Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
They drove through a lovely valley with an amazing profusion of flowers. It was covered with a brilliant carpet of white, red, yellow, blue and green. As the breeze carried the fragrance toward them, the travelers felt as if they had been plunged into a sea of perfume. This valley was the property of a great perfume industry they were told! Jasmine, tuberoses, geraniums, narcissus, violets and roses were grown there in immense quantities.
Men working by the roadside saluted Littwak, Reschid and Steineck as they drove past. All three seemed to know many of the obviously contented farmers.
At Sepphoris, the car stopped for the first time in front of the Greek church. David excused himself for a moment. He was going in to pay a brief call to the priest in his handsome parsonage.
The others also left the car and went a little way around the foot of the hill to see the ruins of an old church, from which there was a wide view over the fertile plain extending to the base of Mount Carmel. The ruins, explained Miriam, were those of a church dedicated to Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who had lived in the vicinity. The new Greek church was used by the colony of Russian Christians near Sepphoris. David was a friend of the priest's, and was inviting him to the Seder at Tiberias. Just then he appeared with the dignified clergyman, who regretted that he could not join them immediately. He would take the electric train that passed through Nazareth in the afternoon, and would probably reach the elder Littwaks' villa before the motor party.
They made their farewells to the priest, and the car continued northward toward the plain.
Outside of Sepphoris, they had to halt at a railway crossing because a train was due. It appeared presently, rushing southward at great speed. When the visitors remarked that the locomotive had no smokestack, they were told that this line, like most of the Palestinian railways, was operated by electric power. There was one of the great advantages of having begun from the beginning. Just because everything here had been in a primitive, neglected state, it had been possible to install the most up-to-date technical appliances at once. So it had been with the city planning, as they already knew; and so it had been with the construction of railways, the digging of canals, the establishment of agriculture and industry in the land. The Jewish settlers who streamed into the country had brought with them the experience of the whole civilized world. The trained men graduated from universities, technical, agricultural and commercial colleges had brought with them every type of skill required for building up the country. The penniless young intelligentsia, for whom there were no opportunities in the anti-Semitic countries and who there sank to the level of a hopeless, revolutionary-minded proletariat, these desperate, educated young men had become a great blessing for Palestine, for they had brought the latest methods of applied science into the country. So David related.
Friedrich pricked up his ears at a phrase which had played so decisive a role in his own life. He turned to his friend with a question that was incomprehensible to the others. "An 'educated, desperate young man.' Remember that, Kingscourt? No wonder a Jew applied. There were many of us like that in the old days. Most of us, in fact,"
But Kingscourt was too much engrossed in David's narrative to pay heed to Friedrich's sentimental recollections.
"You're a damned shrewd nation. Left us with the old scrap iron, while you travel about in the latest machines!"
"Were we to take obsolete stuff when we could have new things just as cheaply?" cried Steineck. "Moreover, everything you see here already existed in Europe and America a quarter of a century ago-especially in America. The latter had gone far ahead of the stick-in-the-mud Old World. Naturally we learned from America how to build electric railways and similar things."
"For us," added David, "the transition to the most up-to-date transportation facilities was not expensive, because we had no old stuff to amortize. We did not have to drag along worn out rolling stock until it was totally useless. Our railway coaches are very comfortable-well lighted and well ventilated, free from smoke and dust. There is practically no jolting despite the high speed. Workingmen no longer have to travel in cars like cattle pens. Of course, every precaution is taken on our railways for safeguarding the public health.
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