Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

The week that was!.

It seemed that this last week in Israel every day almost has had some historic significance.Not only in Israel, but since we in this tiny,crazy,emotional and somewhat escapist land, tend  to find a Jewish or Israeli connotation  in most events,it was quite exciting.

November 19th is my son’s birthday so we will always recall the date that Sadat arrived on our soil and was welcomed wholeheartedly by the people and if I remember correctly, a standing ovation in our Knesset.

This date except for our personal interest, was not mentioned to my knowledge, even though our Prime Minister has invited Abu Mazen to do a repeat performance of what Sadat did, even seemingly, writing his speech for him!

November 21st was a focus on the divide in the Labour Party which was this day going to vote in a leader, who would represent the majority of the members.

Although the cards seemed stacked in Sheli Yakimovitch’s favour the result was astounding and reflected the low turn out of her camp followers. What they could not admit publicly,they demonstrated by not turning out.

Hopefully this truly democratic outcome will enable the Labour Party to galvanise its forces.

November 22nd the horrific assassination of America’s young and dynamic President  John F Kennedy.  who was determined to make sweeping changes.

To quote:Prof Colin Shindler in the Jewish Chronicle”He faced the problems of that age with courage,youthful vigour,profound understanding and deep sympathy for the under privileged,disinherited and oppressed.”

The Israeli public saturated with the Iran issue were distracted by the inconceivable disclosure about  the misdoings of one of  Israel’s biggest the pop idol’s. Innocent until proven guilty,maybe,but there was hardly a family in Israel who was not repulsed by the revelations.

Today ,Shabbat we listened to interviews with  injured Syrians who are being treated in our hospitals.They are telling how they never imagined that Israelis could be  kind,humane,compassionate.

It reminded me of my own personal encounter with a Syrian guest at our Bed and Breakfast Hotel in Kings Cross,London in the 70’s.

We had returned  from Israel with our family, due to economic and health reason.The opportunity presented itself as a means to an end.There was a paucity of hotel rooms in London and people came from all over the globe.

Amongst our guests,was a Syrian man who said that he needed a room for at least a month as he was donating a kidney to his brother who was in a hospital near to the hotel.

We gave him a comfortable room so that he would have space for the medical equipment,he would need after the surgery.Apart from seeing him at breakfast, we exchanged pleasantries. He was aware that we were Jews,we made no secret of that  but I am not sure that he knew we were Israeli.

Came the day for his departure,he thanked me profusely for the help and attention he had received. I put out my hand and said”I wish that the day will come when our two peoplees will have this relationship.

He ignored my hand and tight lipped,he walked away.

I have just heard the news that one of Israel’s most courageous men Dov Lautman has just died.He was an outstanding human being.His death will be an immense loss to our people.

So that was the week that was.

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.