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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hate the Hatred: A Survivor’s Guide to Beating Terror

Kay.WilsonOut of millions of people in this world I find myself in an almost unique position. I know that unfathomable moment of knowing that I am about to be kidnapped. I know that unspeakable moment of that plan failing and instead having to come to terms with imminent execution. In this sense I know what these children went through. It is unadulterated, unspeakable terror. May these boys rest in peace, may God comfort those who mourn in Zion and may there be justice served.
(Israel advocate, Kay Wilson – writing the day following the discovery of the slain corpses of Israeli Orthodox teenage abductees, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah.

KAY WILSON became international news after surviving a brutal terror attack in Israel during which another woman died. It happened in December 2010 while Kay, a British-born Jew and Kristine Luken, her American Christian friend, were hiking in the Mata Forest outside Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem.

Kay had first visited Israel in her teens, making aliya (formally emigrating) in 1991 just as SCUD missiles began falling on Tel Aviv during the First Gulf War. But the experience did not faze her and she remained in Israel, going on to work variously as an illustrator and cartoonist, then a jazz pianist before becoming a tour guide, speaking in both Hebrew and English and specialising in providing Christian tourists with a greater understanding of the Christian Bible within the context of Second Temple Judaism.

Kay and Kristine had met during a Holocaust study tour for Christians in Poland. As a guide Kay was interested to see how Christians relate to the Holocaust. Kristine wanted to learn morKristine.Lukene about Jewish history. They became close friends and kept in contact.  

Since the attack in which she suffered 13 machete wounds and dozens of broken bones, Kay has become a motivational speaker and now discusses human rights and justice for the victims of terrorism on behalf of several Israel advocacy groups and Magen David Adom – Israel’s national emergency service.

Kay Wilson's Story from Heart to Heart from AFMDA on Vimeo.

Here,  in an interview conducted before the beginning of IDF Operation Protective Edge, Kay Wilson speaks to me about her horrific experience, living in Israel and coping with survival. 


N. W. You’re a cartoonist. Have you drawn as therapy since the attack? Indeed, have you drawn anything? If so, what have you produced?

K. W. I’m now working on a weekly syndicate for The Times of Israel. It’s a cartoon series called Let My People Giggle, which follows the Torah portions each week. It will be launched in the middle of July.

N. W. You’re also a jazz pianist. Who’s your favourite Jewish jazz musician? Maybe you like to doodle on the keys? Not just Somewhere over the Rainbow? Do you play any other instruments? Perhaps compose a little?

K. W. I like Irving Berlin. He was born ‘Israel Beilin’ and taught himself piano by playing on the black keys. He is America’s most prolific composer. I admire that he did all that he did against all odds and from nothing. Technically, I play the violin but I don't play it because I don't have one any more so I only play the piano. I don't know if I actually compose or just sit and play what comes into my head in the hope to discover new sounds. When I like how something sounds, then I write it down. If that’s composing then I suppose I do compose!

N. W. And the walking! I appreciate that as a former keen long-distance runner you may have recovered somewhat more ably than a previously sedentary person. Nonetheless it was quite an achievement for you to walk the 10 kilometres you managed during this year’s Jerusalem Marathon on behalf of the One Family terror victims’ support group. How much money did you raise?  Kay.Wilson.02

K. W. I didn't raise any money. I walked/ran to encourage others to do it so they could raise the money.


N. W. It’s now three-and-half-years since you and Kristine Luken were attacked and by the time this interview is published, it will be at least a couple of months since the kidnap and murder of the three Orthodox teenagers on the West Bank in Israel. Do you think the State of Israel should consider the death penalty for these crimes?

K. W. I decline to answer because my answer is complex and this interview does not warrant a yes or no answer without me stating why I advocate or don't advocate for the death penalty.

N. W. We all have different reasons. What impelled you to make aliya (immigrate to Israel) and then stay in Israel?

K. W. I was bored in the UK. I wanted adventure. I thought I’d start off in Tel Aviv and work my way around the world. I’m still here. I was always a latent Zionist and it came into fruition after the event.

N. W. On 25 June this summer you announced that you’ve ‘started school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’. What course are you taking? Do you have new career plans?

K. W. Every day Facebook tells me “You just have to complete your education and then your profile is complete”. I didn't know how to get them to stop bugging me, so I lied. I don't believe in a career I believe in taking my experience and becoming a better person in the hope that it will inspire others to choose life. In this sense I am beginning to do more public speaking, especially for Israel advocacy which is a subject dear to my heart.

