Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

An eventful few days in the verdant Galilee

After weeks or is it months of almost virtual isolation in my  Tel Aviv apartment,  I was delighted to take up my dear friend Daphna’s invitation to stay with her on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi.

She picked me up last Shabbat evening and promptly told me that there was a slight problem with one of the tire’s on her car, but we could take advantage of the numerous garages on the way, to top up with air whenever we felt the need.

That in itself  was a challenge for an old lady like me, but I was up for it!

At our stop near Yakum we also had a snack and while  topping the faulty tire  with air we were surprised by a couple of guys  in bathing shorts who had climbed over the  surrounding fence, opened the  “Macabai Esh”(fire extinguisher hose) and proceeded to take a shower.

At the  next garage feeling rather anxious, Daphna asked a young employee if he would be willing to change the faulty tire. I was impressed with her efficiency in getting out all the accumulated objects in the car boot and extracting the spare tire. It’s been years since I drove a car and had to deal with such things.

We eventually arrived home safely. The following  morning Daphna found a “puncture macher” in nearby Rosh Pina and all was fixed.

I loved the fact that people are so friendly and helpful in the countryside .Its the same in the UK. We who live in the big cities are less inclined to small courtesies. Years ago on a visit to Kibbutz Maabarot with journalists, we heard how they had developed an impressive industry from  recycled tires. They were situated on Route 4 which in the early days had no service stations whatsoever.

The next morning we went to the beautiful bathing pool in the Kibbutz and from then on I encountered many vatikim as we call them. Old timers who had come to Israel as I had, at the beginning of the state.

I have warm memories of Kfar Hanassi because one of the first people who guided our activities connected with FSU Jews  following our return to London in 1968,was Shmuel Hatzor, who with his late wife Debbie came from there. I met with Ruthie  their daughter.

I found an eclectic mix of young and old people living together in harmony. Not the Kibbutz which I knew of old, but community life which has much to be admired and venerated.

I attended various activities with Daphna including Chi Quong in neighbouring Kibbutz Amiad,where my middle son Anthony had been a volunteer during the Yom Kippur War.

He had left the UK the very next day after the war broke out on October 6th 1973. I have a letter from the Jewish Agency citing the fact. Aged 18 he was  unable to join the army as he had hoped, since he had grown up in Israel.  Instead was sent to volunteer on a kibbutz whose male members were all at the front!

I also managed to visit the Soul Room very near to the Kibbutz which is quite extraordinary and is allowing handicapped members of the local community to create objects both beautiful and useful, to grace our homes.They also have an excellent dining area with delicious home baked goods.

On the final day of my visit I met with Anna Rosovsky who lives in nearby Rosh Pina.  She is the guiding light and inspiration behind “Young Musicians of Tomorrow.” I was treated to delightful solos by Ronni Arbitman  a 13 year old violinist who was to have taken part in the Beethoven Centenary Concert in Berlin. Also Jonathan Hadass a clarinetist of the IPO, who with his partner Hila, kindly brought me back to Tel Aviv.

So today before going to join the demonstration near my home in Tel Aviv I just wanted to share with you, my heart warming experience in the North.

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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