Letters from Israel
A couple of days ago I wrote to our alums living in Israel. The message was, "Are you OK?". Elaine (Mandell) Barel, Class of 1960, sent the following to me. The letters below this one describe more of the horror.
Monday, April 15, 2002
Carol has asked me if I might want to update you on what is going on here in Israel. So by way of introduction, I grew up in Belle Harbor and have been here almost 40 years. My views tend to be liberal and left- just so you know where I am coming from.
I have lived with terror here for 40 years and yet I was totally unsettled by what happened in Belle Harbor this year. Shaken to the roots. I assume most of you felt that way too. Early in March this year I went back for a few days and walked the beach - still the best beach in the world- and saw the destruction and the miracle that it wasn't worse. The beach I walk in Tel Aviv takes me past a disco where over 20 young people were killed by a suicide bomber last year. I often think - this was as far as we can get from infringing on anyone else's property - the beach - next stop the Mediterranean and in Tel Aviv - a city totally built by Israeli Jews.
Back to Israel where the terror has permeated every aspect of our lives. I pass a nursery school in the middle of Tel Aviv and it has iron bars on it. There is a security man behind the bars because someone wants to hurt these little children. I went to the supermarket today and thought about the best cashier to go to - for safety. Many people no longer go to supermarkets. I no longer go to the vegetable market. Malls, movies concerts and theaters are big dilemmas.
Tonight is Memorial Day eve here, followed by Independence Day. We are on high alert for suicide attacks for these coming days. The saddest of all is that we have been warned about memorial services at gravesites.
So we continue to live with this terror- send our sons and grandsons where our husbands and fathers have gone before and where we had so believed they would never have to go. For now we see no change and we no longer believe in cease fire via Arafat.
Israelis do not understand how America can go and bomb Afghanistan villages and towns to wipe out terrorist living so far from them and not understand why we have to wipe out terrorists living right next to us. I am not turning a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinian people. I feel for them and wish things could be different. And contrary to public knowledge, we do try to provide food and service. 72 children have had heart surgery here since the beginning of this Intifada. There have been several bone marrow transplants since the recent troubles. Jordanian helicopters landed in Israeli bases full of medical supplies and food for the Palestinians and all was delivered. Unfortunately, the Red Cross often uses their access to transfer weapons. Families receive US$2,000 for children wounded by throwing stones. And you all have heard of the 25,000 dollars supplied by Iraq to any family who has a suicide bomber. Something is wrong here.
But something is wrong when for over 40 years people are kept in refugee camps with no help from other nations to change their way of life. Israel tried and in some instances, in Gaza, (pre peace talks and Arafat) camps were demolished and proper housing was built. But there has been resistance to this in most places.
Something is wrong when you make peace but continue to teach your children in schools that Israel is an enemy and must not be allowed to exist.
Something is wrong when you try to make peace and the PA receives billions from the European community and the only change is Arafat's Swiss bank account and the stock pile of weapons.
There just must be a change - no only in Arafat but in a whole attitude and that will take very long now.
And so that is how we are living now.....
Elaine (Mandell) Barel
Wednesday, April 15, 2002
Jenin - a truer tale
So the news of Jenin is finally coming out - I have been at the TV from 5-9 mostly on, a little off.
Some of the facts as NOT seen on CNN:
The refugee camp in Jenin was mostly emptied of civilians before the Israelis entered. (This was done by the terrorists).
Several people were used by the terrorists as shields - including 2 elderly woman who came through unscathed.
Most of the buildings were wired by the terrorists.
Most of the pictures of the destroyed area you are seeing is the area where 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in a mined house - several other buildings were demolished in order to remove the bodies.
Over 50% of the suicide attacks on Israel were carried out by people who came out of Jenin.
There are civilian causalities - so far 36 - and most of these males and still not determined if they were terrorists. CNN and others reported hundreds.