N. W. In the years before the attack did you ever think you’d made a mistake and want to return to the U.K.? I know you’ve returned on behalf of the StandWithUs educational and advocacy group. Do you miss anything about the U.K.?

K. W. I never regretted coming to Israel. I never thought about moving back after the attack. It has been my home since the mid-eighties; I have lived longer here than I did there. All I miss is customer service and creamy beer!

N. W. I’ve read that your dog, Peanut was unharmed by your assailants. What sort of a dog is she? Did she run to the road and bark try to raise an alarm like dogs sometimes do? Or was she also attacked?

K. W. She was a cross between a pincher and dachshund. They stabbed her but she survived and dragged her way through the forest after me. Sadly, she got run over a year later.

N. W. The Star of David necklace you were wearing when you were attacked plays an important symbolic role in your story, both during the attack and after. Why have you decided to have it memorialised, rather than to wear it?

K. W. Because it is a reminder to me that I was nearly murdered for being Jewish. It is the only personal item that I wanted returned from the police. I don't want to lose it so I keep it at home.

N. W. During a powerful radio interview on Israel National News, you described the scene in court where your assailants’ ordinary faces became demonic when you cried ‘Am Yisroel chai – the People of Israel live’. But you insist that you hate only hatred and the fact that they’ve been taught to hate. How do you to reconcile this with what has happened to you?

K. W. I hate their hatred. I am sick of their sickness. Justice to a certain degree has been done so I choose not to dwell on them or hate them, not for their sake but for my own. Instead I fill my life with positive people and beautiful things.

N. W. In the days before this interview we were treated to the ‘Tale of the Two Zoabis’: Hanin Zoabi – the Israeli woman Arab MK who insists that those who kidnapped the three teenagers are not terrorists and her distant relative, Mohammad Zoabi, an Israeli Arab student described as a ‘proud Zionist patriot’. Have you ever met either of them? How, in the tight-knit Arab world, could members of the same extended clan hold such different views?

K. W. I have never met either of them and I don't understand how they have such different views.

N. W. As a quite extraordinary aside, you’ve also had to fight libellous accusations from a cyber-bully. Had you previously known this person? Why has he acted like this? Have you had any restitution?

K. W. It was the ex-husband of a good friend who could not stand up for herself because she was scared of him. When bullies are exposed, I find that they fight like cowards, and this is what he did. He went behind the scenes thinking he would never be caught. I am in the process of suing him because although he admitted what he did, he never made right by publicly apologising and covering my expenses for hiring a cyber detective. He should get his summons after the court resumes from summer recess.

N. W. But almost four years on, your terrible story appears to have no happy ending or any firm conclusion. Indeed, the next ‘chapter’ is due to begin some weeks after this interview on Thursday 10 July with your appearance at the Israel Supreme Court, Jerusalem. It is then that one of your assailants will appeal against his sentence as an accomplice to the murder of Kristine Luken. How will you cope with that?

K. W. Seeing them in court is a lot easier than meeting them in the forest. Though obviously the less I see of them the better. They belong in a place where all sons of evil belong.

“It is tragic to hear the news of this Arab teenager who was abducted and murdered in the night. The Israeli police are investigating who is behind this heinous act. It needs to be said now before we are the wiser that whether Jews or Arabs did this, terror is terror and blood is blood. I pray that the police catch the terrorists, justice is served, that the boy rests in peace and that God comforts his family. (Kay Wilson writing as police began investigating the murder of 16-year-old Palestinian, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir whose charred body was found the morning after the funerals of the three Jewish boys).

N. W. Kay Wilson, thank you for talking to Alwayswriteagain.

Mark.UlyseasThis interview first appeared in the August 2014 edition of Live Encounters magazine ( edited by Mark Ulyseas, a faithful supporter of Israel and all matters Jewish.

© Natalie Wood (29 July 2014)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Are There Terror Tunnels On Israel’s Northern Border?

Golani.TreeWhen Karmiel Mayor Adi Eldar addressed a pro-IDF solidarity rally at the entrance to the city on Wednesday, he hinted that there may be terrorist tunnels on Israel’s northern border. But the event, arranged by an army support group, was a friendly and peaceful affair, making the Police presence largely unnecessary.

The crowd included a Golani Infantry Brigade soldier with his brigade flag and among those interviewed for the clip below was an American visiting Israel on a ‘Taglit’ (‘Birthright’) tour. He revealed that almost half those intending to come with him had cancelled their plans because of Operation Protective Edge but he insisted that he felt safe in Israel despite continuing hostilities.

