The Silver Platter - Nathan Alterman -

"The state will not be given to the Jewish people on a silver platter," ran the saying popularized by Chaim Weizmann and attributed to him by Ha'aretz newspaper on December 15, 1947, soon after the UN decision to partition Palestine.

As war between the Arabs and the Jews approached in Palestine in 1948, the Poet Nathan Alterman put into words the tragic understanding of the sacrifices that everyone understood would have to be made for independence. These sacrifices were made by relatively few - mostly the young people who would defend Israel. The poem, the Silver Platter, appeared in Natan Alterman's column, "The seventh column" in Davar newspaper of December 19, 1947.

Copyright

The introduction above is copyright 2008 by Ami Isseroff. The material below is reproduced under the doctrine of fair use for educational purposes.

The Silver Platter

Natan Alterman

And the land grows still, the red eye of the sky  slowly dimming over smoking frontiers 

As the nation arises, Torn at heart but breathing, To receive its miracle, the only miracle 

As the ceremony draws near,  it will rise, standing erect in the moonlight in terror and joy 

When across from it will step out a youth and a lass and slowly march toward the nation

Dressed in battle gear, dirty, Shoes heavy with grime, they ascend the path quietly

To change garb, to wipe their brow 
They have not yet found time. Still bone weary from days and from nights in the field 

Full of endless fatigue and unrested, 
Yet the dew of their youth. Is still seen on their head

Thus they stand at attention, giving no sign of life or death  

Then a nation in tears and amazement 
will ask: "Who are you?"

And they will answer quietly, "We Are the silver platter on which the Jewish state was given."

Thus they will say and fall back in shadows 
And the rest will be told In the chronicles of Israel