Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Am I supposed to be boycotting Elite?

Its many years since I spent Pesach with my dear   ones in England, so its nice in a way to be able to meet up with, not only my family but also their friends. My youngest son   lives in rural elegance in a village near the famous health spa Tring, which is almost a time warp of my teenage  years, prior to my leaving for Israel. One sees not, a coloured person of any ethnic leaning. The occasional foreigner maybe of European descent,usually the spouse of a pure blood English man or woman.

In this ambience of flora and fauna are  nice friendly people who hold their jewish neighbours in high esteem. Maybe because they are the only “different” family or because  my daughter in law who is both an artist and horticulturalist, sells eggs from her free range chickens,organic vegetables and plants, which she cultivates. When she has produce available, it is placed at the entrance to the driveway and her  neighbours are invited to take what they so desire and leave money for same, in a small cashbox. Certainly   a quality of life, rare indeed.

On the other hand my children are extremely active in the small masorti community in St Albans and their sons have grown up with a close knit group of jewish and zionist kids spending time at summer camps and trips to Israel.

So these will be some of the people with whom I will come into contact  on my upcoming trip.

How will I handle the anticipated questions that will be thrown at me?  .  Iran, Social Justice, Kadima elections and the two state solution. Or, will I be chastened by the lack of interest which will infer that we are really of no importance to the western world or are too despised to generate credible responses.

This  morning, my facebook messenger asked me to open a new link “Family on the Way” Mishpecha b”derech. Here we go again I thought, a passionate family courageously trying to survive not  only the hostile elements   seeking our demise, but those who set the norms for our everyday life. Call it government leaders, industrial tycoons, the bank of Israel or whatever “middle israel” is calling out and the lower echelon who have lost their voice, are living in  dire need. The par between rich and poor is greater than ever before. Gone are those ”wonderful” old days when we the ordinary people had very little in food or luxuries but nevertheless   lived productive and hopeful lives. We survived“on the book” paying our debts to the butcher, baker and candlestick maker,at the end of every month. Even the, recipients, of  welfare handouts had to work on the roads or   in other part time essential, employment.

With these thoughts in mind I ventured down to our neighborhood commercial centre where I spotted a neatly printed sign inviting us ALL to a get together on Friday afternoon. Seemingly, people  from our neighbourhood were amongst the Nordau Blvd protesters, of last summer.

Wow, I thought, people are starting to wake up again. Can it be as a result of the Trachentberg resolutions which have not satisfied anyone? The effect  of boycotts on food products? Or  of Kadima’s failure to bring out more than 50% of its party members to choose between Tsippy Livne and Shaul Mofaz? Do we smell a scent of “fed up” taking over from”apathetic?

Perhaps by the time I return thousands will once again have taken to the streets?

Will people in England know about the“We love you Iranian people” another  Israeli facebook initiative?. Will they realize what we are doing? That the message the ordinary Israelis are sending out is not only to Iran but to the western world and more importantly to Israel’s leaders? There could easily be a consensus between those of us on both sides of the political spectrum.  While we the public are   being fed a daily diet of almost paralyzing fear of the intentions of Achaminajad, we   are in no doubt of the inauspicious consequences of an attack by us on Iran. Little Israel’s arrogance will not solve the potential Iranian threat to the world and we could become more isolated than ever.

So, now to the Palestinian, apartheid and other “most used” words at the   UN.

Will there be any positive answers to the seemingly endless issues. We and they! Want to live in peace as neighbours,or do we??

I will have plenty of personal stories which are encouraging and hopeful, but as many which are soul destroying and defeat my simplistic belief in human nature conquering all.

I will beg people to come and visit.To see for themselves.To leave their comfort zone and breathe in the sweat of the Israeli summer,the parks overflowing with picnickers,the day life and the night life and join in on the interminable arguments on Shabbat Eve, when we sit together.  To drop the sickening word apartheid, to understand the reality of the Middle East today and to identify with all the human beings who are caught up in both physical and emotional conflict and who wish to live in the land. For us all the word Eretz means the same thing.

As I push my packet of Elite chocolate wafers(they are most delicious when Kasher le Pesach, must be the potato flour) into my suitcase I wonder”Am I supposed to be boycotting Elite”?

Hag Pesach Sameach.









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.