Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

A day in court

Could be any day could be anywhere, but it’s not.

It’s in Tel Aviv in my country with my people or at least those with whom I identify as mine, even if some of them do not actually identify with me?

Anyway? What is mine by right or by chance and what is someone else’s? If a person leaves a so-called homeland, a land of strife and poverty, in an attempt to build their life anew is that a crime?

My own grandparents left Ukraine at the turn of the 20th century and landed in London Docks. They with five children were fleeing from Cossacks who charged with swords flailing through their villages (known as shtetls), killing, maiming and stealing at will, the little that those hated Jews had.

It seems that Jews from time immemorial have packed and left(not always from choice) and could be called the people with a suitcase in their hearts. Indeed so many Israelis are living elsewhere?

So one would imagine that Israelis would be sensitive to others in the same situation. Others who have reached the shores of what they believe to be the Holy Land, in the hope of finding sanctuary.

Books have been written about the hardships of Jewish emigrants who were actually, uninvited. About their dedication and positive contribution to those countries(the UK as an example) which provided a haven at the beginning, but little else.

Foreigners reach our shores daily because they believe in their hearts that the people of the Bible will respect their will to work hard and so allow them to stay. They also enrich the coffers of the places they leave and Israel, by the very act of leaving. As so-called carers or building workers, they are required to pay back those who helped or exploited them on their way.

I am not new to Filipinos. My own husband, an invalid for many years had a carer for the last five years of his life. She not only tended him but she also lifted a great burden off me.

She as it happened, married an Israeli and is gainfully employed by our social services.

Today was a different story. A woman with two teenage kids who were born here, has managed to raise them on her own. They are by all accounts, excellent pupils and will one day if allowed, make a great contribution to our country.

The question is will they be allowed to stay?

I did not understand all the legal jargon but enough to grasp the absurdity of our system. Knowing full well that this story repeats itself, why are there no real checks and balances? Should kids who were actually born here have to leave?

I am proud to have made it here. I am also still a British citizen. I respect the laws of both countries.

Today this woman in question and her children were surrounded by loving Israelis from organisations working for humanity who came to support their request, assumedly for those very same reasons as I did.

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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