Natan Haruvi
Chapters of my diary 1908 - 1962

The start***
Written by Natan Haruvi in 1975 for his grandchildren
פרקי חיים
Year Life episodes, Natan Haruvi, Diary pages 70 - 75
1908 I left the Russian border and arrived in Eretz Yisrael after 26 days of hardships..
I arrived on the Third Chanukah Candle.

On the day of my arrival in Jaffa port, I was arrested by the Turkish police as I had no immigration documents. On the following day two policemen took me for interrogation at the Russian consulate. There was some fight at the waiting room and I ran out of the place and found shelter at a storeroom in one of the orchards. I got quite used to my shelter and started working there as a porter. I could not understand the language spoken by the other porters working there, but in a week's time I met someone from Mes'ha (today Kfar Tavor) in the Galilee and he agreed to hire me as a worker on his farm. It took us four days of riding till we arrived at our destination.
1909 At the time I earned ten Franks a month, and this included food and accommodation in the stable. I was involved in plowing, planting and in all other field crops works, which I was familiar with form back home.
"Hashomer" (The Jewish defense organization in Palestine) and the "Avoda" Organization were founded that year. As a member of the "Avoda" organization, I was asked to help a young farmer with the harvesting in the moshava "Mitzpe" (an agricultural village). Being an experienced laborers I moved later on to "Sejera".
1910 I did not stay for long at "Sejera". My next stop was Degania (Um Johnny) in The Jordan Valley.

I was assigned by theThe "Avoda" to organize public works We were clearing rocks, building fences at the Kinneret and removing roots from the soil of Ashdot Ya'akov.

We had no place to live and we spent our nights in the barn.

In that year, the"Migdal" Estate , located on the shoreline of the Kinneret, was bought from the Germans. The head of the estate, Glikin, requested the that "Hachoresh Union" (formerly "HaMerkaz HaHakla'i" - The Agricultural Centre) provide him with laborers. I was authorized by the union to negotiate on the matter and I ended up moving to the estate with ten men-laborers and two female-laborers. We were the very first Jewish workers on this land. By the end of this year had more than sixty workers. At this time, my late cousin Jacob Zamdwiess joined the estate.
1911 The laborers' activity at "Migdal" included field crops, nursery & planting, dairy farming and irrigated crops. I was responsible for the irrigated crops. These crops included various vegetables, lucerne and cotton. My cousin mainly dealt with the cotton. At that time, I was assigned to study irrigation and irrigated crops in Damascus. While in Damascus, I checked the option of exporting various vegetables and seeds from Migdal to Damascus area.
1912 The authorities requested that all settlers should be of Turkish nationality, and so I eventually became a Turkish citizen. By this time, many workers have already acquired experience in the various agricultural sectors, but there was still very little knowledge in growing vegetables. As a result, I decided to establish the "Greengrocers group"".

I proposed to the members of "Migdal" to be in charge of growing vegetables, instead of the profit and loss partnership which prevailed with the estate management. The idea appealed to the members and very soon we settled adjacent to the Kinneret. The "Kvutza" (collective farmstead) established later became the "Gar'een" (small group of people planning to establish a new settlement) in "Hamra" later on "Kfar Yehezkel".

Although I was very well experienced in growing irrigated crops and the crops were successful, we encountered one night a big disaster - most of the vegetables froze, especially the tomatoes. We were all extremely discouraged by this incident.
1913 I was still the coordinator of the irrigated corps, we exported a large quantity of vegetables, beans and eggplants to Damascus .

After the first successful vegetable export from Eretz Yisrael, I was asked by the members of "Kvutzat Degania" to assist them with vegetable marketing to Damacus..

