Sunday, February 13, 2011

25 Years Since Natan Sharansky Returned Home

Don't forget Haveil Havalim at The Rebbitzin's Husband!
So where were you on February 11, 1986? Me? I was living on a farm in the Golan Heights raising 5 kids and wondering how it would all work out. I had been living in Israel almost twenty years. I'd seen the euphoria of the aftermath of the Six Day War turn into the pessimistic depression of the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. In 1975 we moved to Ramat Magshimim where all six of our kids were born.
The seventies ended with the upheaval caused by the Likud's Menachem Begin forming the first ever government not run by Labor. They made peace with Egypt and instituted far reaching economic changes. Our middlemost daughter (at the time our youngest) was a few months old when the whole moshav (or just about) went down to Yamit on Chanuka to express our solidarity with the settlers there on the eve of their eviction.   The twins were born the following year during the first Lebanon war which we called Shalom HaGalil (שלום הגליל) and it was meant to bring peace and quiet to the settlements along the northern border. By 1986 Peres (Labor again) was Prime Minister and Yitzhak Shamir was Foreign Minister. Inflation was rampant and we were in need of some good news.
In February 1986 the Kinar resort on the northeastern shore of the Kinnert was just being finished and had not yet opened for business. My older daughter (8 at the time) and her friend were taken down there one afternoon a few weeks after Sharansky came home and she was very excited when she came home because she and her friend had seen Natan and Avital walking along the beach. (She told me, they didn't go over to them because they knew that they needed to be alone together and it was a secret that they were there.) When she told me the story you could see that it was as if she had glimpsed the fairy princess and her prince charming. Such is the Zionist mythology. For us, this is our nobility.

An ironic footnote. Sharansky was released in exchange for two Russian spies handed over the US. It was about two and a half months after Jonathan Pollard and his wife were arrested. Pollard remains in jail in the US. 


SarainAkko said...

What an amazing memory to share with your daughter. I just reread a somewhat recent essay of his, "The Political Legacy of Theodor Herzl" in which he briefly describes the struggle of Soviet Jewry to find relevance in a narrative that continued while they were in stasis. What a profound reminder that there is a continuation of our legacy of Zionist heroes.

Leora said...

A friend just lent me a biography of Natan Sharansky. I look forward to reading it - thank you for telling your daughter's little tale. You have witnessed much history.

Batya said...

Great post Risa, I'm glad I got you to blog.
Winkie was among the last westerners to meet Sharansky in the FSU. We were on shlichut in London at the time. After he had been arrested, we took all the kids, then just the girls to demonstrate for his release.
Avital did an amazing job. Too bad Pollard isn't so blessed.

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