My aunt was a victim of V2s last fatal strike

   Deadly rocket

Yoel Sheridan's article, when silent terror rained down from the skies (ESRAmagazine#180) corroborated the story I tell from time to time, about the Germans’ last vindictive V2 strike on London in March 1945.  We lived in Stepney, and the moment we heard the explosion, my mother sensed the direction, and said in a shaky voice, "My Esther". She grabbed me, coat over pyjamas, and we ran through the streets towards Hughes Mansions.  I had visited the building so many times to visit my dear,   sweet and funny Aunt Esther. As we approached, we could see the rubble and smoke and dust-covered survivors, who must have been passing by, as it had been a direct hit. And my aunt was among the 131 who perished.  

Linda Hermelin

Moshav Hadar-Am


Time to put a brake on these dangerous – and inconsiderate – bikers

Marian Lebor’s article "Blazing   saddles" (ESRAmagazine#181)   describes a risk for all of us without eyes in the backs of his head and ears as powerful as sonar equipment on a submarine.  The lack of consideration of bike riders, particularly those with electrical bicycles, is extraordinary. Not a   surprise.  What is a surprise is the ineffectiveness of many municipalities to do anything to solve the problem.   The lame statement that we are waiting for Jerusalem is unacceptable.   And if anything, the behavior of bike riders has become more brazen. The rationale that transportation on bikes is environmentally sound does not justify the high-risk behavior that we are witnessing.   Since many of ESRA’s members are at risk, we must organize an effort and presentation to the upscale communities where many of us live in order to correct the situation and not have to wait until someone else is injured seriously or killed.   Let’s form a committee to put a presentation together and insist on meetings with the maAyors of the communities where we live.    

Stephen Jerome Kohn   

Raanana   Tel: 054 674 9957


When it comes to densely populated try Singapore or Hong Kong – not Gaza

I read that fascinating and illuminating article, a veritable travel guide of the Western Negev by Lydia Aisenberg. However, I was very disappointed to see that it included a reference to the claim that Gaza is "the most densely populated place on earth …” This so-called fact is easily refuted, as a quick Internet search reveals. Singapore and Hong Kong are both far more densely populated than Gaza.

The repetition of this claim gives support to Palestinian self-victimization and is often cited as an indictment of Israel, despite the total withdrawal in 2005.

Ramon Kirshner



A warm welcome awaits you here

We refer to an article by Marsha Stein (ESRAmagazine # 170) about the Christian community and their enterprises in Zichron Yaakov.  During a recent contact, we were asked to bring more visitors. Visitors will not be disappointed as a warm welcome       awaits.  Advance booking is essential.  With this in mind, we are inviting ESRA Chapter chairpersons to be in touch with us.         

Cynthia and Raymond Selwyn       

Kfar Yedidiya 09 834 4532; 052 515 1747                    


Good-as-New Computers for a song

From Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, Fixit Computer Labs are offering repairs at NIS 20 per visit, or good-as-new refurbished computers priced at NIS 200-400, including legal Windows & Office programs and a one-year warranty (applications for a free computer will also be considered).

This is a joint project of Fixit, Applesdeeds Academy, Intel, Microsoft, and Net@, with support from CISCO, Bezeq, Keren HaYesod and The Jewish Agency.

List of branches, application form, donations etc. in Hebrew at:

Siri Jones-Rosen



ESRA trip to Sarona

After reading the latest and interesting edition of  ESRAmagazine No. 181, I found a  mistake in the article "Sarona: A trip into the past". It mentions that Sarona was founded by the Templars - it should have been Templers. The difference between the two societies are: the letters "a" and "e" and 800 years.

The Templars were founded by a group of eight knights led by Hugh de Payens from Champagne, who approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem in 1118 with the idea of protecting pilgrims in the Holy Land. They were assigned a property on the Temple Mount and became known as the TEMPLARS.

The Templer movement was founded by Chistoph Hoffman and Georg David Hardegg in Ludwisburg, a city in Baden-Wuttenburg in 1861. The Templers (German: Tempelgesellschaft ) were a Protestant group that wanted to advance the rebuilding of the Temple in the Holy Land. Their first acquisition was land in Haifa in 1868 (known today as the German Colony), and in August 1871 Sarona was founded as an agricultural settlement.

It is interesting to note that during the Great War, in July and August 1918, the British sent 850 Templers to an internment camp at Helwan near Cairo. In April 1920, 350 of these internees were deported to Germany.

The Templers became affiliated with the Third Reich, and in 1939 at the start of the Second World War, the British authorities declared them enemy nationals, placed them under arrest and deported many of them to Australia.

R. Froumin, M.A.



Ireland could have been the perfect place for the Jews

Re your correspondence on ‘when Irish eyes smiled on the country’s ‘secret Jews’ ESRAmagazine#181).

