Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

May I mention the past?

Today I am a high risk person whom has been forbidden by the family to leave the house.  Me, who has from the age of 8 years been through so many wars, food shortages and emergencies. Housebound?

Thank God I am not sick and as they say, still have my marbles.

Hila, my granddaughter  the eldest of several and herself a mother of four, has just asked me to send her a list of commodities that I need or may be short of?

What do I need exactly its hard to decide. My freezer is full because I always cook for a family and not for one.I cannot get used to the fact that although my dear husband Leon has been dead for 12 years, I must change life long habits.

They were not exactly life long. I lived as a kid through World War Two and must admit that everything was well organised in England. We kids got supplements like concentrated orange juice, cod liver oil and chocolate flown in from the USA and Canada which was distributed to us at school. For five years we did not see an orange or, a banana that wasn’t dried. Avocados had not been invented! At that time we survived and still had fun, despite the fact that many of us were evacuated from areas which were being constantly bombed.

So I know about rockets which give no warning and buzz bombs and also mass bombing and nights in deep smelly underground shelters and so on. Also about how to be self sufficient.

Deprivation from ones creature comforts makes one more appreciative and also fosters creativity. When I arrived in Israel in 1949  before Dov Yosef imposed rationing, the Spinney stores which had served the British Army and local residents with imported items from the UK and the colonies, were still operating. However after our marriage in London and return to Haifa at the beginning of 1950, shortages were rampant. I always have to laugh when I think that I made one onion last a month and the sack of potatoes which my neighbours and I had purchased from a passing farmer and lived inside the entrance door, were examined daily to see that they were not rotting.

This communal instability is happening to us now despite the fact that we still have no political stability. We have to be on guard that the democratic and parliamentary system to which we attune will not fail us.  We have to be aware of the demons still trying to impose unpleasant and destabling laws or conditions upon us.More importantly we have to be united.

So what is there for us to do.. To go to the streets and demonstrate would be irresponsible yet those who rule us after a three time failed election are themselves irresponsible. They are still spouting hatred against different sections of the community. This is a time for unity. As it should be in a democracy in time of crisis.

Neighbours in our apartments inside Israel, are being considerate to each other. Also those neighbours who are more distant, are all in the same boat.

Let’s  truly hope that we all learn something from this.   Learn that racism, antagonism, and suspicion are not healthy in a flourishing,dynamic and visionary society which is what we were and can be again. Also that hedonism and destroying the environment  have to stop.

Proud to be Israeli and to live in this unique and wonderful land surrounded by and inter- acting with those  who come from varying lands of origin and those who have been here for generations.

Let it be.

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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