Israel requested that the Red Cross and Palestinians medical services assist them in finding and burying bodies. The Red Cross denies this. They also deny that their ambulances have been used for transporting weapons and suicide bombs. The head of the Red Cross here is a Frenchman, I believe.
Both our newsmen and other neutral figures admitted today of not seeing any bodies during a view of Jenin. The Palestinians interviewed did not directly see anyone killed and only one of them could point to some bodies.
The delay in burial results from the fear that the bodies are wired and have to be checked out slowly and carefully.
So much for the Jenin massacre, I truly hope.
Nothing has come from the Powell meetings as far as we can see. We are hoping that later today the captive priests in the Church of the Nativity will be freed. And when the terrorists give up, the true story there will come out. So far we have pictures from several churches - full of weapons and wired. We are not doing anything there until we hear from the Vatican - the buildings are so old that there is fear they might fall if anything goes wrong with the dismantling.
The streets are still full of bombs, under cars and in corners and especially any place considered a holy site.
So that's it for today.
Love you all.
Wednesday April 10, 2002
Yesterday was Yom Hashoar. Holocaust Day. It began here the preceding evening when, as always on this day, business and places of entertainment - restaurants, movies, theater, pubs, coffee shops, etc. closed for a night of mourning. This year there was not much a marked difference in the emptiness of the evening and night since most of the population is house-bound due to war. At home, we have only Holocaust related items on television- this year I chose to watch the new Anne Frank movie that some of you may have seen. I watched it because YAel's (my partner) daughter asked me to - her grandmother was on the third bench from Anne Frank when she died two weeks before they were freed. Her grandmother, herself, was on a pile of bodies when an American soldier stopped to look at them and suddenly noticed that she was still alive and thus she was saved. I write this not to add another Holocaust story but to emphasize the Holocaust because it is not over. Not in Europe.
I am quite sure that you all are not getting everything that is coming out of Europe - especially France and Belgium - but there is such hatred and so many physical attacks on Jewish synagogues, kosher butchers, etc. not to mention the verbal attacks on Jews in general and Israel in particular. Some of this has spread over to The United States and I fear there will be more than you can imagine just now. Now it is centralized on Israel and on the outside is almost wholly Arabic backed. But beware and don't say it can't happen here. It can.
And why am I writing the above at 7:30 am with the news in the background informing me of yet another suicide attack - a bus this time -so far at least 8 dead and more than 20 wounded - I am writing all of this to tell you that the existence of Israel is a necessity for the Jewish people. We really don't have a choice other than this country being here. We don't have some 15 other countries with Jewish ethnic majorities or more where Jewish religious beliefs are dominant. No, we only have Israel. (“that shitty little country,” as described by Daniel Bernard, the French ambassador to the UN).
Since we only have Israel and since Arafat and other militants decided almost 2 years ago not to make peace with us, we have been searching. It may take us some time but in the end we will find the way to protect ourselves and preserve, as best we can, the rights of the Palestinians. (Did you all know that the Palestinians, as a political entity, did not really come into existence until 1967. Before the joint Arab attack on Israel in June of 1967, "Palestine" was a part of Jordan and Egypt. When we made peace with Egypt, they refused to take Gaza back. They went to international court with us over one kilometer of land adjacent to Elat in the Sinai, but Gaza they did not want.}
Right now we are trying to protect ourselves from suicide bombings and shootings so we went to war. The most difficult fighting has been in Jenin. Jenin is where most of the suiciders came from. There is a refugee camp there that is full of willing suicide bombers. (By the way, what is a refugee camp - it is from 1948 when the Arabs fled Israel; temporarily, they thought, until the Jews were slaughtered. Sorry, we did not accommodate.
