Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Drowning in sadness

The rain pelts against the window. Winter at last.The first reaction of Israelis” we need the rain” the second “Oh it’s so annoying I got drenched when I had to park the car in a queue and get out so I could see the kids into school”

Once back in the dry kitchen we turn on the radio for the Friday morning talk shows that are usually, excellent. It is only when you hear the voices of mothers’ of young girls who had been murdered by terrorists or those whose boys had not returned from TSUK Eitan (the last military encounter with Gaza), that we realise the reality of life in Israel is not as anywhere else, at least that we can identify with.As yet road death has not been mentioned.

Then they play Offra Hazza’s song “Orech ha hof” (along  the coast)  I am choked with tears.  I think of a wonderful family in Netanya who’s  daughter aged 16 was killed when her boyfriend using his father’s powerful car, drove recklessly along the sea road.

The sea, the coast, the road?

That was the song they played at her funeral and at the METUNA fund raiser in her memory when her cousin sang it.

How can I not be moved to tears when I am planning soon to celebrate with others, some of whom are bereaved parents and those with critically disabled family members. It is through my connection to these ordinary people that I was recognized as an outstanding immigrant from the UK, for my contribution in various ways to Israeli society. Or as they put it “THE STATE OF ISRAEL.”

Those living on the border with Gaza are again being pounded with rockets. This time as a response to Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. Always an excuse to “vent their rage

This could well lead to yet another incursion or worse, into Gaza.

I will not put into words what the expected result will be. Quiet for a while. At what cost.?

With so many unpleasant police investigations taking place in our country most based on corruption and dishonesty, a military intervention will be a distraction.

Those who live in the South have suffered for so long.  Those who live in the centre cannot for one moment imagine living under rocket attacks which are random, totally unexpected. Even if the result is not death it shocks. Every time there’s a boom and a run for shelter, a child will be traumatised for life. I know. We lived through rocket attacks for 2 years in Southern England when I was a child.

My own father died on the last day of the war in Europe. Behind his grave in West Ham are 5 unmarked untended graves of a  Jewish family in London who were the last victims of a V2 missile.

Today I have German guests in my home. I am closely involved with a German woman who day and night is endeavouring to activate politicians and others to become involved in a Peace Movement to end the violence  in the place that we all call “THE LAND”

Beit Frankfurt is the community centre next to my home.It was made possible by German reparations.

Will there ever be a time when Jews and Arabs, on our roads in the workplace and even the Knesset will not only totally respect each other but work in unison to end the conflict that infiltrates into our daily existence.

We are all human beings as Shylock said “when you prick us, do we not bleed”

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.
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