“Israel was born in sin. I see in this whole transformation of the majority [Arab] to a minority and the minority [Jewish] into a majority as immoral. Have you seen anywhere in the world where the majority would agree to give in to a foreign invader, who says, ‘Our forefathers were here,’ and demands to enter the land and take control? The conflict was inherent and Zionism denied this, ignored it… as the proportion of Jews to Arabs changed in favor of the Jews, the Arabs realized that they were losing the majority. Who would agree to such a thing?”
Everyone who takes up a just and merciful perspective of the developments in Palestine over time could articulate these words, and they should. However, these statements carry a different meaning. Because the man who uttered them is the 94-year-old Yaakov Sharett, the son of one of Israeli history’s most important figures, former Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. In a 10-hour interview he gave to the Hareetz newspaper, his words were striking:
“I describe myself as a collaborator against my will. I’m a forced collaborator with a criminal country. I’m here, I have nowhere to go. Because of my age, I can’t go anywhere. And that bothers me. Every day. This recognition won’t leave me. The recognition that in the end, Israel is a country occupying and abusing another people. When I see the prime minister with a kipah on his head, I don’t feel good. This is not the Israel I want to see.”
Yaakov’s father Moshe Sharett was only 12 years old when his father migrated from Russia to Palestine with his family in 1906. His childhood was spent among the Arabs; he can speak Arabic as he can his native tongue. After completing his primary studies in Palestine, he traveled to Istanbul and enrolled at Darülfünun (Dār al-Fünūn), today's Istanbul University, before going to England to study at one of its most prestigious schools, the London School of Economics. During his years in the U.K., he met Israel’s future president Chaim Weizmann; and upon returning to Palestine in 1931 he closely worked with Israel’s first and future prime minister David Ben Gurion. Moshe Sharett, who served as Israel’s foreign minister from 1948 to 1956, also sat in the prime minister’s chair for a short while from 1954 to 1955. David Ben Gurion was the man from whom he took and delivered the prime minister role back to. Once close friends, they drifted apart over time as Ben Gurion pursued an unruly anti-Arab policy, while Sharett advocated for dialogue with Palestinian Arabs and Arab neighbors besieging their country. This great rift between them was the coup de grace to their friendship. The hawkish ally Ben Gurion partnered up with against his old friend was a name the world would come to recognize well over the years: Moshe Dayan. Known as “Ben Gurion’s prince,” Dayan was notorious for his reckless audacity, impulsiveness, and unrestrained resentment of Arabs.
Born in 1927, Yaakov Sharett served in high-level positions in Israel following the death of his father in 1965. He was part of the team that organized the immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel in the 90s. He worked as an active member of the Israeli internal security service, the Shin-Bet. At the same time, he prepared the diaries kept by his father for publication and published them in eight volumes in 1978. These diaries, which revealed every last detail of the tensions with Ben Gurion, were also published in Lebanese capital Beirut in Arabic in 1996. The approach of Sharett, who adamantly stood against Zionism until the end of his days, rightly captures the attention as well as the rage of his country.
To add fuel to the fire, the fact that the Sharett family was one of the 66 Jewish families that participated in the founding of Tel Aviv on April 11, 1909, and that Moshe Sharett's signature is on Israel's founding declaration of May 14, 1948, are other factors that make Sharett’s strong and on-spot criticisms of the Zionist ideology so important.
Funnily enough, Moshe Dayan’s wife Ruth Dayan has gone down in history as one who fought to institute permanent peace with the Arabs, despite her husband’s belligerent racism. The closest friend of Ruth Dayan, who died on Feb. 5, 2021, at 103 years old, was Yasser Arafat’s Christian mother-in-law, Raymonda Tavil.
And here we are, at the close. I always come back to the same conclusion: Despite all the clandestine and cloaking efforts of those who carry out Israeli propaganda, the divisions within the Zionist and Jewish fronts are deepening day by day. While developing strategies to combat the Zionist occupation, it is necessary to focus on this weakness.