It was continually propagated through the years, receiving aid from the UN (no one died from 1948-1967 - amazing) not being absorbed into any Arab society, and finally becoming what it is today. We have replaced several of them but not all...to our detriment. The Arabs, of course, preferred it this way. NOT the people, the leadership.}
Okay, so here we are in Jenin where we know the fighting will be fierce because there are 100's of suiciders there who are willing to die anyway. Also, as in the rest of the West Bank area, Arafat has instructed them not to surrender at any costs. (Can you figure that out - is it that he just doesn't want any more proof of the amount of weapons they have and the connection to him). What does that “shitty little country” do? Bomb all of the buildings by air and then go in? That is what America did - in both the Gulf and Afghanistan. But we think- this is a highly populated area and the civilian population will get hurt. So no, we won't bomb first - only if we know a house or area is clear of civilians. Tough in a refugee camp. So the soldiers went to their deaths and injuries by working their way down these tiny streets and working house to house to see where there were terrorists. The houses surrounding them were wired and as soon as they were in a small area the bombs were set off and the buildings came down on them.
Of course the civilians would not or could not come out voluntarily - that would be against Arafat. So we lost 22 boys in one day and have many more wounded (sometime I will tell you what wounded means here). The fighting is not yet over in this sector but close to it. There are, unfortunately, Palestinian civilians killed and wounded as well. There are many more terrorists killed and wounded. The Palestinians are not burying their dead but holding them for one last massive attack against Israel - a media attack. You will be seeing the bodies. You will be seeing the devastation that has occurred in Jenin and Nabulus. You will wonder - was it all necessary?
I can only say two things. First of all, they could have surrendered. It is not like anyone had any doubts about the outcome. Arafat prevented that. Secondly, all of the above with the reminder that we are still trying to find our way to live in peace. The attack this morning on the packed bus going from Haifa to Jerusalem by a suicide bomber shows that we haven't found it yet. I would like to believe that the death of the youth of Israel is not in vain and that some deterrent will result from this action. But, if not, we will continue to search. We will have another leader and another policy as we have already had Rabin, Netanyahu, Barak, Sharon, all searching for peace in their own way. But will we have a partner? If four different approaches did not appeal to Arafat, will five? Will ten? I don't know. I do know we will keep searching. There is no choice for us.
Thanks for bearing with me - now I will go to work because that is what we do - go on.
Love to you all,
Ed. note: You can write to Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org
This next note is from Shaul (Steve) Ceder, Class of 1970, in Jerusalem:
Thank you for your message. We're all okay here. Even though we were a bit close to a couple of recent attacks. One of them was a couple of bus stops away in our neighborhood (bordering an Arab neighborhood - Mayor Olmert put up a fence there a week later). The second time, I was lunching with some co-workers in a fast food place opposite the main post office in Jerusalem, when we heard the explosion several blocks away and within half a minute there were police, ambulances, etc. all over the place. Of course I borrowed a co-worker's cell phone and phoned Aviva immediately to let her know I was all right. Anyway it's late now and I've got to get a decent night's sleep.
Ed. note: You can write to Shaul and Aviva at email@example.com
Another alum, Dr. Stephen Berger, Class of 1960, writes from the Tel Aviv area:
Thanks for the kind words.
Things over here are amazingly tense and depressing, as you can imagine. My daughter is in the Army - her base was attacked twice. The last attack came on a day that she had been scheduled to guard the front gate. As it turned out, she was not there at the time - took off the day to attend the funeral of her commander, killed the day before. My son is trying his best to finish University (International Relations and Computers - double major at Hebrew University) - but keeps being called up for Reserve duty. I've begun to hate the telephone and lunge for the radio every morning to hear, "How many Jews were killed last night?" and "Who's selling us out today?"
Thanks for getting in touch.
