A short time ago, I made aliya. Well, it doesn’t seem very long, but more than 50 years have passed since I stepped off the boat in Haifa. How things have changed!
Anxious for news from family who had made the mistake of staying in the UK, every morning I would check the mailbox looking for a long-awaited letter. Even an airmail letter could take several weeks to arrive – come to think of it, some things haven’t changed at all.
Family in the UK had to make do with news from Rehovot that was often out of date, almost irrelevant, by the time it crawled its way through uncaring postal systems both in Israel and the UK. For something really important, there was the telephone, not in my house, of course, a telephone, shared with the neighbors, was still some five years away. I had to queue up in Rehovot’s main post office and book a call which could take a couple of hours.
But today, communication is instant. News, both trivial and important, wings its way at the speed of light to the smart-phone permanently in our hands. No sooner has my granddaughter tapped her last step in her ballet class than her mother has tapped a key on her phone to send the movie all round the world.
I can speak to family and friends anywhere, while seeing them on the small screen in front of me. With WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, even old fashioned, out-of-date, e-mail, the options are now endless.
But the many ways of talking to each other, the product of hi-tech’s relentless march forward, has not yet brought ancient foes any the closer. As the leopard has not yet changed its spots, man has not yet discovered that we are all alike, have the same desires, the same fears. While there is no shortage of hate-driven terrorists in Gaza, I am sure that many, even the majority, would just like to put food on their tables, bring up their children to work in hi-tech companies and to live in peace.
We need to talk to each other. We have the technology. So, how do we get started? I haven’t the faintest idea.