The Jews of Ireland were most likely not covered by the 1290 expulsion order from England, for two reasons: 1) The King of England, as Lord (not king) of Ireland, and the English government, ruled only the immediate area around Dublin -  they did not control any other part of the island prior to the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547); 2) England never applied its laws and decrees outside England itself unless a specific external territory was mentioned in an Act of Parliament or decree. Even Wales retained a completely separate system of law and administration until the formal constitutional annexation of Wales during the reign of Henry VIII (accomplished in two steps, in 1535 and 1542). England has always been disinclined to care about anywhere else but England which partly explains why they had a referendum on independence in Scotland last year. So it's highly likely that Ireland was one of the places to which English Jews fled in 1290. (Scotland certainly was!)

Once the Jews were out of England, the English would not have cared where we were as long as we did not pose any potential threat to them. Thus, Ireland would have been a perfect place for Jews fleeing England because, as noted, English rule in Ireland never extended beyond Dublin - the English just did not settle there -before Henry VIII named himself King of Ireland in 1542, by which time Ireland had its own Parliament, fully independent of the English Parliament.

It was not until the union of 1801 that the whole of Ireland came under control from London, with the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland - and that lasted barely more than a century. So when the Jews were expelled from England in 1290, Ireland was very likely one of the places to which we went (though Scotland and France were closer). And even if the English had bothered to come after us, which they never did, we could simply have moved beyond the Pale of English Settlement (i.e. the Dublin area), where the English never went and where there were plenty of native Gaelic Irish who would have been more than happy to lend a hand to anyone fleeing from "na Sasanaigh".

Micheal McLoughlin



What a great issue! A pleasure to read

I have just finished reading the new magazine #181 and wanted to tell you, Merle, how great it is. This is an outstanding issue full of great stories, articles and photos. Well done. It's a pleasure to read.

May you continue to produce this outstanding magazine!

Meira Applebaum

Tel Mond


Name correction

The author of an obituary to the late David Golding which appeared in ESRAmagazine#181 was Hanan Baradon, and not as printed. Our apologies for the error.


Clashes highlight other prejudices that permeate Israeli society

Ethiopian flashpoint in Tel Aviv  Photo: Harvey Sapir Photography PikWiki Israel

In  response to the two “Flashpoint Israel” articles by Carl Hoffman (Issue 181), I found Mr. Hoffman’s “comments” very interesting, and I agree with much of his thinking.

However, watching the video of Damas Pakada’s police brutality beating several times, there seems to be a number of unknowns that present serious questions. Clearly the police were blocking the way and would not let Pakada, or anybody else, pass; apparently some suspicious object was reported. Yet there seems to have been some exchange of words after the policeman pushed Pakada’s bicycle further back. Why would the police suddenly lunge at a man standing with his bicycle when asked to step back? But then why was it necessary for two policemen to rush in and attack Damas Pakada? The attack seems overly brutal. Then after Pakada, without his bicycle, stepped back away from the policemen into an alley, why would he pick up a rock and threaten two already “hot” and probably stressed policemen? And why did it now take three policemen to “subdue” Mr. Pakada? Damas Pakada was talking on his mobile phone while the officer first asked him to move back.

I have learned in my years that when speaking with a policeman, one should give him full attention. Because of the nature of their demanding and frequently tense work, police tend to be somewhat paranoiac (this is a universal issue). Since this was a “silent movie”, we could not hear the exchange of words between Damas Pakada and the policemen; we do not actually know what provoked the officers to suddenly attack Damas. The general behavior, on both sides, seems strange. I am not convinced that the brutal attack onMr. Pakada was not provoked by him. The video does not give us enough details to judge, but to reiterate - picking up a rock against armed and trained policemen is not the best way to receive non-violent treatment.

I certainly agree with Mr. Hoffman that Ethiopians should have equal opportunities in Israel. However, in my opinion, Mr. Hoffman did not attempt fair reporting. He should have also interviewed the policemen involved, or at least spoken with a representative of the police station where this incident took place. For Mr. Hoffman’s opinions to have any real credence, he should have included something of significance from the police concerning this incident.

It seems that in many ways, Israel is losing out by not smoothly integrating newcomers, such as the Ethiopians, into our society. Israel has a clear history of not accepting new populations into the general cultural milieu. Prejudices abound throughout our culture. This is a tragedy for Israeli society. What a truly wonderful country this could be if we were to accept the stranger in our midst. Accept them and not melt them into some preconceived bland broth, but add the spice of new cultures to the wonderful “meal” called Israel. This is true of nearly all new populations entering into the Israeli society, except perhaps from English speaking countries, as we are so few.

