Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Oasis of Peace!

Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom (pronounced “waaḥat’ as-salaam/nevei shalom”) is a vil­lage where Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel live in harmony together and are “ded­icated to building justice, peace and equality in the land”.

I have just spent a lovely weekend there. It was organized by a dear and talented man called Harold Jacobs, also known as “Harmonica Harold”.

Once I attended one of these (Harold’s) weekends at the (achuza)”village” where the Bentwich family had settled prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. It is near Zichron Yaakov. That too, has an amazing history.

Many years ago when we were all reasonably young and living in Beit Yannai (a village overlooking the sea, named after “Alexander Yannai” I met the parents of David Broza. Wellesley Aaron was David’s grandfather. He was a British Officer in all sense of the word. Tall and with a mustache(as I remember) he had served His Majesty’s government well. However “he had a dream”. Together with other like minded people, he made it come true. One of his partners if I am not mistaken was a Moslem, another a Christian and all, seeking to build an ideal community where Arabs and Jews could live together. It would be called Neve Shalom the OASIS of Peace.

Apart from the excellent performers young and old whose music ranged from Pop to classic not forgetting the nostalgic songs which for many of us brought tears to our eyes, we were able to partake in a community spirited Fair ,with food stalls and trinkets and more music. Here were also all kinds of people young and old

The first thing I found was a young woman preparing Knaffe on a special burner which I eagerly purchased. .I love it and also I had seemingly arrived late in the dining hall, so had found very little left to eat!

So for me it was an escape too from all the worrying exchanges in the Knesset and elsewhere in the streets throughout our country. My own granddaughter a mother of two with a demanding job, has made time to go out regularly and demonstrate with the “Hand maidens” She says that she is emulating me. We, were demonstrating in Britain to “Let Soviet Jews Go” now so many of those from the FSU are out there too, using their rights to demonstrate as free citizens in a democratic society.

I feel proud at least to be there in spirit and to go to the demos near to where I live in my TRUSTY BUGGY!

I only ache inside when I think of how and why, the State of Israel was born! I also feel limited in expressing my true feelings. Was it David Broza who sang EEEYE TOV no I think its Aviv Geffen whatever those who can express with love and tears the choked feelings of so many of us at this time!

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.