Ed. note: If you'd like to get in touch with Steve, his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is from Sharon (Tepper) Gefen, Class of 1968, also in Tel Aviv:
Thanks for your kind words. We are living every day and try to go on with our daily lives. We are absolutely addicted to the news -- both Israeli and CNN, BBC and whatever else we have here. Its very disturbing to see the way Israel is portrayed. I choose to believe our spokesmen and I am convinced that the Palestinian side is cynically using the loss of lives of innocent people on their side in order to portray themselves as being persecuted. They drew Israel into this war knowingly and by using the strategy of terror. But the entire world, including the US, seems to be taken in. Its not that they don't have rights. They deserve their own state, just not to take ours away. And we feel now that for us this is a war for the homeland. I do believe that at the conclusion of this very difficult period there must come a time when we will be able to make peace with them and the rest of the Arab world. It will take time, though.
Life here is fraught with lots of trepidation. Today is Yom Hazikaron -- Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers and those killed in terror attacks. Tonight is the start of Yom Ha'atzmaut -- Israel Independence Day. We are being warned that the Palestinians are very motivated to attack today, tonight and tomorrow, especially during the remembrance ceremonies at the military cemeteries and at the Independence Day celebrations. Many of the cities have cancelled the public celebrations, due to the security situation, and also because they feel this is not a time to celebrate as we are mourning our dead and our boys are still fighting.
My son, Adam, is 18 and has just gone into the army. He is in basic training in an anti-aircraft unit. He is meant to man a very large gun which is now in use on the West Bank, and there are others of this type on the border with Lebanon. When he finishes his training in a few months, the way things look, he will be in battle. It's really hard for me as a mother, yet as a citizen of Israel I recognize the importance of defending this country.
I was in New York two weeks after the horrible terror attack on the WTC. I felt and still feel tremendous sadness and I am distraught over the thought that the greatest power in the world can be so powerfully hurt by terrorists who planned this attack in a cave in the desert of Afghanistan. Since then I realize that this is a different world than the one I believed in as a young woman. I was idealistic, a product of the anti-war movement on campuses in the late 1960's. But I now realize that we can be peace seeking, but the other side is setting the rules and, unfortunately, there are those who understand nothing other than force.
We hope this holiday, and the next few weeks and months, will pass without further terror attacks. But we are never surprised when they happen. Only very saddened, terribly terribly saddened.
Sharon (Tepper) Gefen
Ed. note: You can get in touch with Sharon at email@example.com
This next letter is from Beth (Hamberger) Chodoff, Class of 1974:
Thanks for your inquiry. We are doing fine where we live. We live in a small community in the northern part of the country (the Galil). It's called Eshchar and we have 75 families. We are part of a bigger region called Misgav. Misgav is the regional center for about 25 small communities. There is a really wonderful school there. The elementary school and the high school are on one big campus. I really do mean campus. There is a park, a pool, a gym, a library and a sports center with outdoor playing fields and tennis courts. Things are fairly quiet where I live. I just hope it stays that way. We are South of the city of Karmiel and North of an Arab village called Sachnin. We have a fairly good relationship with Sachnin, if not socially, then definitely business-wise.
I can't tell you that it is not a little bit nerve-racking at times to be here. My son is in the army for his regular army service and my husband just got called up for reserve duty. I am sometimes not sure which is more scary; the fact that my son is in the army or the fact that he has to travel on public transportation to come home. He does get to come home fairly often, which is a good thing.
My husband is a lecturer and a tour guide. He also teaches at Haifa University. He has a web site called Mideast: On Target in which he and his partner gives daily commentary on what is happening here. You can check it out the address is on the bottom of the page.
I must tell you that your the Far Rockaway site is wonderful. I have found a lot of my long lost friends through the site. I found someone whom I had been looking for for almost 15 years. Thank you for putting the site together. The Rockaways were a wonderful place to grow up and Far Rockaway High School was a great school.
Thanks once again for your concern.
Ed. note: You can contact Beth at Ellis@Netvision.net.il
Linda Haas-Shapira is a graduate of the Class of 1968, lives in Jerusalem and is a TV producer. She writes:
It's extremely difficult to convey to you what we are going through on a daily basis. We live our lives "as usual", but when I kiss the kids good bye in the morning I always have wonder in the back of my mind if I will see them again in the evening. Both my girls are in the army and I am grateful that they are safe on base. It's their coming and going that make me hold my breath. We still go to malls and movies because we won't stop living under the threat of terrorists. But it's like waiting for the other shoe to fall...when will it happen to us?