At the time I was a member of the Estate labor committee. My monthly salary was 100 Franks, which was somewhat more than 60 Franks, the salary of an experienced laborer. The fact that I received more money due to my position as a "Merakez Anaf" (Branch coordinator) was not accepted by the one of the other members of the union, but the end of the story is that the other members disagreed him. Hava Pesach, my partner, arrived in May. She joined the irrigated crops sector. We have established a small commune of four members. Hava has been with me ever since.
1914 During this year I continued to arrange vegetables export from the settlements on the shore of the Kineret to Damascus. We also marketed products to Tiberias, Haifa and Safed. Once World War I broke out and being a Turkish citizen, I was requested to join the army like everyone else. It was the "Mukhtar" (the head of a village) who cancelled this command.
1915 When spring came, swarms of locusts infested thru Palestine and even reached Migdal. I was appointed by the governor of Tiberias (Turkish) to monitor the extermination operations. The infected area even reached the Circassian town "Kantara" near Damascus. In the summer, while the efforts to destroy the locusts intensified, a conflict arose between the estate laborers and the manager - Glikin. We declared a strike and decided unanimously to leave the place. We gathered with our belongings alongside the Kinneret and waited for the boats. The members of "Hachoresh" rushed to the scene and begged us to return. Eliezer Shochat, one of the moderate members, promised to solve the problem with Glikin, but being the one behind this strike, I disagreed with Shochat and justified the decision to leave the place. At the end, a meeting was held on the spot and the decision was mad to return to the estate. I was given the freedom to act according to my conscience and immediately I decided to resign. I settled everything within a month time and moved with my friend Hava and my cousin Jacob to Kinneret. David Remez suggested that I organize a greengrocers group in Shoni near Zichron Yaakov. Berl Katznelson offered on the other hand that we should move to Petah Tikva and establish a group of female laborers there, to grow vegetables. Eventually we chose to stay in Kinneret, we received a piece of land from The "Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael" (The Jewish National Fund) and we grew vegetables there.
1916 At that same time we were supplying vegetables to the German Army stationed at Tzemach and Trans-Jordan, I was also requested to run the public works projects for the unemployed in that area. The workers were drying swamps near the Kinneret, removing rocks and building fences. We were subjected to forced labor (wood chopping and road constructions) by The Turkish Army.
1917 World War I left its mark and Jews were exiled from the southern area to the country to its northern part. I was elected member of "Migration Committee" on behalf of the Lower Galilee workers. I was in charge of the absorption of those arriving from Tel-Aviv - Jaffa, Jerusalem and from settlements in Judah. I was responsible for their accommodation and employment. The ones deported, were settled in the Kinneret area, in the various settlements and the Galilee Mountains. At the time the British took over the south area of Israel and Jerusalem, a secret pro-British-spying organization NILI which operated under Turkish rule in Palestine was revealed. The Turkish army headed by Hassan Bek, raged and pounded brutally and without mercy. They were searching for weapons, documents and certificates. Many of the "HaShomer" members were arrested and many others were suspected to be spies. I was arrested for a few days with the members of Kinneret. We had to destroy all our letters, important certificates, documents and pictures. In the meantime our commune expanded, and a few members joined us and stayed with us for the following next years. Tu B'Av (the fifteenth of the month Av), my thirtieth birthday - that's when I married Hava. Our wedding took place during the war, This was not the time for celebrations. Our friends from Tiberias were the ones that arranged our wedding. We experienced food shortage and could not prepare any sweets. My wife, learned from her oriental neighbors how to make yeast from Chickpea, and eventually we had refreshments. The Chupa was cheerful and full of joy. All our friends from Tiberias, as well as many of those who left Tel Aviv and Jerusalem participated in the wedding. Finally, we went on a sail boat and reached our home in Kinneret, where we met all our friends. Jacob Zamdweiss, our good friend and relative, became very sick. He could not be cured.
1918 We leased some land within "HaMoshava Kinneret" and supplied vegetables to various consumers and to the German army stationed in Israel. When "Kupat Holim" (medical care organization) was established, I was elected to coordinate its operations. When the British forces were already in the northern part of the country The Jewish Legion ("Ha'Gdud Ha'Ivri") came along. Our first daughter, Sara, was born in Tiberias. The way from Kinneret to Tiberias was considered very dangerous due to the Turkish army attacks on people for the sake of forced labor. So, when my wife was about to give birth, our friend Abu-Zahara and his boat were of great help. He first took her to the hospital and then he was the one to inform me about the baby. I tried to get to Tiberias and again I was lucky to get help from a Turkish soldier. Not only did I get to see my wife at the hospital, but I also managed to stay overnight under her bed, as the hospital rules would not allow long visits. Abu-Zahara brought the new mother and baby to Kinneret.
Betweem settlement and public service
1919 The british presence in Israel enabled the renewal of the connection with the southern part of the country. I participated in The Union Conference which took place in Petah Tikva.
I was elected for the Agricultural Center to be responsible for the "Organization of Public Works".
My first mission was drying the "Merhavia" swamps. We had no tools and no kitchenware and so I had to travel to Damascus and Beiruth and buy them.
Some of those immigrated on the ship SS Ruslan, the bellwether of the Third Aliyah were among the workers. During the summer, the members of "Migdal", "Kinneret", "Yavne" and "Poria" established a "Moshav Ovdim" (workers settlement). As the member of The Agricultural Center, I negotiated the settlement in "Hamra" with Klebarskie who represented PICA (Palestine Jewish Colonization Association) in the north. Altogether we were eleven men and four women who settled in Hamra. Our family had a room in Metula. The room was for our daughter Sara and for the sick people, treated by my wife. The room also served as a meeting place for various matters. "Hamra" did not hold on for long.......
"Hamra" was destroyed and burnt by the Arabs, who were formally fighting the French. We worked hard during the days and were on guard during the nights. We maintained contact with the Zionist Commission in Jerusalem. Four settlements in the Upper Galilee were under siege - "Kfar Giladi","Tel Hai", "Hamra" and Metula. I seved as the liaison officer, supplying weapons, warm clothes and other provisions. I had the privilege of working with Pinhas Rutenberg. I met him quite a few times and he expressed full appreciation for my work.
1920 This was a year of upheavals and hardships on one hand and big momentum on the other. +