Those present represented a wide cross-section of the city’s residents, ranging from religious and secular Jews to Druze and other non-Jews. There was also support from passing motorists but no-one voiced dissent.

© Natalie Wood (24 July 2014)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hamas and the Tunnels of the Terrorist Mind

Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own … Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind  …”

Global antisemitism is now at  pre-pogrom levels. It’s unprecedented in my life-time and I am 60 years old. I don’t believe Israel’s current  war in Gaza is to blame. It has simply thrown the mounting chaos into sharp relief and made what was bad, patently worse.

Rabbi.David.SingerThis week,  I’ve been personally shocked to read of a double attack on the Belfast Hebrew Congregation in Northern Ireland where the present incumbent is Birmingham-born Rabbi David Singer, one of my earliest childhood friends. Local police are treating the  smashing of one window and then its replacement as a hate crime while their colleagues in Manchester have said the same of the desecration last month of the Jewish cemetery in Blackley, north Manchester.

But aside from the U.K., where the Community Security Trust has reported more than 70  antisemitic physical and verbal attacks since the beginning of July, recent months have seen a spike in worldwide antisemitism, including the murder of three people, two of them  Israeli, at the Brussels Jewish Museum and last weekend’s attacks on synagogues, a shop and individuals in Paris and Lyons.

Further, I am convinced that the series of anti-Israel demonstrations and the shamelessly distorted reports of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza have all been carefully orchestrated.

The key questions are by whom are they planned and why is there a disproportionate number of self-professed Jewish ‘antisemites’ at the hate rallies and penning the media reports and features?

Mira.Bar.HillelI don’t suppose I’ll receive a reply from Israeli-born journalist Mira Bar-Hillel, who yesterday morning, Tuesday 22 July, took part in a BBC Radio 4 Today show debate on ‘How Do British Jews Feel About the Gaza Conflict’? with Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism.

The five minute slot was painfully embarrassing, not only because of Bar-Hillel’s plethora of outrageous lies but because the learned rabbi had gone to the studio unprepared and sought refuge in praising those who had been fasting for peace. No wonder Bar-Hillel barely contained her mirth.

Rabbi Janner-Klausner could have asked Bar-Hillel, as she’s so ashamed of her antecedents, why she had retained her Hebrew name . Is it because she knows she sounds more provocative thus labelled?

Rabbi Laura could have explained how Israeli pilots had aborted strikes over proposed Gazan targets when they had spotted civilians in the vicinity. She may also have mentioned that a high proportion of the numbered dead had been terrorists and that Israel had erected a field hospital in Gaza to treat injured civilians but that the Hamas hierarchy had actively prevented them from using it. She could have emphasised that Israel had built shelters and shot missiles into Gaza to defend its civilians while Hamas terrorists continue to hide weapons in homes, mosques and hospitals and to use citizens as human shields.  Rabbi.Laura.Janner.Klausner

She could have gone on to describe the nine years of relentless misery exercised by the terror group over the population of southern Israel and of the Jewish kids who have known nothing in their short lives but rocket and mortar induced trauma.

Indeed, the learned rabbi could have reminded Bar-Hillel that probably the only British Jew to have been ostracised by his community for speaking out against Israel lives in an ultra-Orthodox enclave in Salford, Greater Manchester and that some years ago he was widely photographed embracing former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad although Iran is known to be Hamas’s chief source of funding. It is, Iran after all, that is at the bottom of much of Israel’s present troubles.

But Rabbi Laura, a highly trained, scholarly and much respected progressive rabbi, acted so weakly that I suggest she is not competent to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on  political issues before an audience of millions. I’m sorry to say that she should be replaced – and fast.

Meanwhile, we must investigate who is behind the concerted attacks on world Jewry and why so many renegade Jews are involved.

Who, for example, took part in the  ‘peaceful protest against Israeli genocide’ at the Manchester city centre branch of Marks and Spencer on Saturday 19 July? Further, why did the officers  on duty from the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit do nothing more than stand around, grinning amiably at the crowd with their arms folded? And who was the the observer from Barton Moss protest against fracking” mentioned in the description beneath the YouTube clip?

Don’t tell me, please, that those involved were from our friends at rent-a-mob! The old familiar faces from so much other social unrest in the U.K., like the 2001 Oldham race riots, the 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots and the 2011 England riots which affected Salford and Manchester city centre in 2011.  Oh, dear. I’m beginning to smell rats in those tunnels. I wonder if Hamas has a branch office in Manchester ….

© Natalie Wood (23 July 2014)

Monday, 21 July 2014

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