Treasure Trove
article number

Treasure Trove

 Joshua Justman

the Jerusalem Post, May 4 1979

Excerpts of an article written upon publication of Moshe Sharett's 8-volume Personal Diary, an important and controversial publication at the time, still relevant today. – Ed.


The Society is presently working on an abridged English version of the Personal Diary, to be published in the near future.


Moshe Sharett was a compulsive writer. He enjoyed the very act of writing, the flavor of words and the quest for precision of expression. He always looked back with nostalgia to his days on Davar, and seemed to find some compensation in the paperwork - memos, reports, letters - he did at the Foreign Ministry, and before that at the Jewish Agency.


Despite its copious, almost daily, entries (many dealing with matters of little import), the extensive digressions and the elaborate descriptive passages, this is by no means a diary kept at leisure. Most of it was written under the extremely heavy pressure of work and great mental strain, very often in the middle of the night when he was on the verge of physical exhaustion. "This diary is shortening father's life," Zippora Sharett wrote their son. However, he felt "dutybound" and was "imbued with the desire" to go on.


Quite obviously it was a burden, but one which Sharett clung to with tenacity. He was driven to it by the need to find an outlet for a pent-up feeling of frustration rooted in his inability to express his personality fully and independently. It was the barrier of Ben-Gurion's shadow which he sought to break through.


Sharett questioned the very tenets of Ben-Gurion's activist policy and rejected as disastrous the path of "teaching the Arabs a lesson" by escalating retaliatory actions aimed at a military resolution. He was out to block and reverse this "wild" trend and to contain the "lust for fighting," with its corrupting effects.


Sharett minces no words in accusing the military establishment of manipulating facts, withholding information and falsifying reports in order to justify, or get approval for, retaliatory operations. He was deeply shocked by the cover-up of the Kibya affair, and by the hush- up of a case involving the killing by paratroopers of five Bedouin in an act of personal revenge.


The fact that the activist policy In all its forms had the enthusiastic support of the vast majority of the population disturbed him greatly, and he saw in it a grave threat to the State's moral foundations. Politically he saw this policy as leading to a dangerous impasse and to Israel's growing isolation.


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