My thoughts swing drastically from one day, when I think we should send our tanks in and blast their lairs of terrorism them until nothing remains, to the next day when I blame us and say we should never have done this and ask if it will help in the long run - I doubt it. The consensus here is that we need to separate the two peoples. Put up a wall? I didn't move to Israel to live behind a ghetto wall and we won't go away (neither will they, for that matter). Truth is they want us gone...or dead. Why do they put their faith in a leader who hasn't done one productive thing for his people in all these decades? Where is their voice of reason?
I wish we could just give them a state and never have to deal with them again but I know the problem won't go away so easily.
The virulent anti-Semitism world over is scary and if only the Jews would realize the real sentiment as not only anti Israel but anti-Jewish. At a lecture on Holocaust Day I heard a survivor saying that this is all so reminiscent of the 1930's, the Jews sitting back complacently and not believing that it will hit them. Even the Jews in France (yes, those wonderful people who gave us the Vicchy government). I hope we as a nation will be able to stand up and defend ourselves The pro-Palestinian protests are frightening and they are all over the world.
Today is Remembrance Day in Israel. Everyone here knows/is related to/works with someone who has been killed or struck by violence. Everyone. The memorial siren sounded a few minutes ago and the whole country stood still and prayed.
Linda Haas-Shapira, Jerusalem
Ed. note: You can contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org
This response is from Leslie Banks-Sills, Class of 1961, an Engineering Professor at Tel Aviv University:
It is so kind of you to inquire regarding our situation. As you can gather from the news, the situation is quite difficult. Right now, there is a feeling of perhaps a little more personal safety, although that was shattered by a suicide or homicide bomber last Friday in Jerusalem. One of our soldiers that fell in the West Bank two weeks ago was a fourth year student, whom I knew rather well. His wife is also a fourth year student. Since it was Memorial Day yesterday for our fallen soldiers, she, her family and his family were at a memorial service at the Faculty of Engineering. Seeing them is seeing a microcosm of our society. So many soldiers have fallen. They are fathers, sons and husbands. Then one sees on CNN how the world condemns us. Rula Amin stands in Jenin and talks about a massacre. Twenty-three soldiers died in order that there would not be a massacre.
We could have easily carpet-bombed the area to rid ourselves of the terrorists who infested the town. But that would have resulted in many civilian casualties. So instead our fathers, sons and husbands were sacrificed. But the world goes on criticizing us. Now, and last week, Bush is pressuring us to leave the West Bank for his own, and America's own, interests. I can understand that. But I do not want to go to the supermarket and face a homicide bomber again. I want the government and military of Israel, to destroy the terrorist infrastructure, as much as possible. I just saw on the internet that Hamas is appealing for money for weapons. I hope that means that they are losing the capability to hurt us.
Thank you for asking.
With best wishes...
P.S. I thought the following might be interesting.
The following was written by Yosi Lapid four years ago at the time of Israel's golden anniversary. At that time, he was an editorial writer for Ma'ariv, one of Iarael's largest daily newspapers. He is now a member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, and leader of the Shinui party, whose platform emphasizes a blueprint for reducing the disproportionate influence of the religious establishment. The essay was published with the headline "To my candid, envious friend."
The Independence Day edition of Tel Aviv's local weekly Ha'ir ran an article by the Palesltinian-Israeli writer Anton Shamas, penned with is usual fluency. "Ladies and gentlemen," he wrote, "the time has come on this festive day, to admit with complete candor, without shame or downcast eyes, that the whole business has turned out badly.
The Zionist adventure has been a total failure."
