Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!


Epiphany, that’s what how I describe my experience when, as a 13-year-old girl in World War Two in England, I attended an Hashomer Hatzair rally where I met hundreds of German  and Austrian teen age refugees who had fled the Nazis.

I decided on the spot that “No never ever, would my people be in that situation again and when I was old enough I would go to Eretz Israel to help in building a new future for our people.

A couple of years ago I assisted a Masters student who was writing about “Terrorist Models”,in setting up meetings for his research.

One such meeting was with Yair Stern, the son of the iconic leader of the gang which was named after him.

I sat quietly listening to the description of his father’s execution by British soldiers in his parents’ apartment in front of his mother, who was carrying him in her womb.

I never thought of myself as a person capable of killing for a cause although I have fought for causes which I believed in all my life.However, as a Jew who also suffered some anti-Semitism  as a youngster in the UK, I never knew in which way I would be put to the test.

At that moment as I listened to Yair son of…… I felt welling up inside me such passion and hatred  and thought to myself that,  had I been here at that time I could have been capable of anything.

So my mind today is on the young women who seem to be day after day taking a knife or a scissors to stab anyone than they can get to and are giving their own lives for the cause.

Such is the frustration of the Palestinians after so many years of occupation. When one reaches the point of”nothing to lose” or “resignation” without hope then indeed the future looks too bleak to contemplate.

They like me were born into a world that changed our lives.

Any normal people want to live in peace,without fear,with security and bring children into a world which provides the potential for a wonderful fulfilled and happy life.

People can only live with adversity for a limited time eventually there’s an eruption. Not one only fired by insidious,racist ,messages but the reality of seeing ones loved ones debased humiliated and worst.

The leaders on both sides of our intimate conflict,not those in the greater world that’s for others to worry about,have got it all wrong.

On both sides the wrong messages are going out.

Where is the one who will break this cycle ?

Yesterday when we heard the news about the two young arab girls in the stabbing attack,I was on a bus in Tel Aviv.

The women next to me called them “zonot” I said “who”?

She said in hebrew “tsarich lai’f otan” — “We need to kick them out…the prostitutes”

I said “What, all of the Arabs? Where to?”

She looked at me with disgust.I glared at her and said “Lady, know one thing,they are not going anywhere and neither are we,so we have to live together or side by side”

She snorted as she got off the bus.

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.