Monday, September 21, 2015

Thai citizens en route to Israel

My month with the grandchildren came to an end all too quickly.
Early Saturday morning I bid farewell to my daughter's family and boarded a Qantas jet at Sydney airport.
After sitting in the plane half an hour waiting for two late passengers, we took off and had a nice10-hour flight to Thailand.

The 7-hour wait time in Bangkok airport was very long.
Sitting in this cavernous terminal until their midnight, with the reflections above and on every side, was kind of creepy. 

The second flight took 11 hours but after a long dark night we were rewarded with a lovely dawn, with El Al's star of David in the changing sky.
The sun was just rising and the views of southern Israel's deserts were breathtaking!

Touchtown at Ben-Gurion airport and, following tradition, everybody applauded.
It was a joy to be back home in the Holy Land, my land.

But as I looked around in the now-light plane, an El Al  jumbo jet, a code share flight with Thai Airways, I realized that very many of the hundreds of travelers were Thai citizens.
These are the men and women who come to work as in-home caretakers for our elderly.
These are the men who labor in our fields and our very hot hothouses, producing the food we eat.

It made me sad.
What has happened to our once pioneering country, that for the last several decades Jewish Israelis no longer do such physical work?
A.D. Gordon, who died in 1922 in Kibbutz Degania, must be turning over in his grave at the situation today.
He was a Zionist ideologue who believed that physical effort on the land would bring about the redemption of the Jewish people.
He attributed pioneer work a semi-religious status, arguing that it created an organic interrelationship between man, the land and culture.

A. D. Gordon: "Tolstoy in Palestine" - Poem - by Steven P. Schneider
Like Tolstoy, you longed to connect your life
to the soil.
You turned your back
on property, family, the high culture of Russia-
to live with peasants,
to work the vineyards and orange groves of Rishon Le-Zion.
Your stamina stunned the younger men
and women who worked beside you.
Your labor connected you to the land of your people.
It made you free.
Turning your back on the occupations of the Pale--
Talmudic scholar, money lender,
peddler, victim of pogroms--
You wanted to remake the Jew into a farmer.
Your weapon against history was the hoe--
Your work in the fields a new kind of worship.
With each digging of the hoe--
you discovered a new rung upon which to climb to heaven.
The sweat bathed your white beard.
Your eyes burned with the fire of holiness.
Tolstoy in Palestine,
you scribbled "Some Observations"
by candlelight in the predawn hours--
"our people," you wrote, "can be rejuvenated
through labor and a life close to nature."
At night, under the moon of Zion,
beside the campfire,
you preached your religion of labor
to all who would listen.
And when the dreamers of Israel
sang and danced,
you joined them
in the hora of the body reborn.
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)


Spiderdama said...

It is a very long trip.. I would love to fly with El Al one day. Great pics Dina

anumorchy said...

Some time ago we flew from Israel to Finland with Turkish Airlines. From Istanbul to Helsinki the plain was full of thai people also. They were there to pick the finnish blueberries, cloudberries and whatever. No local people to do this work.

William Kendall said...

It is quite cavernous.

Hels said...

I was in Jaffa one Sunday and noticed hundreds of very well dressed young women in the park, with no husbands and no children. They had all left their homes in The Philippines (I believe) to come to Israel for jobs as carers and were spending every Sunday in their church and then socialising together with picnics. I felt so sad - great jobs and good friends, but no families there :(

Cloudia said...

Thank you for sharing this thoughtful and important post, Dina

Alice said...

It feels good to be home doesn't , Dina

TheChieftess said...

The same thing has happened here in the US...our citizens tend to not want to work in the fields, which has created a need for immigrants to work in our agriculture...which unfortunately has brought along a whole new set of issues, now the center of our political discourse today...
We recently flew from LA to London, then London to CapeTown South Africa...same length of trip!!! Definitely a test of this traveler's soul!!!

Georgia Koch said...

Lovley photos! I enjoyed the post very much ... Bastet

VP said...

I watched a documentary in several parts on Bangkok airport...

Kay said...

I hate these long, long flights. I'll be taking one too. The LONG layover you had was awful! I'm glad it's over for you and you are safely back at home.