I certainly condemn the excessive violence shown in the video, but in fairness we also need to know what provoked the policemen to respond so harshly. Yes, I agree with “David”, Ethiopians should be completely accepted into Israeli society and culture. His statement is powerful and important. How do we judge ourselves when we pay lip service against prejudices, but very little is actually done to eradicate them? Do we constantly need to remind ourselves where we came from? I guess so.

Melvin Farris

Kfar Saba

I was dogged by problems when making aliyah

Reunited ... Martia Katz and her dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

I recently made aliyah from London UK and my dog sadly had to be left behind. I had made arrangements but was misled about the rabies vaccine and subsequent blood test that are mandatory for dogs to enter Israel. I had a company organizing things in the UK and my vet also misinformed me. When I went for my dog’s final check-up a few days before my flight I was told that there was no way the dog could leave with me. Luckily, my friend agreed to take care of the dog while we sorted out the problem. 

It was here in Israel that I found Mattan Gal:

Terminal 4 Pets
Pet Flight Coordinator
Office: 08 926 4554
IL: 1-800-220-555  ext.111             
USA: 1 (646) 452-9548 ext.111 
Or for USA.: 1-866-pet-2-fly
Mattan managed to get a waiver for my dog that allowed the import and export documents that were essential. He was wonderful and efficient and I am now three weeks later very happily reunited with my beloved dog. If you are thinking of bringing your animal to Israel, then I would not bother with any other company. This fellow is worth his weight in gold!

Martia Katz



I was surprised to find this flyer inside the magazine

I was surprised when opening the rosh Hashanah edition of ESRAmagazine delivered to our home to find inside a flyer in English promoting Yomim Noraim services being organized by a local community.  I do not previously recollect editions of the magazine containing flyers. Does this mean that the flyer was inserted without permission from, or indeed payment to, ESRA irrespective of my personal views on the grouping.

David Rose

Herzliya Pituach


ESRA Co-Chairperson Brenda Katten replies: It is the policy of ESRA to maintain its pluralistic position. We remain open to all irrespective of their political or religious beliefs. ESRA does not endorse, neither does it bear responsibility for advertisements and flyers that appear in ESRAmagazine.


Does this indicate that I am now an Israeli?
I MADe aliyah with my wife more than three years ago, and I now consider myself a proper Israeli because I no longer use the indicators when I’m driving our car!
Anthony Green


 An open letter to the Israel Broadcasting Authority from the ESRA Co-Chairperson

At a time when Israel needs to be heard, why have you silenced the TV News in English?

ESRA (English Speaking Residents Association) is the largest English speaking volunteer organization in Israel. As such we are appalled at the demise of the daily IBA News in English.  It has been a slow death with the letting go of excellent anchor presenters over the past two years. Initially Channel 1 showed a short bulletin at 4.50 pm which was followed at 5.00 pm with a 20 – 25 minute broadcast on Channel 33.

During the past two years we witnessed the end of the news in English on Channel 1 together with the Channel 33 showing being transferred from a reasonable time of 5.00 pm to a far less popular time of 4.00 pm. We watched as slowly but surely the best of the anchor men and women left the "sinking ship" persuaded, as they were, to take a redundancy offer rather than wait to be fired. At the moment of writing we are left only with a magazine program once a week which is being kept alive by a limited but dedicated tiny staff.

Our organization, representing thousands of English speakers, has been inundated with phone calls and emails from those who do not speak Hebrew well enough to understand the news in Hebrew.  These citizens have relied completely on the daily news bulletin in English.  Only in this way could they be informed as to what is happening here on a daily basis.

Putting aside the necessity of English speaking Olim being provided with a news program in English there are 83 Embassies based in Israel representing their respective countries.  English is an international language which means that the Ambassadors and Diplomats now have to rely on the likes of the BBC, CNN and others whose projection of Israel is frequently distorted at best and biased against Israel at worst.

At a time when the perception of Israel, worldwide, is at an all-time low surely this should be the moment to consider providing the world with an insight into the reality that is Israel.  Rather than eliminate the news in English we should be creating our own 24/7 "Al Jazeera" type channel beamed internationally.

However, for the time being, we urge you to reinstate immediately the daily News in English program which serves tens of thousands of viewers. We hope you will treat this matter with the urgency it deserves.

We look forward to hearing from you

Brenda Katten

Brenda Katten

Co-chairperson ESRA

0528 97 4000     


And here’s their positive response to our plea . . .

Thank you so much for your email. Indeed, the past year was a time of change in the IBA. We are well aware of the importance of the daily news bulletin to the English-speaking community in Israel.

The reason for the absence of this specific broadcast is due to manpower shortage in a few relevant fields. However, you may be pleased to know that we have taken measures to rectify the situation and we do expect that within a short period of time the daily news bulletin will be renewed.

Bari Bar-Zion

Special Manager, IBA


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