Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Apocalypse Now?

Apocalypse now?

“We are on the edge of ”apocalypse” said a well known journalist who is prominent in human rights activity, as we left the “Conference of the Left” as it was called, last Friday. ”In the present atmosphere there is no room for  rational dialogue. We lack as a society the basic tools to bring positive change and are being swept or dragged along by political manipulation of the worst kind”.

            The following day I watched” meet the press” Dana Weiss’ excellent programme.  Journalist and commentator, Yoaz Hendel who gets a star for seeking justice as it were, in the PM’s office and being kicked out for it, took part  in the discussion on the renewal of the Social Justice campaign. A sneer crossed his handsome face ”Oh you see Stav Shafir and the student leader  Yitsak Shmueli have announced that they are going with Labour, so  that’s what its all about?”

            How good it would have been to hear that another leader of that movement which  brought 400 thousand out on the streets last summer for which we had hoped would be a wake    up call for any government, had openly joined Likud to fight for what he or she believed in through, that party.

            Sadly the Israeli public have yet to learn not only the difference between changing the system of government (mimshal) which will be a move to the end of democracy since we have no constitution,or  changing the electoral system (shinui shitat habechirot) which will produce positive change and representation. They do not know what a parliamentary system is obliged to give them. They do not know that every member sworn in is not just supposed to represent their ideology   but rather to work for the betterment of society per se  and to represent each and everyone of us.   They do not know that a large party as opposed to  a sectarian one should encompass in its manifest every aspect of citizens needs.

 I did not vote for a pensioners party, I need my party to fight for my pension and my welfare since I have paid my taxes and voted, which I believe is our obligation as citizens.

            As there is no accountability from any of our elected representatives to the electorate, so we as citizens are lacking accountability by not involving ourselves in fashioning our society, instead we turn to amutot.  Has anyone researched the number of families dependant on amutot? I don’t just mean for handouts I also mean acting as a watchdog, since we have no personal voice. We are good with slogans but what do they mean without action?

            Will “Bujie Herzog” glean votes from the needy   for  whom he strove so hard. He stayed in a government which strayed far from his personal conviction, to do so. Will Gilad Arden get votes from the road safety movements and environmentalists   for his admirable parliamentary work on those issues? Will others lose votes for the mounting frustration of all those on meagre salaries in  the public services ,which keep the country running, while the fat cats get fatter?

            I do not think that we are all wearing blinkers but rather like the 3 monkeys who hear, see and speak no evil. We actually feel impotent.

            To those of you who were not at the  aforementioned  well attended conference people you can read about it on Peace Now’s facebook page.

I hope that you will listen to the impassioned opening speech by none other than  American actor Mandy Patankin presently in Israel filming an episode of “Homeland” in which he stars. He encapsulated everything we have in Judaism on a personal level, yet with a strong underlying message that we need to take to heart.

Hope to see you   ”on the streets” sometime.


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.