Profile - Moshe Sharett
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Profile - Moshe Sharett

The Observer, Sunday, March 2, 1952


A contemporary, frank analysis of Moshe Sharett in English eyes – Ed.


Behind and involved with the present dispute between Britain and Egypt lies the inextricable problem of Israel and the Arabs. If Egypt, claiming the leadership of the Arab States, had not suffered a humiliating military defeat at the hands of Israel, it is at least doubtful whether her present mood would be so explosively neurotic. If Israel did not now exist, apparently a perpetual and festering thorn in the flesh of the Arab world, the Middle East would be a quieter and easier and more defensible area than it is to-day. But Israel does lustily exist, and while her present Foreign Minister has a large share of responsibility for the creation and survival of the new State, he is also the one, and possibly the only, Israeli leader who might eventually achieve harmonious relations between Jew and Arab.


Moshe Sharett, who is now visiting this country, is in many ways the advance prototype of the Israeli citizen: his qualities and his inherent ideas are those which Israel must acquire if that disturbed and uneasy community is to achieve political and psychological stability. For Sharett has a unique understanding of Israel's geographical role. He takes it for granted that his country's standards of life must be Western ones, but he is emphatic that her position is an Eastern one, surrounded by Arabs and incorporating a considerable Arab minority within her frontiers.


Sharett, alone among the political leaders of Israel, was brought up in an Arab Palestine village, and Arabic is the second of his many and fluent languages. Many Israelis suffer front the besetting sin of pride in their habitual attitude to the Arabs, feeling at best a benevolent and patronizing contempt for their defeated neighbors. But Sharett is not only quite free from this disastrous vice - he is aware of it in his compatriots and strongly in arms against it.


The first map Moshe Shertok ever saw (he Hebraized his name to Sharett-" to serve"-only in 1949) was a wall

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