This photo was taken in 1957 on the boat ‘Ermes’ upon our arrival in Haifa.
I participated in a free trip to Israel. The occasion for that trip was the opportunity for Egyptian Jews to escape from Nasser’s Egypt and make aliyah after the Suez Crisis.
We didn’t discuss Israel or other Jewish subjects with our Christian friends. It just didn’t happen. Not that we refused to talk, but they didn’t share the same interests with us.
Right from the beginning we have been following up the creation of the Israeli state, its actions and its evolution. We still are well informed of what is going on there.
I receive the informative newsletters of the community; it is part of our life. I am even a member of the summer camp committee at the community.
I hadn’t thought of aliyah since I had my parents. I wasn’t all alone in life as the others that went there to start a new life. I had my mother, my people, so why go there? The ones that left had lost everything.
They had returned from the concentration camps and went to Israel. There was an orphanage or something like that, where they were offered free housing and this organization was helping them to go to Israel.
In reality what they did was to help them get away, transport them and leave them at a shore in Israel because they were not permitted to enter the country legally, as it was under British occupation.
There were quite a number, that is, the survivors that left. Some distant relatives of mine went.
The place where they kept them was called ‘Hassara’ and we went there every weekend to sing for them and entertain them as they had lost their families and were very lonely.
I had an aunt who stayed there, in Israel, before the creation of the state, I had many relatives that went there, all very satisfied with their decision to go there.
If someone immigrates, say a Greek goes to Germany or Australia or Sweden trying to improve his life, he will always feel a foreigner.
When they left from here, they found a shelter there. And of course, it was the land of their forefathers.
The State of Israel was at that period in the making as it was bound to be. The ones that immigrated there didn’t go to a foreign place, what they really did was go back to their home,.
A home that had been occupied by others, but it was always their home, the land of their great-, great-grandfathers. That is where Israel started from.