Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

A Rabbi dies, and two Prime Minister’s are remembered

Gadol Hador, the greatest  rabbi of his generation, sic.

Rav Ovadiah Yosef has been laid to rest in the fullness of his years. Headlines today, tell us that this was the largest funeral in the history of Israel.  What I thought? Larger that that of David Ben Gurion?  True, we were a smaller country then. He died on at 11am on Shabbat 2.12.73. When Shabbat ended he was placed in a coffin, draped with the national flag. The  following morning at 11am, the whole country came to a standstill.   Watching from a  window overlooking the Knesset, as the helicopter brought him to lie in state,  I was moved, to see an Arab gardener in the grounds, drop to his knees in prayer. 

I did not go to his funeral. I did not even go to Rabin’s funeral.  Was the Rabbi’s funeral even larger than that? What does that say, what does that mean? Who turns out on mass and why?  Enough, has already been written about……… that. 
 Yesterday as those of us at home followed   the   surreal scenes with disbelief,  police spokesmen were saying” There will be a disaster here, its getting out of control”.  Yet neither Deri, who was sobbing into the microphone, or any other leader, of that  assumedly, spiritual and God fearing mob, demanded of the crowd  “respect and order”.  I wonder what Ovadia would have thought of that? 
Everyone will give credit to his scholarly wisdom. Many, for his purely human interest  in the Ethiopian aliyah or the situation of agunot,following after the Yom Kippur war.  Detractors will highlight his bigotry towards those, who did not hold his beliefs.  
He will be remembered as colourful, extrovert and unpredictable. To quote the British Ambassador “My face is still stinging from the slap I received”!   
No one interviewed said “We must look forward, that’s what Rav Ovadia would have wanted, at least  he’s at peace now.”
It was as if they were left, helpless orphans.
It was not a road  accident. They all knew, what was inevitable.
He was a man after all, not a God! 
Yitshak  Rabin was mourned by the world at large. He was seen as a pragmatist, a man of  war and peace, genuine in the extreme. He was a bashful, shy, introverted.  Never actually,  sought the limelight.
We did not kiss his hands. 
His shocking death and the aftermath, dwarfed his amazing achievements and did not  make him an icon. 
This year the anniversary of his death is not organized, officially.   
On motzei shabbat at 8pm in Kikar Rabin,   there will be a coming together, of those  who loved and believed in him.  
Those, who see a real growing threat to our democracy.  Those who want to believe that such a thing could never happen again. 
Last year at the memorial, I was stunned by the numbers of youngsters there. They, were  not even born, in 1995.  I asked them, “where are your parents, why aren’t they here”?
 Its 18 years since that fateful night, those babes who came into the world that year, are  now preparing to serve their country.  The Rabin’s of our society put the country before all. The young people will do the same  despite, the fact that at this moment in time, our leadership is, doing our heads in.  
Loud voices both in his party and coalition, are pressing, the PM to back down on the two state  solution. He meanwhile, belts out a smoke screen of threats to our very existence,  jumping from Iran to terrorism and all things, between. 
The best we can do if we care at all, is first to show, Prime Minister Yitsak Rabin, the  respect that he deserves.  To demonstrate publicly, that we are not only united about putting an end to conflict,  but, also to support our current Prime Mnister.
Remember, we called for his head, following Rabin’s murder!   
Over  50% of the population are thirsting for a sign, that peace with our neighbours  is possible.  Trusting, that he will not let us down, we can show by our presence,  that, we are backing him. 
So come out everyone and bring your friends.!
Let us stand together as Israelis, who have  the courage of their conviction. We can be a light unto the nations, even at this late stage.
 No unsightly behavior,  no insults,  just respect and order and a commitment to our  future. Be there!   
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.