in the work for the
land of Israel; find your consolation there too. Be proud of your son
who died the death of the heroes, and look upon us, the members of Jacobs
pioneering group, as your children, and we shall look upon you as the
parents of the group. Please always let us know and we shall be your help
in all your needs as if we were your children. We shall help you, whenever
need be, with working hands or in matters of money; you should not hesitate
in such caseswe shall help you with joy, because great is our debt
* * *
Jacobs parents answered his friends in a letter from
which I quote:
Our dear children: From your letter we learned how
justified was the great love our only son Jacob felt for the group with
which he intended to fulfill his dream of pioneering.
Our dear boy fell. He never caused us pain or sorrow,
and the greater is our sorrow now. But we knew: he could not go a different
waythis was the road of a sincere and good boy, who believed in
the work of reclaiming the wastes of this land, at any price, event the
price of life and all.
Your letter brought us comfort: we have many sons.
And we wish that all our childrenall of youwould come to us
and we shall learn to know one another, and we shall receive you with
love, with the same love with which we would have received our Jacob.
And we ask this from you: come to us on every occasion when you need help,
as children to parents, and we shall help you in all we can.
We would love to keep in constant touch with you and
to know of the progress of the group with which Jacob would have built
the land and his own future. Go ahead and succeed.
* * *
Encircled by the armies of seven states stand the youth,
the manhood and womanhood of Israel, and behind the front lines are the
children, the old, and the immigrants from the displaced camps.
A callous world stood by with unsoiled hands, expecting
that the Arabs from as far as Iraq and Nejd and Yemen and Egypt would
overrun Palestine and destroy Israel. But Israel was not destroyed. His
chief weapon was his love for his country, the land under his feet, and
his high ideals.
Jacob and his friend died near the road to Jerusalem. If
one day you should travel to the City of Peace and pass the roadside,
say a little prayer for Jacob and his friends, a prayer of thanks to them.
And if you should hear, in the days of peace to come, a song of the harvesters
in the fields of Judea, you will believe that Jacob sings with them.