Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

May 8th.1945 ‘on the day the war in Europe ended’

I wonder how many people around me, find this day special? Those of my generation are either “Aber Bottled” over the hill or no longer with us.

Its almost embarrassing to talk about “that war” which we thought would be the war to end all wars, at least in Western society!

It was September 1939. I remember where I was standing and whom I was with!

Now in my dotage and trying to live every day despite Corona. With the knowledge that another murderous Dictator has “copy/pasted” previous Dictators and more importantly Adolf Hitler,I seek a message for my grandchildren and great grand children yet do not find one.

If I say we should love one another it simply falls on deaf ears.

If one talks about “them” who are they today?

My friends from the FSU all have different re actions.

People in Israel ask me”was it like this in the UK in 1939″ when the Nazis were trying to destroy us.

So I am out of sync and any attempt at explaining does not do justice to the truth. Or more tragically nothing has been learned.

I was at a recent get- to-gether in the ARAVA where we heard an erudite representative from the Foreign Office talk about other wars, especially the Hutsies and in countries where few of us have even visited. Horrific stories.

So even if its not physically on our doorstep, there are many in this land who identify totally with what is happening today.

The lesson for us in this special and to many” the holy land”is to raise all intellectual and sociological examples and arguments(for me there is no justification, so theres no argument!)

People more erudite and or informed than me,may disagree on the basis that there are those who do not wish to hear or see.

Are there any out there who will take this on for the good mankind? It seems that any group of so called “do gooders”that I encounter are just nice rather benign people. In my own Israeli family we have people who are engaged in social work on different levels also education. My beloved granddaughter  is a critical care leader in the Ambulance service in the UK. So what, the forces of greed and consequently evil, hold the power.

I always remember a farewell speech which Sayed Kashua made before he left for the USA and as far as I know, he is still there.

With his amazing personality and excellent Hebrew and English having made us all laugh at his story about what he needed to wear when he received his literary prize he, said “I want to experience the world from another perspective.”

He intended to return to Israel I feel sure. However I had the sneaking feeling that it would be the assimiliation of his teen age youngsters that would make it difficult to return.

So how do we find the happy meduium\/? As Jews and as Israelis. My own family (cousins) in the UK have always supported the so called Zionist State, not withstandng they are still in the UK, with their superb life style and not one of their kids has made Aliyah.

Same family and what’s more their mother was the person who in London went knocking on doors to collect donations for WIZO and G-d help anyone who refused her!

So theres no one to trust outside. We truly have to decide that there will be reconciliation. There are elements who actively seek to prevent that.

When I speak to people overseas they cannot believe that we have such deep internal problems.This is the land…Haaretz for all of us.  I was travelling to Italy once to visit my family who were working there and there were two men walking alongside and they asked if they could help with my hand luggage. I indicated that I was OK and asked them in Hebrew where are you from, meaning which town? They answered we are from HAARETZ”- the land.

I smiled and said so am I.

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.