Born in Leeds, I will be buried in Oranit, the Samarian village that I cofounded 35 years ago.
Of late, the chances of being the founder member in the Oranit Cemetery have increased —thanks to Corona.
I don’t feel old, but then, I do not regard Queen Elizabeth to be an old lady.
She and I go back a long way.
When her father died, we stood up in class, bowed our heads and asked God to save her. On her coronation we watched; everyone came, including Queen Salote from Tonga.
Years later, Elizabeth rode past my Leeds neighbourhood in her carriage, she waved at me. But more, much more—for I remember it till this day. I recall the tremendous outpouring of pure love I felt as our eyes met.
Later, I was to embellish the emotion with a cognitive shell. That’s what we do in such things. We feel and then look for good reasons. And there are many so easily found when looking at the British Monarchy. The Queen more than epitomizes royalty. She is the embodiment of British Democracy. A strange hybrid that is the best of all worlds. Democracy whereby every vote counts; stability because no man or woman is above the Queen. The PM is the first amongst equals. Every PM Is readily and often replaced. Unlike my native Israel, the British populace has no need to anoint an elected official as its sovereign ruler. In the UK everyone knows his place.
Elizabeth serves with grace and humility. Her officials do the same; no one ‘gets too big for their boots.’ Everyone knows what he is supposed to do. To use the Hebrew phrase, so applicable in Hebrew governance, ‘no-one tries to jump above his own belly-button.’
Her Majesty spoke regally and wisely. She spoke of unity and devotion. Elizabeth reminded us that we have seen hardships and endured. The Queen faced a different future that awaits us all. Nevertheless, we face whatever is in front of all mankind, united and resolute.
In my native Israel, we see the realization of that vision of hope. We have done something we have never done before. We have turned to our Zealot co-religionist with love and compassion. We have opened our hearts as they suffer. We will try to share their anguish. We understand the sincere devotion they have to our religion. We empathize with their lives of Torah learning, congregating in Synagogues and kissing amulets on entering and leaving the house. And they are stopping this, temporarily, for all of us.
We feel their hardship as families of ten souls, and sometimes more, are shut up in three rooms.
As we approach Pesach, we all face a smidgen of what they endure. Seder night, without family, is nigh on unconscionable.
We, the liberated Jews, see our brothers in a different light. They are ours, and we are theirs.
Together we face the latter-day plague.
Our soldiers bear the supplies. The last time soldiers stood at Jewish doors, they tore those doors down. Now the Zealots open their doors to the Israeli army of the people.
They open their doors, our soldiers open our hands, the Zealots open their eyes, and we look at each other with tears of compassion and gratitude.
Elizabeth spoke of mankind. We are listening to our brothers and sister. We are united.
The doors may close, temporarily. However, like that boy who fell in love with his Queen, the emotion will live on. We will build on it. Our hearts are forever open.
As Elizabeth said, ‘We will meet again.’ The link with our co-religionists, which was so hard to make, will never be broken. And we will meet again very soon, ‘one sunny day.’
LYRICS: We’ll Meet Again
We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where,
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through,
Just like you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say “Hello”
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song