It's a good thing Shamas came out and said it. Because an article like this, by an authoritative Arab intellectual, is a fine opportunity to express a few truths one hesitates to voice without a suitable pretext. Shamas, my friend: Zionism is the greatest success story of the 20th century. Fifty years after the defeat of Hitler and the mufti of Jerusalem, Zionism is thriving in the heart of the Middle East, in a state of 4.5 million Jews - Jews whose survival was, for a moment, in doubt.
The Hebrew language (one of Zionism's wonders) has bonded sabras (native-born) and refugees from the camps, Sephardim and Oriental Jews. Within half a century, the Zionists, starting with almost nothing, have forged a state which launches its own space satellites and provides the US Navy with pilotless drones. It exports sophisticated computer programs and teaches Latin Americans how to grow melons. Every month this state exports goods worth a billion dollars and more to Western Europe, the US and even Japan; it has an exemplary democracy, one in which cabinet ministers fear the state comptroller, and judges fear only God.
This state has produced an army deemed one of the world's best; there is little violent crime, and many fine concerts. People of all religions enjoy freedom of worship, and non-believers are welcome too. Ten percent of the country's citizens are new immigrants; and 89 percent think that, despite all the hardships, it's a good place to live in. This is a state in which an Anton Shamas is free, on a national holiday, to publish a virulent attack on everything that the Jews living in the state hold dear. Shamas might be able to forgive us for all this, perhaps. But what he cannot bear is the fact that, held up in the light of Zionism's achievements, the Arabs' failure appears so humiliating and depressing. How many Palestinians are there, my friend? One million - two, three? And how many Arab states are there around you? Twenty? Twenty countries of kings and dictators, of terror and bloodshed. There isn't a single Arab democracy, one with freedom of expression and civil rights. You talk about the failure of the State of Israel. Compared to what? Algeria? Egypt? Iraq? How many Arabs live between the Atlantic Ocean and the Persian Gulf? A hundred million? Two hundred million? And how many Moslems are there? A billion? All of them pray to the same Allah, in the name of the same prophet, Mohammed. And all of them together can't solve Gaza's sewage problem. For 47 years you've been preparing for Palestinian independence, and yet you're still not collecting the garbage in Jericho. With all the oil in the world, you can't muster the Arab brotherhood to build a hospital in Deir el-Ballah. And all the gold faucets in Saudi Arabia and all the jacuzzis in Kuwait aren't enough to provide clean drinking water for Jabalya.
When all is said and done, my friend, you know very well that if almost a million Jews lived in Gaza, surrounded by 20 Jewish states, Jewish Gaza would be paradise on earth. Palestinian laborers would be lining up at the Erez border crossing facing the other way to get work in Gaza. If there were a billion believing Jews in the world, Gaza's Jews wouldn't need handouts from the UN; the world's Jews would have taken care of Gaza's Jews, and they would long since have converted Gaza into the pearl of the Mediterranean. You know all this, Anton Shamas, and that's what's eating you. Envy has led you into irrationality. Thus the time has come, with complete candor, without shame or downcast eyes, to conclude: It hasn't worked out, this whole business: The Palestinian adventure has been a total failure.
Ed. note: You can contact Leslie at email@example.com
This was received on 4/22 from Murray Greenfield, Class of 1944.
To try and put you in the picture; Our daughter and husband live in Gilo which was under intermittent attack from the neighbors living in Bethlehem. Not a pleasant situation. They try to lead normal lives. Our daughter teaches in a Gilo grammar school and bullets did penetrate the windows.
Our son and his wife and four children live in Kfar Adumim, just outside Jerusalem on the other side (North East). They travel to work in Jerusalem every day. Terrorists have been stopped trying to enter Jerusalem.
It is a little too interesting life, but we still hope for a partner for peace.
Ed. note: Murray can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
I received this very moving letter yesterday, May 18, from Alyne (Glazer) Bat Haim, Class of 1959, who lives in Tel Aviv:
I really appreciate your e-mail and apologize for my taking such a long time to answer.
