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Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

There are no sides…just people!

So many thoughts are racing through my brain. Some conflicting, others simply humane.

Having just returned from a meet in the Arava desert including Israelis, both Jewish and from all ethnic groups, embracing all faiths, with visitors from the Ukraine who are Buddhists. I am more confused than ever!

There, where vast stretches of desert can make one feel both anonymous, yet connected to the land in the true sense of the word, we had not the slightest idea that only days later “all hell would break loose in the Ukraine.

Amongst those who went to discuss Peace and Reconciliation from many aspects, were young women from the Ukraine wearing T shirts which had their names in Russian and designs of doves with olive branches! I was pleased to see them, since my family came in the 1920″s as immigrants from the Ukraine to Great Britain, where I was born.

For the past few years I have hosted many Air B and B guests among whom, were those from the Ukraine.

They came to Israel mainly to receive medical services of many kinds, including fertilization treatment. It made me feel connected nevertheless. I was so happy to think that here in Israel they could realise their dream to create a baby and or be cured from cancer, amongst other things.

I also told them that in my opinion they had Israeli babies, what could be more wonderful?

It kind of thrilled me, to say that my grandparents were immigrants from there. I put aside the downside of pogroms which forced so many Jews to leave for the West.

We returned reluctantly to the UK in the 60’s. Having lived many years in Israel.

It was there that I became one of the movers of the Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry, along with Doreen Gainsford, Barbara Oberman,Sylvia Wallis and many more Jewish housewives!. Actually fighting and demonstrating for the release of Jews at a time, when there was no freedom of movement. To a certain extent the British Authorities supported us,discreetly .

The first person we demonstrated for, was Raissa Palatnik from Odessa. The Soviets had confiscated her typewriter and imprisoned her.

Since my recent visitors were the result of what was once a dream, I never believed that there could be a complete reversal of what we had hoped was a thing of the past.

I used to ask them over and over, if they could travel freely and work in every occupation they desired and the answer was positive.

As a child of WW2 I cannot help but identify with the horrors of air raid warnings and more. In a country where after years of deprivation and strict conditions which we never had in the West. How is possible?

I am trying to make contact with those who stayed with me, people are human beings. What could be more beautiful than seeing a mother with fertility problems leave our country with a new life in her body?

May sanity return to this world!

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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