10 APRIL 1964, Page 27


Prelude to Israel : The Memoirs of M. I. Bodenheimer. Edited by Henriette Hannah Bodenheimer. (1'. Yoseloff, 50s.) Next Generation : Travels in Israel. By David This is a trilogy as dramatic as anything con- ceived by Aeschylus, the trilogy of Programmes —Prophets-,-People. Without the third volume of the trilogy one is left up in the air; and without the first two there is no explanation of the extra- ordinary variety of people who crowd the canvas of Mr. Pryce-Jones.

Politically, Zionism was' born out of the realisation that emancipation had not solved the problem of Europe's assimilated and bourgeois

Jews, and the failure of persecution to destroy the Jewish spirit in nineteenth-century Czarist Russia. Dr. Bodenheimer was the product of the first, David Ben-Gurion of the second. Boden- heimer has been. overshadowed by the more important as well as dramatic figures of Herz! and Weizmann, but his contribution to the build- ing up of Israel was not unimportant. It lay in the development of the 'Jewish National Fund for the purchase of land in Palestine.

Ben-Gurion's years of challenge are the years of armed conflict with the Arab States, and it is of the greatest importance to have his own state- ment on these events in which he played a unique part. From a brief background he passes to the conflict of 1948-49 and thence to the Sinai campaign of 1956, which he deals with in valu- able detail. It was, from every point of view, a remarkable national and military achievement. We have had many accounts 'of it, but this comes froni one who was Prime Minister and Defence Minister at the time. Passing from war to peace, he sees the great challenge of the future as being the development of the Negeb, where he has made his own home in retirement.

Then comes the essential third member of the trilogy. Who were the everyday folk for whom the National Fund was created? Who were the rank and file who made the Sinai campaign pos- sible? What ordinary life ties behind the heroics? The answer is superbly given by Mr. Pryce- Jones. Relaxed, always interested. alert to all the nuances of his changing environme -1, com- passionate and at the same time objective, he peoples Israel with real men and women of im- mense diversity of origin and outlook. It is the most vivid, effwtive and accurate picture which has yet appeared.