Mother Russia

1881 was a fateful year in the history of the Jewish people. On March 13, Czar Alexander II was murdered in Saint Petersburg. Within weeks, a series of pogroms targeting Jews began, mainly in southern Russia. Representatives of the authorities and the church fanned the flames of violence, which took a bloody toll in some

Elusive Pioneer

On July 6, 1882, 14 Bilu members arrived in Palestine on the ship Circe. It seems that two of the 16 members that had assembled in Istanbul remained there to continue the efforts to raise funds and acquire land. The others set out for Jaffa. The exact number of members is not clear – the

Kinneret, Kinneret

On April 6, 1903, Easter Sunday, a riled up mob streamed out of churches throughout the Serbian capital of Kishinev and began attacking Jews. “[The anti-Semitic pogroms in Kishinev were] worse than the censor will permit to publish,” the New York Times reporter in Saint Petersburg wrote. “There was a well laid-out plan for the

Blood and Fire

Without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary figures to arrive in the Land of Israel during the second aliyah was Manya Wilbushewitz Shochat. She was born in 1879 in Lososna (near Grodno in Ukraine) to a wealthy Jewish family. Her grandfather had supplied equipment to Napoleon’s army and enjoyed a privileged life in Grodno.

The Labor Legion

World War I wrought havoc on Jewish efforts to settle in Palestine. Disease, famine, conscription, and deportation were the order of the day. During the four years of the war, the Jewish population shrunk from 85,000 to 56,000. The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, and the British military campaign to conquer Palestine from the

Pioneer Women

Mărculeşti is a small village in Bessarabia in Moldavia. It is home to 2,000 people at the most. In 1812, after yet another turf war between Russia and Turkey in southeastern Europe, Bessarabia came under Russian control. In 1837, the Russians established Mărculeşti on the property of a landowner named Simeon Starov. It was meant

Bialik and Ahad Ha’am

“The Tel Aviv municipality published an announcement yesterday regarding the poet Bialik’s arrival in Jaffa,” the Do’ar Hayom newspaper reported on March 26, 1924, regarding Hayyim Nahman Bialik’s arrival in the Land of Israel. “A huge crowd came to the train station to welcome him.” No speeches were given and “the poet Bialik and his

Red Vienna to Jerusalem

In 1919, while the dust of war still was settling, the people of Vienna elected the world’s first socialist regime to rule them. Intellectuals and artists filled not only cafes and theaters, but also the corridors of municipal power in a bid to forge a new, utopian world order. More than a few of the

Ben Yehuda Strasse

Signs of recovery in the Jewish community combined with internal struggles within the Arab sparked an outbreak of anti-Jewish and anti-British violence in 1929. The riot of 1929 claimed the lives of 133 Jews and left 339 wounded. British efforts to appease the Arab population included a drastic reduction in the number of certificates allowing

Fighting Hunger

My grandmother Lotte had an impressive family tree. It was drawn like a real tree, with generations and generations of the offspring of Rabbi Zeligman, who was born in Prague in 1572, hanging as leaves from the branches. It actually was a large oil painting, which used to hang in the home of my great-grandparents,

Breaching the Blockade

The idea of smuggling Jews into Palestine was already around already in the early 1930s, mainly attempts by small groups to cross the northern border from Syria and Lebanon. In July 1934, Haganah tried to smuggle Jews into the land by sea. To do so, they bought an old ship into which they could crowd

Ada Sereni

The search for her famous husband, Enzio Sereni,  ended when evidence emerged that he been murdered in the Dachau concentration camp in November 1944. In the meantime, Sereni fit in well at the Mossad office in Italy. She spoke the language and was acquainted with the local manners and customs.

Current Issue May 2019

Tours with the Editor

Roads and Energy

We have dedicated the fourth issue in our Israel at 70 series to the creation of Israeli infrastructure, focusing mainly on the story of the Israel Electric Company. It is a fascinating narrative springing from the vision of one man – most likely inspired by Theodor Herzl’s book Altneuland – to attempt to produce hydroelectricity from the Jordan River. The generations that followed him sought a solution to the oil embargo on Israel and are spearheading the transition to natural gas after the discovery of the giant gas reservoirs in Israel’s coastal waters.

The second infrastructure story is about the paving of the road to Eilat. Today, as cars whizz down the highway, nobody remembers that until the 1950s, the only way to reach the vicinity of the city of Eilat (which was founded in 1952) was via a dirt track and a 12-hour journey in a four-wheel-drive vehicle from Beersheba. Attacks from across the border sent planners to look for an alternative route through the Negev mountains. That alternative served as the main road to Eilat until the 1980s, when the road that we know today, Route 90 through the Arava, was finally paved.

An old graffiti inscription in one of the cisterns of Masada – the only such inscription that still remains – is a reminder of the those heady days in the 1940s when the two-day hike to the mountain followed by a week-long, youth-movement desert seminar was the order of the day. That period shaped the ethos and importance that the tiyul (the hike) and the madrich (the guide) have in today’s Israeli culture; the popularity of the approximately 1,000-kilometer Israel Trail is one of its outcomes.

Happy Passover from all of us at ERETZ Magazine,

Yadin Roman

The ERETZ Magazine Story

Eretz Magazine was the brainchild of two Israelis and an American: Yadin Roman, Dita Kohl and Lenny Zakim. Roman, at the time head of the Israel Ministry of Tourism Guide School, and Zakim, the Anti-Defamation League’s New England Regional Director, had been collaborating on bringing groups of up-and-coming political decision makers to Israel organized by the ADL and a magazine about Israel was a natural outcome.
From the very beginning ERETZ was always on the forefront of technology. Our website was up in 1999, internet podcasts were started in 2003, and ERETZ guides were on sale in digital formats over a decade ago.
But, with all the new gadgetry and innovation, from website to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (and we are represented on all of them), we have remained a proud print magazine presenting our stories in the best manner possible, with in-depth research, amazing photos, and glorious spreads, to be perused at leisure.