I returned from a trip abroad on April 11 and still haven't gotten done everything I need to. Being away for a month, I was able to get a much needed respite from the tension of life here; on the other hand, you can never get so far away that you don't hear the news, and during my vacation the news here was, as you well know, horrendous.
There are many levels to life here, and I speak from a prejudiced point of view because my life in Israel since I arrived in 1964 has been a fascinating, intense, passionate journey. It is very dangerous to live here now and this is the country in the world that I love the most and I feel blessed, as a secular Jew, to be a part of the growth of the Jewish homeland.
My neighborhood in Tel Aviv is a charming, historical area, the first Jewish settlement built outside the walls of Jaffa in the 1880s, before Tel Aviv was begun in 1909. It has been partially renovated and now is an interesting mixture of people of different ages, cultures, socio-economic levels. Within the neighborhood, with its small shops and restaurants, there is no sense of fear but the sadness and sense of hopelessness over the situation is deeply felt. It is still fortunately characterized by a sense of neighborliness which has been disappearing from many places in Israel.
The real tension exists in large public places, like in the nearby outdoor market or the closer you get to the center of the city. Long ago we became accustomed to soldiers everywhere; now we've grown accustomed to a security guard stationed wherever there are groups of people. And you know that at any moment, even the most apparently safe, you may be blown up. The fragility of life makes us profoundly appreciate every moment we are alive.
Living here means working to keep balanced while your life is constantly being threatened, while the situation seems so hopeless, while so many of your countrypeople disagree with your politics, while the government is bumbling and insensitive to the terrible toll on people's values that the occupation of the territories has taken, while every aspect of life has been hurt by the situation while we are faced with "our cousins," the Palestinians, whose conduct of their lives outweighs ours in brutality and stupidity
And so I work as a psychotherapist which I love, and I do volunteer work and I make my opinions known and I walk on the beach and swim in the sea early each morning and I make sure that every aspect of my life reflects the values that I believe in. And I love my family and friends.
And I keep a tiny spark of hope alive within that one day in my lifetime we and our cousins the Palestinians will indeed be sitting peacefully together recognizing that working together, Israel and Palestine could be among the most wonderful countries in the world.
It's strange to think that not only do I not know whether I will live to experience that, but that I don't know whether I will even live until tomorrow.
Thank you again for writing.
All the best,
Ed. note: Alyne can be e-mailed at email@example.com
I received this on May 23 from Carol (Fuller) Gamson , Class of 1961:
It was so nice to get your e-mail. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I really appreciate your concern.
Life here is not easy right now. Besides worrying about our safety on a daily basis, the economy is so bad because of the Intifada that many people are out of work. We're not used to this kind of life. Thank God, we personally are fine. My family is ok, but there are those that are really struggling.
There is almost no day that goes by that someone is not hurt and injured in a bombing. When someone is willing to commit suicide in order to hurt innocent people, there is really nothing you can do; they know no limits.
Our business is incoming tourism from the United States on the highest level, that is Israeli Organizations with American Friends branches, their patrons and tourism that develops from this. It is one of the fields that was heavily hit. Our office had over 24 people at the beginning of the Intifada and now there are only 2 people working part time.
We pray for a change and can only hope that we will still be around when the comeback starts.
Now to you...we are concerned about you Americans too. My son Eli and his family live in Hewlett and he has a video company. He works for many of the news channels and he was at ground zero on 9/11 filming the story. We were very worried about him and now there is a new threat.
Take good care of yourselves and keep in touch.,
Happy Memorial Day to you all.
Ed. note: Carol can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following was received 9/15 from Linda Haas-Shapira, Class of 1968:
I would like to wish you and all the readers a happy and healthy New Year.
It's been quiet now for a while here in Israel and maybe that bodes good things to come.
We could all use a year of peace and non-violent resolution. Anything else is pure luxury.
Ed. note: You can contact Linda at email@example.com