As Israel is once again in conflict with one of its near neighbours my mind goes back to frequent conversations I had with a Jewish friend.
For the sake of this piece his name is Daniel.
He grew up in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s and his parents sent him and his brother to safety in 1939. Neither of his parents survived the holocaust.
Daniel went to relations in Southern Africa. Eventually in the 1950s he came to Spain. He is trilingual speaking German, English and Spanish but with his heavy Germanic accent in tack.
His brother, who went to England, anglicised his name.
Daniel is proud of his German Jewish roots and refused to change anything.
To this day he is a practicing Jew.
However when the subject turns to the State of Israel his hackles rise. He is a proud Jew but wants nothing to do with the Jewish state. To him Israelis have learnt nothing from the history of the Jews. Or rather they have learnt too well the injustice handed out over the centuries and now exercise it over others.
When you hear an educated man speak of Nazi Germany and Israel in the same terms you have to listen. When that man fled the Nazi’s and his parents perished in the concentration camps you listen very carefully indeed.
I know that at this time, this man who has suffered more than most of us can comprehend, is in anguish yet one more time.
To him and all the people of the bitterly divided near East – Shalom!