When Albert Einstein flirted with Holy Land girls
New documentary based on Albert Einstein’s travel diary from his visit in pre-state Israel reveals prophetic insights about Zionism - but he was most impressed by the women and Jewish laborers.
By Gili Izikovich | Feb. 3, 2015 Haaretz
Albert Einstein, the most famous Jewish scientist in history, wrote a letter in 1929 to his friend Chaim Weizmann, an accomplished chemist who would later become Israel’s first president. But their correspondence had little to do with scientific subjects. Weizmann served then as president of the British Zionist Federation, and his friend Einstein was writing to him about the Jewish and Zionist question.
“Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us,” he wrote, adding, “Should the Jews not learn to live in peace with the Arabs, the struggle against them will follow them for decades in the future.”
What seems to be a prophetic statement may be attributed to Einstein’s experience in the Holy Land. Four years previously, in early February 1923, Einstein and his wife Elsa came to the reviving Jewish Yishuv in Palestine for a historic visit. Einstein received a royal reception and the crowd sang “Here comes the messiah” in his honor, but the “messiah” was in no hurry to give in to that. He summed up his visit with succinct humor in his travel diary, which has become the basis of a documentary entitled “Einstein Be’eretz Hakodesh” (“Einstein in the Holy Land”) .