Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

The lively borscht ballet

An amazing 48 hours which started with the local elections which in my opinion have instilled hope and optimism in thousands of Israelis, even they resulted in shock for many others. For example our Likud PM went the rounds spurring on Likud candidates, even to promising one town that if they elect his candidate they will get a railway, meaning that the train will reach their town. That candidate actually came in and we now need to see how long it will take for the Minister of Transport to do as his leader has promised. Who knows if there was coercion with said Minister or not?

Living in Tel Aviv I felt involved on a personal level as I knew members of the council in different parties. I must admit that after 30 years of living in Netanya, I was so pleased to be a resident of the most exciting city in Israel. Despite ten years of residency in  Tel Aviv, I was approached on my mobile incessantly by Miriam Feirberg’s team. Miriam had been my Mayor for many years and I must admit had been very supportive of  METUNA our road safety organisation,  which had been based there.

So there I was torn between helping to re-elect the incumbent Mayor Ron Huldai who had already served for many years or push for a new face to maybe, bring more changes and maybe not?

A close friend of our family was a front-runner with a group called “WE ARE the town” which also had included the arab population of Jaffa in its campaign. In the event, after a delightful breakfast spread put on by my daughter in law Vivi, we marched together as a family, to the polling station. A German friend who was staying with me and was here to strengthen relations between Tel Aviv and Berlin, came along with us. She was fascinated by the whole experience since she had been inadvertently caught up in  Huldai’s campaign.

The results not only in Tel Aviv but around the country gave those of us who feel that denial of freedoms is becoming the only game in town, some new hope. It appears that under our democratic system, the people chose and showed support for those for whom real democracy i.e understanding of the needs of the ordinary people whom they serve, is paramount.

Maybe there are winds of change?

Last night my friend from Berlin was given complimentary seats to a musical event at the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv. She invited me to accompany her.

I was not sure of what the program was. I understood that a Swiss group of musicians with two Israelis, known as World Quintet, mainly klezmer performers were presenting a program of music including pieces known as respectively The Lively Borscht ballet and the Pas de deux from the ballet called Tevya and more!

The music was composed by Olivier Traun who was at the piano throughout. This quintet has played Jewish Soul Music in places such as Carnegie Hall. Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and more. Their range from Klezmer to Jazz to classical music almost everything included, was superb. The first violinist of the Israel Chamber Orchestra who accompanied them almost danced her way, through their performance. Everyone on stage seemed to move in harmony with the platers and smiled and chuckled through the performance.

There was one encore followed by another and at the end of that yet  finally another with the participation of only the clarinetist Michael Hitzler, Christopher Staudenman on the drums and percussion, Barak Mori on the contrabass and the inimitable Ariel Zuckerman on the flute.

The audience was overwhelmed and the atmosphere charged with utter delight.

After two encores, then another surprise with the Clarinet, Contrabass, Drums and Flute played at lightning speed while the audience clapped and stamped their feet. After a standing ovation, we reluctantly left the auditorium.

A fitting end to 48 hours in Tel Aviv.

 

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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