Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

There is a beautiful Israel

It’s not bad enough that we have Corona like many countries in the world. Luckily due to good decision making, most Israelis are really behaving according to the rules.

However, since our political situation at this moment in time is pretty diabolical, one would expect that the public would be jittery and dour.

As an elderly citizen who tends to say “I remember when” I am disturbed, to say the least, at the conundrums taking place in the Knesset. Also not finding a modicum of leadership willing to push the boat out and fight for the basic rights and freedoms, that are being taken from us constantly.

I am heartened at the sight of a few Mk’s who are coming out to stand with those demonstrating and with whom they share common ground.

Also, other prominent military and academic figures standing tall for Democracy and Equal Rights.

So, on this sunny November morning at Beit Frankfurt, community centre, a gift from Tel Aviv’s twin city in Germany I saw beautiful Israel.

The Corona tests were taking place there and we were asked to take a number and sit and await our turn. There was no jostling only spacing between seats scattered around outside the entrance to the Lobby, where the procedure for testing was being carried out.

Not a raised voice, except for the guy calling out the numbers.

If anyone had a problem like forgetting an ID card that was soon solved. The atmosphere apart from calm and also friendly was one of efficiency that could not be faulted.

We are lucky to live in Tel Aviv I know, but our community is very mixed both ethnically and economically.

Observing those around, me many young Mothers or Dad’s with their kids, I felt totally at home and proud. Having worked for years in Public Relations known also as Hasbara for Israel, I am a keen observer and critic of my own country and its people.

One must not fall into the trap of complacency, for at the polling stations we cannot control how people will vote. At the end of the day, that determines what our future as a Democratic State for all its peoples, will look like, should there be an election?

We all live here because this is the place we wish to be in. Some of us are emigrants others have a history of generations. This land is vibrant and multi-faceted and that’s what makes it so attractive to those who visit.

The reality today is different from those years that I was involved with visiting foreign journalists and VIP’s. During Begin and Shamir’s tenures, one could move around without restriction, there was a plethora of talent and original theatre. Demonstrations were rowdy but not with the violence and brutality we see today, from the law enforcement authorities.

In the ’80s there did not exist such an atmosphere of division, even though there were some that found life different and unpredictable by the turnabout-MAAPACH which brought Begin to power after 30 years of the rule of Labour (Mapai).

So at least today what I saw was heartening, as it should be in a country where people are free to vote for whom they want and will hopefully, respect the outcome.

When I think of all those Israelis who left for so-called sunnier shores in the United States of America and have not come back, I am somewhat bemused, especially after the spectacle that Trump has created over the Election result! I am also very sad. This land of ours is like no other and not only have many sacrificed their lives so that we can live here without fear, but others are making a fine contribution to society, on many levels.

I am watching  TV Channel 13’s programme called THE SOURCE-Ha Makor. The exposure of what lead up to the charges laid against our Prime Minister. It is shameful in the extreme and makes me sick to my stomach. When I think of former leaders from both sides of the political spectrum, who totally put themselves on the line for our land and its people. I imagine them turning in their graves. Most lived so modestly by comparison

They were dedicated to the people and not lining their personal coffers.

So I truly hope that before I pass on, there will be a  positive breakthrough by politicians who are seeking their place in the sun and mouth the correct sentiments.

I PRAY that they put their money where their mouth is. As the saying goes.

The Israeli public deserves the best.

On Thursday, November 19th, which happens to be my eldest son’s birthday we celebrate the visit of the late President Sadat to Israel. Sadat’s life was brutally taken by those for whom the concept of peace is a non-starter. However, what he made possible has only been to our advantage.  His memory should be blessed.

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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