Fighting malaria, disease, Arab and bedouin rampages, poverty, starvation, hostile elements and then tyrannical overseers - they faced a life of difficulties that we cannot even imagine.
They steeled themselves to survive. And the result is the beautiful quaint small town (not so small) of Zichron Yaakov (as well as other places, like Rishon LeZion, etc.).
Then when every man could have sat quietly under his fig tree, the metal of the town of Zichron Yaakov was tested once more.
As the Turks tormented the Jewish people during World War I, and the British battled the Turks and their German allies, a brave Zichron Yaakov family (the Aaronsons) and their young friends risked their lives (and some lost their lives) to create the NILI Spy Organization. NILI, the name tells everything - Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker (the eternity of Israel is not a lie) - aimed to help the British in every way to overcome the Turks. They also worked to bring the truth of the Turks' oppression of the Jewish people to the world, and to gain help from Jews around the world for their suffering brethren in the Holy Land.
NILI spy work was a terrifying and dangerous undertaking. A few NILI members lost their lives in the efforts. Others lived to see the British Mandate take hold of Eretz Yisrael. They hoped for a better future for their people.
World War I intelligence officers Captain W. Ormsby-Gore stated that the Aaronsohn family was "admittedly the most valuable nucleus of [British] intelligence service in Palestine during the war...The British government owes a very deep debt of gratitude to the Aaronsohn family for all they did for us in the war...In my opinion, nothing we can do for the Aaronsohn family will repay the work they have done and what they have suffered for us."
Every generation has its trials and crises. The success of the Zichron Yaakov settlers is a beacon for all our Jewish pioneers that with faith and perseverance, they can build a greater future for their people.
I hope that before the end of the week, I'll be able to put up a video clip about our Zichron Yaakov experience. Keep checking http://www.voices-magazine.com/ .