The More Things Change....
Sounds like reading the news, doesn't it?
Well, all of this was news - seventy years ago.
I received a pictorial history of Israel as a gift a number of years ago, and every once in a while I look through it. The chapters about 1936-1938 are fascinating in and of themselves, but even more so when you compare what was happening then to what is going on today.
Hitler was rising to power and wasn't met with much resistance at this point, the same way that Achmadinejad is today.
The Arabs started a wave of terrorist attacks in April 1936, which would last for three years. Statistics show that even in the worst year of Jewish casualties, the number of Arabs who died was double that of the Jews - because of their internal warfare.
Debate raged about how to respond to the Arab terror - with restraint or by acting aggressively. In 1938 a Scottish officer by the name of Orde Charles Wingate, who was very pro-Zionist, trained both Haganah members and British soldiers (who were also attacked by the Arabs at this time) to use aggressive tactics such as night raids and surprise attacks. These night squads were very successful, and paved the way for future IDF activities.
Despite the dangers, the die-hard Zionists of that time decided to build new settlements anyway (yes, the history book uses this term. Before 1967 "settlements" were considered positive things I guess) On December 10, 1936, the first stockade and watchtower settlement (called "choma u'migdal" in Hebrew) was built. Members of Hashomer HaTza'ir prepared the wooden components needed for sheds, a watchtower, and the outer double wall, and broke them down and marked them out for quick assembly. They then went to the site chosen (near the Beit Shean valley) and built the whole thing in one day. The Arabs were taken by surprise and did not attack them. In the next two years another thirty settlements would be built in this way.
The die-hard Zionists of today are also building despite the dangers. Today, unfortunately, the dangers are not just from the Arab terrorists but from Peace Now, but there are those who are braving them too. A group of Gush Katif evacuees have received permission to build a new settlement, this time in the Jordan Valley. Despite their mistreatment by the past government, they are continuing to put idealogy before personal security, and they are building their new homes in a place where it is strategically necessary for Jews to live.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.