‘Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no room in the country for two peoples… the only solution [after World War II ends] is a Land of Israel…without Arabs…’ Yosef Weitz, 1940.
At first glance the photo only seems to show
three men standing side by side on a slope
somewhere in Palestine. They are dressed
like professional men, Americans
or Europeans. The one in the middle
holds a map of some sort in his left hand,
and points at something in the distance
with his right. He is Yosef Weitz, Director,
Land and Afforestation Department,
Jewish National Fund. (An immigrant
from Tzarist Russia, a refugee
from pogroms, he worked on the land, something
Jews were forbidden to do in The Pale.
A dogmatic autodidact his vision
was for Eretz Israel to be a country
of forests – perhaps, unconsciously,
like the forested hills of his birthplace).
On closer inspection there are two others
in the photograph: a woman almost
totally obscured by Weitz, except
for the hem of her long skirt and the top
of her hijab, and a man – obscured
almost totally by one of Weitz’s
colleagues but for his keffiyeh.
The Arab stands behind Weitz, and to his left.
Weitz is leaning back as if it is to
the Arab he is pointing out whatever
he has seen. The Arab also holds the map.
Maybe he is trying to be helpful or
maybe the land is his.