As the situation worsened, we escaped from "Hamra" for a few days to "Sidon" and back to Acre and Haifa together with some people from Metula.

After "Hamra" was ruined, Tel Hai surrendered and some of the defenders killed. Upon my return to Tiberias, I resumed my duties at the .Public Works Organization" I have not given up my plan to settle in a "Moshav" one of these days. In the meantime I managed the construction works at "Yavne'el" and "Kinneret" for the Yemenite settlers.

Most of my friends from "The Agricultural Center" moved to "Kvutzat Jaffa" located in the orchards of "Ajami". I was requested to move there as well and so we packed our belongings and moved to "Jaffa". A few days after our arrival in "Jaffa" I was urgently asked to attend a meeting with Berl Katzenelson and Pinhas Rutenberg. I was given the opportunity to be in charge of a major operation - the construction of the Tiberias-Tzemach road.

The Tiberias-Tzemach road construction.

We've never had a more important opportunity - The Mandatory Government gave employement to hundreds of workers. I signed on the contract on behalf of "The Agricultural Center" and arranged all that was necessary: Laborers, engineers, tents, tools, food, products and medicines.

The project commenced mid-June. At first the laborers were from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - members of the "Second and Third Aliyah". Among them were the Krymchaks from The Labor Battalion. In addition to the six hundred workers on the road, there were coachmen supplying rocks, cooks, medical staff and suppliers of various products. The construction of the Tiberias-Tzemach road was a big enterprise bringing honor and glory to the laborers in Palestine. The organization and execution, as well as the absorption of the new immigrants were a model for us all. I was already in the working momentum and I took upon myself another project on the Tiberias-Tabha Road. During the first month of these projects, my family lived in Tel Aviv. I travelled back and forth from Tiberias to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We finally got a room near the Tiberias Road and we were reunited. I was elected for The First Assembly of Representatives of the Jewish community. Later on I took part in the establishment of the General Federation of Laborers
The Public Works Department was founded and I was nominated one of its five members mbly of Representatives of the Jewish community. Later on I took part in the establishment of the General Federation of Laborers. The Public Works Department was founded and I was nominated one of its five members
1921 I got more and more involved in the public works. I organized projects on the roads: Tiberias-Tzemach, Tiberias-Tabha, Afula-Nazareth, Haifa-Gava and more. I was involved as well in railways construction: Rosh Ha'Ayin-Petah Tikva, Sarafand- Lydda.
On Passover we held a general meeting at Moshav Tel Adashim. I was requested to devote more time to organizing the Moshav. Accordingly, I asked the Executive Committee to exempt me from my duties, but I was turned down and asked to continue.

