Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!


Ataraxia “impassiveness, calmness” is best known from and associated with the ethics of the Athenian philosopher Epicurus (341–270 b.c.). It is acquired by shunning politics and obnoxious people, by paying no attention to the gods or an afterlife, and by devoting oneself to trustworthy friends and a simple life. Ataraxia was important to the Stoic philosophers, also, but for them the final goal was apatheia, which means not “apathy” in the modern sense but “calmness,” imperturbability gained from the pursuit of virtue. Ataraxia (spelled atarxie) entered English in the early 17th century

After a week of internal turmoil having attended three political events which presented differing points of view and were in themselves educational and stimulating even if I did not concur with all that was said,I feel the need to share. Especially since it was good to see  that people are not just sitting around the table on a Friday evening and talking about what is happening in our country but are coming out to learn.

I did not intend to write a blog but I cannot look at my TV screens a moment more. I cannot watch the ugly scenes of Jews literally fighting, insulting and hurting other Jews. Those in uniforms far to flimsy for dealing with the mob that has descended on  Amona today. Those wearing hoodies with hatred spread across their faces and in their eyes. Ugly? No abhorrent!

This is a young generation who knew not the pioneering settlers or my generation who came in the early days to the State which had so much promise. This is a younger generation who have been indoctrinated and fed a diet of fear from their earliest days.this is a younger generation who were not given choices but were told,taught and instructed.

So back to the blog.

Last Tuesday I took myself to the Bar Ilan University for a day long symposium or conference, whatever KENESS means. Yes it was held at the prestigious Bar Ilan University,the one where eight years ago Bibi Netanyahu  Prime Minister of Israel then as now, told the people of Israel that he would work to and end of conflict with the Palestinians, which would include a two state solution.

The invitation came from the circle of Professors for the diplomatic(political) and economic resilience of Israel.

The title of the event was “An end to the Occupation –   time for the application of Israeli Law to Yehuda and Shomron”.

The line up was impressive indeed. The hall reasonably full.

Professor Arieh Eldad kicked off the proceedings in his inimitable way. He was followed by Tsippi Hotovely, Deputy Foreign Minister who opened with an impassioned speech which may have even been written by her boss.

She said “We have never insisted in any forum that the land is ours this has to change, this temporary situation must be changed to a permanent one.  We will have sovereignty over our land.”

I am only mentioning the outstanding women  who were among the speakers as there were so many  eminent male speakers  and each spoke with a depth of knowledge and absolute conviction.  I would assume that you the reader would have heard about it from other sources.

Other women of note were Caroline Glick, Editor of the Jerusalem Post and renowned commentator on Israel’s policies and  devout fan of Netanyahu.

Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar of the Women in Green the organisation which supported settlement in the West Bank from the earliest days talked convincingly of the campaign which is all mapped out to put into action, as we approach annexation.

The audience were not mixed. I will not elucidate. They were all hebrew speaking and there were quite a lot of women.  They applauded every speaker, some young firebrands jumped up and down. There were questions but nothing which would make waves. However some of the audience got stroppy when they felt that the speakers were  too lenient in their attitude to the Palestinians. Professor  Eldad  told them in no uncertain terms that he would remove them from the hall if they did not respect the speakers one of whom was Michael Oron Former  Ambassador to the USA.  When the demographic issue was discussed and it was announced that more Palestinians were leaving the West Bank than entering, a massive round of applause ensued.

You may have read about this elsewhere in far more detail but the bottom line for me was an 100% conviction that after our PM Benyamin Netanyahu meets with President Trump  in the next week or so, annexation of area “C” will be a done deal.

I left this meeting exhausted after 6 hours with breaks for refreshment but have to admit it was interesting.

Two days later I went to a  packed Darcenu meeting in Tel Aviv with a line up of three MK’s and a retired  military expert.

This was  a mixed crowd but watching their reaction to  MK’s Orly Levi Abecassis  Independant, Avi Gabbai  Machanei Hatzioni and  Ofer Shelach Yesh Atid, it was obvious that they were mostly left of centre. They took warmly to all the speakers and especially to Orly who is an outstanding woman who spoke mainly about social inequality. Her charisma and dedication would win over, any party political dogma.

On Monday of this week I was invited by Women Wage Peace to the launching of the Womens’ Caucus for Peace in the Knesset.

The conference room was packed to suffocation and people even waited outside until  a place was vacated.

It was initiated by Ksenia Svetalova with Michal Rozin and during the session they were joined by other politicians whom included Amir Peretz, Zahava Galon,Yehuda Glick, Eitan Broshi, Hilik Bar, Revital Swid, Meirav Michaeli and more. There were also  outstanding female academics including  Prof Galia Golan and Dr Sarai Aharoni  and others like the amazing Yahaloma from Ofakim, Orna Shimroni of “Four Mothers”  Michal Furman from Tekoah and the mother of Malachi Greenfield  z”l.  Together with  Israeli  Moslem, Christians and Druze women were a few Palestinians, all  involved in Civil Society.

The focus of the discussion was women in conflict societies and reference to the UN Resolution 1325. Naturally every aspect of Israel’s current situation was touched upon. The consensus was that the women of our region who as in most societies represent over 50% of the population must raise their voices and start to demand not only equal rights and freedoms but also representation in decision making bodies and in the workplace. In Israel they need to contact their MK’s and tell them what they expect from them.

One thing we know is that women have much in common and that they can be and will be a force that can influence what the future for our region will be.

On that note we had a consensus.

I on the other hand after today’s sad and shameful events can only say that what I need is a dose of “ataraxia” which came up on my email: Dictionary-word for the day!

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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