It was in the early 1970s, just a few years after the end of the Memshal period, that I decided to write my reminiscences of my years in the Memshal. At the time, I wrote in manuscript form, just over a third of the contents of this book. Then due to pressure of other work, I stopped. However at the time I also wrote down the headings of many other events, so that at some future date, it could act as a “memory jogger.”
For about thirty years, this manuscript remained stored away. It was in the summer of 2003 that Chaya Baranes, who had been working for over a decade on the project “Our Settlement,” had an evening of reminiscences of the Memshal. This gave me an idea to continue the work I had started thirty years earlier. Since I had gone on pension just a few months earlier, I now had the time do so.
For the vast majority of the headings of the events I had written down thirty years earlier, I still remembered, at least some of the details. As other events “flashed through my mind,” I would immediately write them down. Obviously after all these years, errors and confusion can creep in. In addition, from the news clippings and archival material in my possession, particularly on my fight for Jewish rights in the Cave of Machpelah, I gleaned a lot more information. They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and from the numerous photographs in my possession, particularly concerning my family celebrations, I “extracted” further facts.
It would be untrue to say that there were no unpleasant moments or personal arguments between the settlers during this period. However, I feel nothing would be gained by writing about them. These are things best forgiven and forgotten.
I want to stress that this book is not a comprehensive history of the period of the Memshal. It is the personal reminiscences of the author. Therefore certain subjects which I was not involved in, are either not referred to, or only have a glancing mention.
Despite this important limitation, I feel that this book makes a significant contribution to the history of that period. To enhance this contribution, I have included a number of documents, photographs and news-cuttings. (In order to fit the size of the pages of this book, they have sometimes been reduced or increased in size.)
The Memshal settlement could be called the “father” and “grand father” of all the settlements - some of which today, are officially cities - in the liberated territories. Today their population (not including East Jerusalem) has reached nearly a quarter of a million Jews. Let us pray that this fact will stifle any plans to “return” these areas to non-Jewish hands.
Elul 5763 - September 2003
Note: The “Military Compound” in Hebrew is “Memshal Tzvaii.” Throughout this book I have used the Hebrew expression “Memshal” for this building.