The disputes concerning the settlement (Moshav) became stronger as the group planning to establish the settlement became more united. The matter was brought to the 12th Zionist Congress. The Congress approved the establishment of two settlements: "Hapoel Hatzair" (The Young Worker) settlement in "Nahalal" headed by Eliezer Yaffe and "Ahdut HaAvoda" (Labour Unity) settlement (exact location not yet fixed) headed by Natan Haruvi. The ideological struggle that took place among the various groups was ignored, and we founded "Kfar Yehezkel" in "Ein tivon".

Our son, Joseph, was born that year in Zafed. As my office was in Haifa and my family lived in Kinneret, I managed to come home only on weekends. During her pregnancy, my wife became ill and I had to take leave of absence so I could be with her. I agreed with Dr. Gary, who was one of my friends, that the baby should be born at his hospital in Safed. About a six weeks before my wife's labor due date, we moved to Safed and waited until the baby was born. We came back for a while to Kinneret, moved to Haifa till we finally moved to "Kfar Yehezkel".
1922 In "Kfar Yehezkel" we first lived in tents and then we built a shack. When my late mother and brother together with his family, arrived from out of the country we extended our accommodations and all of us lived together. The members of the Executive Committee kept bothering me. This time they asked me to move to Jerusalem and manage the Public Works Department. Many projects were on the agenda: "Beit Hakerem", Talpiot, The Hebrew University, roads and quarries. Hava, my wife, objected to our moving to Jerusalem after all these years of wanderings with our daughter. She wanted to stay in the village and lead a quiet life. My brother's family, on the other hand, did not adjust to the settlement's life and requested to move elsewhere. After a lot of pressure I agreed to accept the Executive Committee's offer and took the job. In the meantime our son, Joseph, had a severe condition of Malaria and this was an additional reason for leaving "Kfar Yehezkel. When I took office, I was offered to live in "The Borochov Neighborhood". Our house was one of the first built in this neighborhood. We moved in with another family and started our small household.
1923 Again I had to take responsibility for operations outside Jerusalem. I was in charge of quarries, the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv road, Gezer, Jericho, founding "Moshav Balfuria", etc. I did a lot of traveling due to the nature of my work. Sometimes I could not even make it for the weekend (Shabat).
My family had suffered and that summer my wife got sick and needed to have surgery. As the conditions in the country were unsuitable, she had a successful operation abroad.
1924 Our second daughter, Batsheva, was born in Tel Aviv.
Prior to her birth, my wife experienced many hardships. Cesarean section had to be performed and after all the operation went well.
Hava who has not seen her father for more than ten years, decided to travel to Romania and visit her family. Most of all she wanted to see her father.
Later that year I resumed my position at the "Public Works Department" later "Solel Boneh".
At the same time "The Agricultural Center" established a special department designated to deal with the farms produce. I was elected to organize and manage this department. With the onset of summer, I started my new position in Tel Aviv. I started with arranging temporary warehouses in Tel Aviv and Haifa to ensure the marketing of the produce. I managed to solve the problem of fresh milk transportation from the valley to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Till then, fresh milk supply was in the monopoly of the members of Kiryat Anavim and Ben Shemen, and obviously they did not like my initiatives.
1925 The new department operations have evolved very nicely.
Additional ware houses were built for the marketing of eggs, poultry, vegetables, bananas, honey etc.
Previously this produce had been sold solely by the Arabs. We built dairy production plants in the cities, mainly in Haifa. We arranged for the necessary equipment like: cooling machines, milk separators, etc. At the same time I was responsible for all marketing operations, I was supervising vegetables growing especially in Emek Ha'Yarden and Emek Yizrael.
Based on an experimental shipment of grapes to Warsaw, I decided to further continue with this next year.
1926 Based on my experience, we shipped cauliflower abroad.
The original plan was to load the cauliflower on a ship and sail from Haifa Port to Trieste.
Due to some problems, we had to transport the cargo to Alexandria and from there on a ship to Trieste and again on a train to Vienna.
I was waiting in Vienna for the shipments and took care of its marketing. The quality of the cauliflower was quite good and we managed to sell all of it at a reasonable price.

