An American who participated in ICAHD’s recent rebuilding camp writes about what she now terms the Jewish National Fund’s ‘DIMES OF WRATH’.
I don’t remember collecting dimes for pine needles. The bright green leaves on the stamps were distinctly deciduous, one for each ten-cent donation I collected, until there were enough to summon up a whole tree. I imagined leafy groves festooned with brass plaques, and someday I would go to Israel and find the ones I had dedicated to my grandparents. Maybe pine trees stood in Alpine silhouette on the little blue Jewish National Fund (JNF) boxes where the dimes were stored. I didn’t know they were dimes of wrath, of vengeance on a landscape that was far from deserted, where olive trees previously bloomed on ancient terraces and in villages whose stone-work was crafted by other hands. Neither did I know that the non-native pines themselves were changing the underlying soil chemistry, that the pine needles were smothering the native plants, or that the local water sources were being drained by the trees’ ravenous thirst. Nor that the ruins of Palestinian homesteads were being camouflaged by JNF parks and recreational facilities, or that the organization was collaborating actively with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in destroying Palestinian villages, bulldozing Palestinian farmland, uprooting Palestinian olive trees, and acquiring Palestinian land through its privatized subsidiary across the Green Line in the West Bank after 1967.
So the chance to collect shekels from the ICAHD volunteers and dedicate native trees – olive, lemon, orange – in the red dirt in the yard of the home that we are building for the Fhadad family in Anata is a welcome counterpoint. Enough for eleven trees, two of which I will dedicate with new brass inscriptions: again, one for each set of grandparents on both sides of my family.
– Jean, USA