Martin Buber on Jewish Settlement


“Our settlers do not come here as do the colonists from the Occident to have natives do their work for them; they themselves set their shoulders to the plow and they spend their strength and their blood to make the land fruitful. But it is not only for ourselves that we desire its fertility. The Jewish farmers have begun to teach their brothers, the Arab farmers, to cultivate the land more intensively; we desire to teach them further: together with them we want to cultivate the land -- to 'serve' it, as the Hebrew has it. The more fertile this soil becomes, the more space there will be for us and for them. We have no desire to dispossess them: we want to live with them. We have no desire to dispossess them: we want to live with them. We do not want to dominate them: we want to serve with them.....” (From an open letter from Martin Buber to Mahatma Gandhi in 1939, quoted in Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea. PA: Jewish Publications Society, 1997, p. 464.)