This long-cherished dream of this land,
Held by the wandering Jews for five thousand years,
They longed to return here,
From exile in hostile places,
Hated for their different faces,
Forbidding dress, unusual customs:
Killed in pogroms, wars, ghettos –
Finally the Holocaust:
Britain is forced
To return the biblical land of Israel
To the stateless Jews.
This arid desert landscape blooms –
Roman irrigation revived,
Israel thrives: a desert oasis blooms:
Self sufficient now in fruit, vegetables, meat –
Antirrhinum blossoms on every street,
And outside cafes people chat and eat,
Protected by the Iron Dome
From Muslim powers’ rockets.
Iran’s nuclear weapons point here –
The only democracy in the Middle East.
Biblical Hebrew revived – people speak it now:
Cultural life blossoms, and how!
This melting pot of peoples, faiths –
Arabs, Jews and Christians mingle,
The spine tingles with excitement here:
Mountains rise up from the sea.
Arguments explode, drivers toot their horns
In this ancient land reborn.
On Shabbat, everything shuts down,
And all around the town
People walk to friends to chat and drink and eat,
And argue, eat,
And finally waddle home replete
In the afternoon
To sleep off the excess.
Teens dress in Western fashions,
Madonna plays here and the Rolling Stones –
Though Roger Waters moans
That Israel must be boycotted.
The right holds power,
Bibi’s rule entrenched
For a fifth term.
Liberals shake their heads, and bench,
And long for peace. Which seems so far away.
Israel sends a rocket to the moon,
She leads the world in tech and medicine:
A cure for cancer isn’t far away,
Or so the papers say.
The military’s strong,
Intelligence the best
Mossad leads the rest.
Flags wave in the breeze:
Blue on white: David’s star over the great king’s domain,
The hopes and dreams of this proud people remain:
To lead the world in science, industry and thought –
Peace with her neighbours can be bought:
Trump and Putin love Bibi,
Saudi Arabia will come onside soon.
In the desert, osteospermum blooms.
Egypt and Jordan are her friends
Though the Intifada never ends,
But Israel, not cowed is strong.
Though to the rest of the world, she’s always wrong.
The Zionists have learned the lessons of their Nazi masters, the British Labour Party say,
Antisemitism thrives today.
So join with me and pray for peace,
In G-d’s own land, the Middle East.
*1992. By Batya Gur. Crime fiction novel set in Tel Aviv starring detective Sephardi policeman Michael Ohayon.