Rod Kersh
Person-centred physician

The miracle of the end

Tzfat, 2019. Photo by Rod Kersh
Tzfat, 2019. Photo by Rod Kersh

It begins with an image of

Hundreds of thousands of people




Flags flying.


I flash to the M&S Christmas Campaign,

Now removed.

Of the red and black, white and and green

Party hats

Charred in the fireplace.


Then the baby,


And the dead child

Plump arms

Caught in her father’s shirt.


Images of soldiers

Hugging their children

As they return from the Front.






I was playing only this week, one of those counterfactual mind-games,


At the last UK election

When Corbyn

Was leader of the Labour Party,

And imagining,

Had he won

And had his strain of Antisemitism

Taken hold in the UK,

The protests held today and last week might have been bolder.


I heard today,

The experiences of Gidon Lev,

Holocaust survivor

And former Kibbutznik,

recalling his childhood,

Or the red tricycle his parent’s couldn’t accommodate on their escape from Germany,

Of the Juden Verboten sign as he, filled with tears of rage failed to understand his grandfather’s actions in barring him from the swings.


I imagine


My nights

Are filled with unsettled dreams.


Some of the survivors

Describe a Groundhog Day.

A setting of the sun

And rising of the moon

And the day repeating.

And nothing changing.


Life at a standstill.


This morning, I read Dorit Rabinyan’s piece in Tablet.

The image,

An alarm clock,


The time stopped just after six thirty.


That six thirty that will go on for ever.


It made me shiver at the thought of an atomic winter

When not just the Kibbutz

Or Sderot clocks stop,

But all,

yours and mine.


An electromagnetic wave

Of evildoing.


This week I bought myself a Star of David necklace and one for my son.

Mine is silver, his, gold.

My daughter has been wearing hers since before the seventh.

Made in Israel,

She wears it alongside the Ahavah chain I bought her.


Ahavah, love.


I think of the death-cult that is Hamas.


They worship death and destruction,

They pray,

For pain and suffering,

They invert.

They have successfully controlled the media,

Brought to their side the Left-wing intellectuals, the professors and academics,

The Queers for Palestine,

Who are happy to exist in an unreality,

Considering that they would be the exception to the rule that Hamas kills those who are not with them, even those with them, if they fly the wrong flag, the Jewish or Christian or Baha’i or Gay, who say the wrong words, such as tolerance, co-existence, and Two-State Solution,

They, despite what you think, will wipe you out. Scrub you. I know you see the Israelis as the problem. The Jewish Problem that has been ongoing for the past two thousand years, where would we be without the Jews? Hitler and Stalin wouldn’t have succeeded, the Roman army would have turned against itself.


When all that is good is bad,

When day is night

When pain is the purpose

And laughter, joy and spontaneity considered wrong, misdeeds, then you know you should worry.


Orwell, where did he get his ideas?


I flash to a tunnel.

A black

Freudian nightmare.


The sand I inhale,

It becomes trapped in my skin, in my pores, in my hair, my clothes,

I ossify,

My heart, turned to stone.


I think of Sivan Avnery,

Rescuing his son in the desert, thanks to WhatsApp.

And his tears.

He says he cries 50 times a day,

Today only 45,

Things are improving.


The mythic figures of Ammunition Hill


Sha’ar HaGai

The Burma Road.


The legends I learned as a child.


Never again.

Like lambs to the slaughter.

Arbeit macht frei.


Why do they hate us?



Claudius, South African ex pat, living in Spain

Says it’s to do with our success.


Israel, the Jewish people

en groupe

Have a winning formula,

it is straightforward,


of loving life

of loving their children

and wanting peace.


Too much to ask?

Claudius imagines the people pulling the heads off the daisies,

Dulling the sun

for no one to shine.


My head and heart are heavy.


I tick off the moments of my own life.


My brain struggles to process.

To differentiate between the care, I provide my old patient,

Let’s say, Enid, 89 who falls repeatedly and whose memory is declining.

With Abigail, three, trapped somewhere in a cave, her parents murdered.


Alone, alone.




The same word in Hebrew

And the name of a Bialik poem.


At times like this,

I stand alone.


Alone you can defeat us,

Come together as one (because together, we got power, we got power).

I conjure the line from Primal Scream.

It’s an uncontested jumble.


A mess

Of pain and indescribable emptiness.

No beginning and no end.


Blood on the streets.


The protesters

Wave their flags,

And feel warm inside.


Their lives,



Are suddenly filled with something.

A mission,

Let’s defend the rights of the threatened.


It is like burning coals,

Like powering the furnace

To cool the situation.

It doesn’t work,

It is misdirected,



And yet,

More and more people join.


Let’s tear down the posters of the kidnapped children.


If they are killing Palestinian babies, theirs deserve to die too.


Is death in an oven as your parents watch,

Worse for the child

than a missile crushing another because their people won’t allow them to hide?


Death is death is death.


I don’t know why people say these things.


I think it is to fill the silence.


To help themselves when they feel the need to speak, yet have no words.


Time reversed,

Back to the 1930’s

100 years,



Israel’s representatives at the UN donned yellow Stars of David last week, a symbolic protest at the collective lack of world agreement to condemn the 7/10 attacks.


They brought it upon themselves they say, that is those either voting against or abstaining.


It is all politics that sullies humanity.


I do what I do because I want you to believe I am thus.


It is smoke and mirrors and no one knows what to do,

The obvious,

Siding with baby killers is their instinct.


Qatar can hold the World Cup and we look away,

Money speaks.

Saudi Arabia next,

They really aren’t that bad;

We need to co-exist,

We need to accept their ways.


They would love us to adopt their ways.


Black is white,

Truth is lies,

Up is down,




I jokingly think of the line from the Ghostbusters, Venkman’s famous, ‘Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!’


A new world order.


It makes me sick.

Sad and sick and disheartened.


I’m sorry this isn’t my usual upbeat.


What can you do when everywhere you look is black, dark, empty.


A breath-hold only lasts so long,


Eventually it has to be over.

About the Author
Dr Rod Kersh is a Consultant Physician working in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. He blogs at
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