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Joe BidenCongratulations to our presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden!
In the discussion thread: Where was your candidate in 1963? [View all]

Response to The Valley Below (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 10:21 PM

6. In case anyone wonders if that's true:



Mystery solved: Sanders volunteered at kibbutz Shaar Haamakim

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The kibbutz where Bernie Sanders spent several months in the early 1960s has been identified, thanks to a rediscovered news story from 1990.

Sanders, an Independent Jewish senator from Vermont now running for the Democratic presidential nod, spoke to Haaretz in 1990, on the eve of his election to the U.S. House of Representatives as a democratic socialist. He named the kibbutz where he volunteered in 1963 as Shaar Haamakim.

As Sanders’ campaign gained traction this year, Haaretz, like others in Israeli and Jewish media, had tried to identify the kibbutz, but until the author of the article, veteran journalist Yossi Melman, said Thursday on Twitter that Sanders had named the kibbutz in 1990, no one had tracked this particular article in the Haaretz archive.

In the Hebrew-language article, a pdf of which appeared Thursday on Haaretz’s website, Sanders told Melman that he visited Israel in 1963 as a guest of the leftist Zionist Hashomer Hatzair movement and stayed at its affiliated kibbutz.

Located northeast of Haifa, Shaar Haamakim (Gateway to the Valleys) was founded in 1935 by immigrants from Romania and Yugoslavia who had been trained in farming techniques. The kibbutz still includes farmland and has a flour mill and a dairy, but its primary income is now from the manufacture of solar panels, according to its website.

What drew Sanders to Israel at the time is not known, but his older brother, Larry, was spending time in the country. Bernie Sanders had earned some renown as a civil rights activist at the University of Chicago.

Sanders has been reluctant during this campaign to discuss his Jewish upbringing and his time in Israel, where he traveled with his first wife, Deborah Shiling, who also was Jewish. His campaign has turned away queries about his Israel stay.

The exact dates Sanders was in Israel are unclear. Although he told Haaretz he was there in 1963, he did not graduate from college until 1964. He also had not married Shiling by June 1964, when she was listed as a maid of honor at her sister’s Baltimore wedding in a New York Times notice.

Sanders, born in Brooklyn to a Polish immigrant whose family perished in the Holocaust, had divorced Shiling and was living in Vermont by the late 1960s.

At the time of the interview with Melman, Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, the state’s largest city, and was a sharp critic of the foreign policies of the Reagan and first Bush administrations, particularly in Central America.

He told Melman that “as a Jew, I’m embarrassed by Israel’s involvement” in Central America, accusing the country of acting as a front for the American government and delivering arms to repressive regimes. He also saids he would like to see greater pressure on Israel to compromise on the Palestinian issue.


Inside the Kibbutz Where Bernie Sanders Lived and Learned Socialism

The mystery of Bernie Sanders’ missing months on a socialist commune in Israel has now been solved.

The Democratic Party’s socialist presidential candidate, it turns out, volunteered at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim, near Haifa in northern Israel, in 1963.

Now, the small agrarian commune could have a big influence on American politics as one spot where Sanders apparently sharpened his socialist ideals a half-century ago.

“The main thing you care about your brother or your neighbor or whoever it is,” said Albert Ely, 79, a kibbutz member, describing the ethos of the collective farm.

Ely said anyone like Sanders who volunteered at Sha’ar HaAmakim would have picked up valuable lessons about life — and a political imperative to improve the lot of others.

“I know that we left an imprint on those people,” Ely added. “The imprint was believe in people, and be responsible for them. Not only for yourself.”

Sanders’ time on the kibbutz, where he lived for a few months with his ex-wife, Deborah Messing (born Deborah Shiling) is referenced in virtually every profile of the candidate.

But the Sanders campaign has been tight-lipped about name of kibbutz, leaving journalists in Israel and the U.S. searching fruitlessly for months. On February 4, national security journalist Yossi Melman unearthed a 1990 interview with the candidate in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, where he revealed that it was Shaar HaAmakim.

On Friday, the typically sleepy kibbutz in the shadow of the Carmel Mountain was swarming with Israeli journalists searching for memories or photos of the presidential hopeful.

Several kibbutz residents who are in their 70s — Sanders is 74 — said they could not recall the idealistic young American from Brooklyn who volunteered there more than 50 years ago.

“The only thing I remember is that we had around 100 volunteers here, and some of them were French and some were American. And someone named Bernard was an American. Usually Bernard is a French name,” said Ely, who once managed the kibbutz orchard.

Ely was sitting in the kibbutz dining hall, the same building where Sanders would have taken his meals during his time at Shaar HaAmakim.

Though they couldn’t remember Sanders, Ely and others painted a vivid portrait of life on the kibbutz in the 1960s when the candidate would have visited.

Founded in 1935 by Romanian and Yugoslavian Jewish immigrants, Shaar HaAmakim was part of Hashomer Hatzair, a socialist youth movement. The kibbutz was affiliated with Mapam, a political party to the left of Labor.

“The kibbutz was a full commune,” said Irit Drori, a 72-year-old former secretary of the kibbutz. Typical of the time, children were raised in a dormitory apart from their parents, who lived in small apartments.

The kibbutz founders had a strong admiration for the Communist system in the Soviet Union.

“Today we know how many were killed there in the gulags, but when the kibbutz was founded, they believed that from Russia will come the truth,” she said. “They called Stalin the ‘Sun of the Nations.’”
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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myohmy2 Jan 2020 OP
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The Valley Below Jan 2020 #5
LineLineReply In case anyone wonders if that's true:
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The Valley Below Jan 2020 #14
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