FEBRUARY 21, 1952
HAIFA, Israel, Wednesday—One of the extraordinarily interesting features of this country of Israel is the fact that whatever confronts the nation seems to be met with a decision to achieve the maximum possible with whatever materials are at hand.
The organization of the health services is a case in point. We have seen in a few days since we have been in this country hospitals established and run by Hadassah and by other organizations. But the government has taken in the whole picture of health and gradually, I am sure, it will manage to coordinate all the services that at present are being given through different groups. Any one of a number of groups will adapt old houses, build temporary clinics in these settlement areas, and somehow have beds for those needing hospitalization.
Today in Nazareth I saw a new hospital for tuberculosis situated high up on a hill. Most of the patients were Arabs as there is a very high incidence of this disease among them.
The government is gradually examining everyone in Israel for tuberculosis and will continue to keep up its X-ray services.
Somehow it was hard to realize this afternoon that we were really in Nazareth where Christ lived and grew up. We were shown the site of Mary's house and of the well from which she drew water over which a church now is built. Then we saw what is said to be the site of Joseph's house, where the carpenter's shop in which Christ worked might have been. Here, also, a church has been built.
In Nazareth the Arabs surrendered to the Israeli army, so there was no destruction, and the Arabs stayed in the town. As far as one can see, all goes peacefully forward in a normal manner.
The country that we covered today in North and South Galilee was a picture of very beautiful hills and fertile plains. Here again it was hard to believe that only a few years ago there were undrained swamps. Now the land is all under cultivation and much of it is irrigated. Also Malaria is completely under control.
The first project we stopped at this morning was the one which is deepening the River Jordan. So far this has been a remarkable achievement, considering the difficulties under which it is being accomplished. When it is completed and the Hula Lake is lower and the swamps are drained, much very good land will be added for the use of the agriculture community.
We saw one community today in North Galilee where on one side of the road the original first immigrant camp huts are still standing and on the other side the permanent village has begun to appear, with its two family houses and small plots of gardens. There is but one industry in the little town—the weaving of reed mats. The village people are, however planning to develop others. I like every other project that I have seen, though, even the temporary arrangements for the children are on a basis that can be continued satisfactorily for a number of years. There is a house where the younger children eat and one for the older children. There are houses for schoolrooms, and the playground is being planned.
I would say that the first concern of all Israel is the care of children—although a farmer told me today that the cows are almost as carefully tended.