A widely held opinion among educators and psychologists is that what is learned
and properly absorbed in youth stays with an individual forever, regardless of
career or lifestyle changes. Thus, it was hardly surprising that President
Shimon Peres, the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s opening of the conference on the
Moshav Movement, waxed nostalgic about his farming days when he was a student at
the Ben Shemen Youth Village.
Today, a large agricultural boarding school
is located adjacent to Moshav Ben Shemen.
It was at Ben Shemen that Peres
met his late wife, Sonia, who is buried there, and whom he often describes as
the love of his life.
Speaking from the stage of the Achva Academic
College in Be’er Tuviya where the conference was held, Peres recalled how he
wooed the lovely young Sonia by inviting her to join him as he tended the
cucumbers and watered the fields on the moshav.
To this day he said, he
has a special feeling for agriculture.
Indeed, at harvest time, when
kibbutz and moshav representatives bring him large hampers of fruits and
vegetables, they are amazed by how well he knows the strains and the quality of
“I have a warm regard for agriculture, and for the Moshav Movement
and the wonderful youth it has raised,” said Peres, who noted the sterling
contribution that young moshavniks make to the country not only as farmers, but
Peres referred to statistics published Tuesday that indicate
that youth who work on settlements – namely moshavim and kibbutzim – have the
best record for enlistment in the army as well as for becoming officers and
They bring great pride to the nation, and set a fine example,
Turning to developments on the moshavim, Peres spoke
glowingly of what hi-tech has contributed to the quality and quantity of produce
and milk yields, and how the moshavim, though representing only a tiny ratio of
the population, contribute to half the national food needs.
to the president’s ongoing quest for peace in the region, his ascent to the
stage was accompanied by the strains of “I Was Born For Peace,” lustily sung by
Peres also joined them in singing “Blue Shirt,” the anthem
of working youth.