Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Rabin, the rain and “true colors”

Its Motzei Shabbat. I just got home after standing in the torrential rain at a bus stop opposite the Ayalon shopping mall.

I sit before my computer  soaked to the skin.

It was the four young girls who were standing next to me, that alighted the taxi and let me go first. That was nice of them and something that I expect to happen, because this is the Israel I know and love.

However, I am not sure anymore if I do know Israel, even though I have lived here on and off mostly on, for 67 years.

I went to the Mall  this evening to see  Amos Gittai’s award winning film about the last days of Yitshak Rabin.

I had been in Rabin Square for the memorial and thought of a remark by an  immigrant from the FSU, that  the public is still being forced to honor this dead leader, in what he described as Soviet style.

He could not understand it.  

Nothing surprises me,since most young immigrants from there, are not really aware of what their parents went through. They haven’t been told why they were able to leave after 60 years of being denied basic human rights which included no freedom of movement.So maybe the idea that a democratically elected leader was assassinated by one of his own, did not seem to him that important.

I would have gone anyway to the rally to show respect for the human being and leader that he was and in solidarity with the idea of living together in mutual respect with our minorities and also with our neighbours….and finally to thank Bill Clinton for coming.

What  impressed  me most, were the youngsters from every ethnic group who were there in force.

If Rabin’s death brought us together at least that was worth it.

The movie was something else entirely.

I was transported to a time and place that was abhorrent. Living through it as I did then, was different to watching on the screens now.The violent, hateful almost bestial behavior of  the crowds most of whom were young men.Those, who not only challenged his legitimacy and spat on the former war hero, but also chanted for his death..

In  famous balcony scene in Kikar Zion Jerusalem  stood not only a younger and slimmer Benyamin Netanyahu but  close at his side Yitshak Shamir,Moshe Katsav and Rechavam Zeevi aka Gandhi!

The banners across the balcony called for the removal of Rabin and also death to arabs.

I heard that David Levy had left in protest.

The movie is hard to watch but one must see it.

The acting is superb and so the photography. I will not spoil the viewing by saying too much about how it has been made. It may have been a tad too long but each scene held one entranced.

I kept thinking to myself maybe I will be attacked when I come out, after all the cinema was only half full..no show of strength here.

I thought of the saying”the hat is burning on the head of the thief” they will only have to look at me and guess that I was a left wing traitor after all there were plenty of good films to see, so why was I coming out with red eyes?

At the end of it I clapped.

The woman sitting beside me looked at me aghast”Why did you do that” I said “Because its a great and courageous film”.

I walked out into the brightly lit shopping mall. There, lots of people of all ages,shapes and sizes.Everyone  happy,friendly chatting,eating,drinking and shopping, it was surreal.

This film had brought to me the stark reality of what is happening in our precious country. The possibility that the mobs and their mentors could take over.

Lynch mobs at the touch of a hat! Hatred and incitement spewed out at every turn and coming from so called law makers. High court judges with armed body guards,public radio and TV under threat and discriminitive laws passing quickly through the Knesset.

Not to mention facebook. 

I was actually glad that I had to get soaking wet tonight we need the rain to freshen the land and cleanse us.

Then I thought about my neighbour who helped me out of an embarrassing situation the other day. When I  thanked him I added “that’s what I love about living in Israel, people can be so kind”

“Mostly, but if only we could get rid of 20% of them” he said and grinned.

Most of my neighbors know my political views.  I looked hard at him and paused and then said “Do you mean the new immigrants?”

He shrugged.

I dread to think what could be possible in my own lovely neighbourhood if we all showed our true colours?


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.