The First Forty Years

Forty years ago today,  on July 29th 1974, my family and I made aliyah and came home to Israel.

On the 32nd anniversary of our homecoming, on July 29th 2006, I started this blog. Then, as now, my country was at war. In fact, looking back over eight years of blogging, I see how little things have changed.

When we made our aliyah, forty years ago, it was in the wake of the Yom Kippur War – a war in which, as in previous wars, Israel stood on the brink of annihilation. Since then, I have lived through the 1st Lebanon War, the 2nd Lebanon War, the 1st and 2nd Gulf Wars (remember the Scud missiles, anyone, and the sealed rooms which were supposed to protect us from the effects of chemical and biological warheads which Saddam Hussein had threatened to rain down on us?).
I have lived here through Operation Litani, which came in the wake of the Coastal Road Massacre, the First and Second Intifadas, the “Palestinian” suicide bombing campaign in Israel which reached its peak in the years 2000-2002, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defence and now, Operation Protective Edge. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve missed a few on this list.

War, terror, attrition, boycotts.

Forty years.

They are still trying to break us. Ten more  soldiers – young boys in their teens and twenties, gave their lives last night in defence of our children, our homes, our lives. Each morning, the radio announces more deaths and the next item is always the announcements of the times and places of the funerals to be held today.

I want to cry out, in the words of Ari Ben-Canaan, hero of the Leon Uris best-seller “Exodus” –

“Why must we fight for the right to live, over and over, each time the sun rises? …..God! God! Why don’t they let us alone! Why don’t they let us live!


About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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28 Responses to The First Forty Years

  1. TBM says:

    I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like. I watch the reports on the news, but still, it’s difficult to know. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Mary says:

    So sorry

  3. Mary says:

    I have just read 1400 Palestinians have died now

    • Lindsey O'Rourke says:

      Not nearly enough!

      • Mary says:

        So you do want genocide then so as to allow Israel to get the gas off the coast? Why do you think the people there are worthless?I am really shocked by your answer… and it has made me feel like a boycott of Israeli goods could be a good idea.

      • Why do you think that a chance comment by a (presumably) non-Israeli and non-Jewish reader of this blog justifies a boycott of Israel? And what has this got to do with getting the gas off the coast? You are becoming incoherent again.

      • Musi says:

        You have an Irish name so I suppose you are stupid. Like Cliona Campbell!

      • Musi, you are new here, so I am going to give you a chance and not ban you right away. This kind of racist ad hominem insult will not be tolerated.

      • David says:

        Actually Lindsey, we don’t really know if these figures are even true. They come from Hamas and I remember that last time, they claimed that 3000 Gazans had been killed, of whom 2000 were civilians and 1000 were children. I thought at the time that the figures were suspiciously round – not to say exaggerated. Sure enough, when all the dust had settled, the real figure proved to be 1458 – less than half the figure that Hamas had touted.

        But more important was that the Press had blindly accepted the figure of 3000. Then when the true figure came out, the Press kept silent about the Hamas deception and the fact that they had fallen for it. So how do we know how many have been killed in this war? or how many are women and children? At this stage, all we get is Hamas propaganda.

      • Lisa says:

        We are tired of all the mourning over Gaza. If Gaza wd stop the titsorerrs then they would live in peace w/Israel. I saw a story line about Gazan children going to back to school. NOT ONE on Israeli children going back to school. Another on Muslims now being able to worship again..NOT ONE on Jews or Christians being able to worship again…I hope the media enjoys their love affair w/ will only be a matter of time before they realize they are puppets in their nasty little game..May HaShem bless you Bones, for telling the truth!

    • Jill says:

      Most of them terrorists. None would die if they stopped attacking Israel.

  4. Mary says:

    I am sorry Shimona but I was once a supporter of Israel but seeing the devastation in Gaza has made me question that comment which you allowed…I am worried that thought Israel may win in the short term that hatred will grow more because of all these deaths…
    So in the long run it may be a very bad thing… but I hope the talks in Egypt help.It’s obviously hard for me to find a source of News of your country that I trust.
    I saw an article about the off shore gas on an American website….Then there is the water problem…
    I will try to keep good will in my heart…Wishing you a truce which lasts and talks that bring progress

    • “plus that comment which you allowed…”

      Would you have me ban Free Speech?

      In case you hadn’t noticed, I have also allowed some extremely anti-Israel comments, if you took the trouble to read them. I doubt that anyone who was a genuine supporter of Israel would really stop supporting Israel because of a comment by a non-Israeli and non-Jewish reader, unless they were looking for excuses to stop pretending to support Israel.

      As for the devastation in Gaza which you claim has made you stop supporting Israel – clearly you haven’t taken in a word of what I wrote about the use of human shields by Hamas, their cynical use of schools, clinics and hospitals and UN buildings. Israel is NOT RESPONSIBLE for all these deaths. However, you are right to be worried that they may cause more hatred of Israel – because I see that is exactly what is happening with you, Mary. You have let everything I wrote flow over you like water off a duck’s back. It reminds me of an anti-Israel demonstrator I saw in a video on YouTube, who, although all this was explained to him, and he was asked what, then, he would have done in Israel’s stead to prevent the shooting of rockets at Israeli civilians, had no answer but to reiterate, over and over again, like a broken record: “Killing women and children is just plain wrong. It’s wrong.”
      So, according to him (and, apparently, you too) – Israel should, instead, have allowed Hamas to keep shooting rockets at Israeli women and children.