I have sent telegrams to the settlements as well as to the news paper "Davar" saying that everyone in Vienna admired the imported cauliflower.
"Tnuva" was created in 1926, following a decision by kibbutz-movement leaders to turn the marketing department next to "HaMashbir" into an independent organization.
It was mostly the initiative of Kiryat Anavim, Degania A & B and Nahalal who were member of "Hapoel Ha'Zair" Eliezer Yaffe was elelcted as manager of "Tnuva".
I was appointed as coordinator of BIAF (eggs, vegetables, poultry, fruits) department located in Tel Aviv.
Our second son, Jacob, was born that year.
Close to the delivery of the baby, my wife moved to stay with her older sister, Ethel, who lived next to the hospital.
My wife did not make it in time to the delivery room and labor started in the corridor. Now, it is understandable why our son, Jacob, is an agile guy.
1927-1932 For about five years I was the manager of the Tnuva BIAF (eggs, vegetables, poultry, fruits) department located in Tel Aviv.
Several times I traveled to Egypt, taking with me produce such as: honey, bananas and grapes.
I even managed to organize the bananas blanching on a national scale (including the private sector). Throughout the years I was working for Tnuva, my relationship with the late Eliezer Yaffe, was very poor.
The Twelfth Congress brought about the decision to establish two settlements. A second settlement by the Zionist socialist association of Jewish workers "Ahdut HaAvoda" (Unity of Labor) and a settlement by the Zionist socialist political party "Hapoel Hatzair" (The Young Worker) headed by the late Eliezer Yaffe.

At that time I was abroad (with my late brother in Paris). Upon my return, I found that the Tnuva members developed hard feelings towards me. I then made up my mind to resign. I left Tnuva in early April, thus abandoning my mission of 25 years at the Histadrut.
I left with my heart filled with sorrow. Not because of lack of physical or organizational ability, not because of greediness or breach of trust, but simply because unjustified hatred and personal revenge.
In an act of protest I chose to be engaged in the marketing of the private sector's produce.
I established the "Palestine Fruit and Vegetable Selling Co." named "The Bursa". One can say: " A man might lose his world in one hour"
1932-1952 As the manager and shareholder of "Bursa" for 20 years, I was responsible for the company's selling the private sector produce. I tried to prove that even in the private trade one can be fair.
During this time I made attempts to prevent conflict of Interests concerning marketing matters.
When I realized that the management of "Bursa" was not following the company's policy, I had to leave.
I was hired for a part time job at "Tene" as a counselor and instructor in marketing matters, especially in the fruit department.
My four children grew up and married between the years 1943 - 1957. Since 1944, 9 grandchildren were born in our family - 5 boys and 4 girls.
Next year we shall be celebrating the first Bar Mitzva of our grandson. Is there any greater satisfaction after all these years of hard work?

I have been engaged in public activities and in the management of the neighborhood institutes ever since I came to Borochov neighborhood.
During the first three years I was active in the neighborhood committee, thereafter I took part in the establishment of various institutes, such as:
The cooperative grocery store ("HaTzarchania"), "Mis'ad" (Members provident for loans), "Members justice" and assisting various loans.
I was also involved in the environmental protection. When the neighborhood was founded, its boundaries were exposed to pogroms and unrest. We were there to defend it.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, I was nominated by the local "Defense" committee to coordinate recruitment activities. Together with my wife, we founded "The Student loan fund" at the "Bank HaPoalim".
In the past years I have been active in the income tax public committee, in loan funds, in the Givatayim veteran's club and last but not least I initiated the establishment of Parents home in Givatayim, a big enterprise on the verge of realization.
  I would very much like to conclude these chapters as follows:
  1. Without my wife's devoted help I could not have overcome all the hardships of life and could not have tolerated all the many assignments and tasks. Together with my wife, Hava, for almost 50 years, we made our way during difficult times, we saved for the future and we taught our children to be independent. Together we walked in a land that was not sown,
    with patience and mutual understanding, imbued with great faith - until we got this far.
  2. Seems to me that we have not yet awakened into our own consciousness to express whatever has happened to our people and our country ever since I doubt if there is anyone who can describe the period so clearly and vividly who can reveal the mystery of this great change, this powerful and superior event

When I come to review my route from the day I set foot in this country and arrested by the Turks, I feel I am day dreaming.
How blessed and privileged we are"

August 15 - Tu B'Av day of love

Natan Haruvi

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