MARCH 28, 1955
TEL AVIV, Israel—The Mayor of Haifa completed our sightseeing tour by showing us localities where they are finding old buried towns and old Roman roads as they build new houses and new roads. This is a fascinating land, where the old and the new constantly meet.
On leaving Haifa we visited the Youth Aliyah Ramat Hadassah, Szold Village. This is the screening center for all the 225 Youth Aliyah centers. They have 80 people on the staff, and 300 children are observed and tested, usually spending from one to two months. The children come by recommendation from welfare workers from Maabaras, which is one of the first centers for immigrants to live in. Some of them have no parents, and many at first understand no language which is spoken by the workers.
This is very much like a diagnostic clinic at home. It is really essential, since without it there would be difficulty in knowing which institutions would be best suited to receive certain children.
We were rather late in reaching Degania, where we were to spend the night as guests of Jacob Baratz. We went in at once for supper, after which Mr. Baratz took us through his museum. We then found that Youth Aliyah students from many settlements in the Jordan Valley had been brought to meet with us. They entertained us for an hour with singing, dancing, music and little speeches. Finally we went to bed after what seemed a very full day.
I was glad to be back in Degania and to see Mr. Baratz. He is to me one of the most interesting people in Israel, typifying the early pioneers who came here and lived through all the hardest years before Israel was a country and who now are contributing their work and wisdom to the development of the new state.
On Monday we left Degania very early in the morning, and the Mayor of Tiberias showed us where they have housed their new settlers. The original population came from Iraq, and many of the new settlers also came from Iraq, so perhaps it has been easier for them to become integrated. In any case, they have been sensible in placing their new houses on a hill with a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee. The permanent houses which have just been built have an equally beautiful view, and as there is good bus service into town I think there will be no trouble in settling and integrating these people permanently.
The Mayor showed us an old Roman wall and museum, and as we walked along the edge of the lake I could not help thinking that it was easy to imagine that the fishermen in their boats mending their nets were the same as those who had been called by Jesus.
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