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The Horizontal Line

The Horizontal Line

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Published by Gil Browdy

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Published by: Gil Browdy on Dec 10, 2011
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05/13/2014

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The Horizontal Line/Eli Ben-Gal "Man is nothing but an image of his homeland's landscape" The first

dimension, in which a child discovers himself, is the horizontal plane, the world
that surrounds him, his environment. The environment has two components, the specific piece of ground; mountainous or flat, covered in sand or in snow, plains or forests, and the sky above it and its climate, its air, its plants and animals, and all the objects with which a man is born, grows up and lives his life. This reality is so substantial that it seems like the person is one of those plants, a sabra in Israel and a parallel imagery in each country according to its plants. The line from Tchernichovsky's poem "Man is Nothing But an Image of His Homeland's Landscape" expresses the substantial feeling, that the character and qualities of an individual are shaped by the piece of earth on which he walks; as if the land of Canaan gave birth to these youngsters and not their "Galuti" biological parents. As I said before, the environment has two components: the first one is nature, the second is human. Indeed, I am not surrounded only or even mainly by trees and streams and birds; I am surrounded by human beings who grow, who live inside the landscape, in the same earthly space, who face the same materialistic objects, speak the same language as me, share my social customs and take the local norms for granted. This geographical human and natural entirety creates a thick cloud around me that penetrates me and that I breathe from the moment I am born. This is my fundamental experience: an external life system in constant interaction with my being, one that shapes me from the outside in. This is the origin of the instinctive sensation of familiarity and understanding with everyone who experienced the same experience and reality; the sand, heat waves, cacti; and as much as I can feel physical-experiential closeness, I can also identify with the people of my home, neighborhood, town, or country, who speak my language, share my "customs" and "non-customs." This is what the youngster means when he announces "I am first and foremost an Israeli" belongs here and not there. And the truth is that usually the child has no identity but the identity of his surroundings. But the surrounding is not just the primal-substantial experience of man; it has another objective dimension – national belonging.

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