      • Mary says:

        As you have comment moderation and you implied you would reject Musi if she or she made similar comments then you do not believe in totally free speech,, so it seems

      • So far, I haven’t actually banned anyone.
        There is a difference between Musi’s remark and Lindsey’s remark. Lindsey voiced a political opinion, which some people might find objectionable. Musi, however, countered that with an insulting remark about all Irish people, simply because he disagreed with Lindsey’s point of view. If he had chosen to say “You must be stupid for having such an opinion”, I would not have had any problem with that. To say to someone that her views are stupid because she is Irish is racist and will not be tolerated.
        Even free speech has its limitations.

  5. Rick Bailey says:

    I am so sorry. Though I am overwhelmed at the loss of innocent life in Gaza, the alternative seems to be to tolerate the loss of innocent life in Israel, and that without defensive action. Gazans certainly are to be pitied, but their anger is misplaced. The “heroic jihadists” of Hamas throw the lives of their own people away like empty shell casings – just another weapon in their irrational war.

  6. Mary says:

    I think you mean “even free speech has its limits” Shimona,above..grammatically correct
    I agree judgment is needed and it’s not always clear what is a contribution and what is an attempt to hurt people deliberately…especially right now

    • Not, strictly speaking, a grammatical error, Mary, but you are right, that was what I meant. That will teach me not to blog with one eye and both ears on the television news 😉

      Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to point out my mistake.

      In return, permit me to point out that “grammatically correct I agree judgment is needed and it’s not always clear what is a contribution and what is an attempt to hurt people deliberately…especially right now” appears to be missing some punctuation.

    • Soha says:

      between the lines is that we must abondon our galut minealtty of even looking to what the reaction will be and get on with our own lives. this evil that no one in Europe or the USA or the rest of the world wants to stand up to, must be stopped. once again, as you say between the lines, it is up to us. it will lift our spirits not because of killing but because justice justice justice must be done and we are always the agents/fall guys to stand up against evil. to me that is what never again means. i truly have enjoyed from the outset what you say through your cartoons and what you write. kol hakavod

  7. Shimona…you have our utmost respect and loving kindness toward you and yours. xxoo

  8. Mary says:

    Perhaps I am lacking in intelligence but the comment that 1400 dead is not enough is so morally bad it far outweighs the comment that Irish people are stupid in wickedness.Anyway it’s now 1900 and since Gazan civilians have no escape route the newspapers here are comparing it to bombing a prison…I believe even normally the amount of food allowed in is only just enough for survival.. it’s calorie counted
    I am unsure where Israelis would like the people of Gaza to go to,also the Arabs on the West Bank.. do you wish them to go to Jordan?I can’t see what the solution is,if any.Egypt won’r take then and Jordan has 1 million refugees from Syria and Iraq now
    ISIS are only 100 miles from Israel…. hope you have enough weapons for defeating them if they come down to you… to me that is really a frightening prospect given I have friends in Israel and also many Jewish friends here.We need some astute political thinking as catastrophe overtakes Iraq and will spread very probably…

    • If you are trying to say that although Israel has issued warnings to non-combatants to leave areas slated for bombing, there is nowhere to go – you are mistaken. There is, in fact, quite a lot of open space in Gaza (from which the Hamas terrorists could easily have fired their rockets, had they wished to reduce civilian casualties). See this chastening article by Alan Dershowitz, for example:

      “I believe even normally the amount of food allowed in is only just enough for survival.. ”
      Your belief is mistaken.

      “We need some astute political thinking”
      Well, what would you suggest?

  9. johncoyote says:

    Old hate become new hate. Time to stop the expansion and open the doors to peace. Israel had fought to be free. Freedom isn’t becoming a murderer. I love all people. I’m 1/2 Ojibwa and I believe one planet and one people. If we don’t get along. We will find the final ending. All of us dead one day for what. Will Israel win then? Do you want your child to die and fight for a piece of land? We are one people and one land. Every child is a light needing to be allow to grow and shine. Arab or Jew. I hope we want our children to sleep without fear, Support killing. You become the killer too.

    • That all sounds very nice and Utopian, but it fails to take into account several important points.
      1)Israel is not attempting to expand.
      2)Israel is not fighting for “a piece of land” but for her very existence as the Jewish Homeland and for the right of all Jews to live here.
      3)Hamas does not want peace with Israel and is not ready to reach any peace treaty which will allow the Jewish state to continue to exist. This is written in the Hamas Charter, which I suggest you read. In fact, Hamas calls for genocide of all Jews.
      So tell me, Johncoyote – how do you suggest making peace with people who do not want to make peace?

  10. Jaspreet says:

    If the US government had wanetd to share information with Israel, they would have done so. It was not Pollard’s job. On the other hand, Bush is allowing two US border control agents to rot in jail for actually doing their jobs, while a known Mexican drug smuggler was given a complete pass in exchange for testifying against them. That is a far greater mystery, for it seems the US, like Israel, is now letting third world countries dictate our domestic policies. I only wish WE still had the guts to launch military strikes against OUR unfriendly neighbor the way we did in the mid 19th and early 20th centuries.

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