Heading for home, Kindertransport member and Gaza protester Hedy Epstein, resources.

Kindertransport member Hedy Epstein is staging a hunger strike on behalf of Gaza Strip residents.

In a few hours, a cab will take us to Ben Gurion Airport and begin our return trip to Chicago and the United States.

The past two weeks have been rich and meaningful on many, many levels-personal, emotional, spiritual, historic, and linguistic are only some of them-and the three of us are all sad to leave.

In an example of the country’s remarkable diversity and continuing, and, at times, seemingly intractable, controversy, former Kindertransport member Hedy Epstein is beginning a hunger strike to protest against Egypt’s refusal to allow a Gaza solidarity march to proceed.

Like Epstein, my father and uncle are among the 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, the former Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland whom the English government permitted to enter after Kristallnacht in late 1938.

I have written before about resources about the Kindertransport, and Epstein appears in Deborah Oppenheimer’s Academy Award-winning documentary Into the Arms of Strangers.

Gaza and the West Bank have been contentious since the moment the Israelis took them after the 1967 Six Day War-a conflict that Michael Oren chronicled effectively in his book, Six Days of War.

In the book, Oren makes the point that many of the top Israeli leaders had not considered what to do with the West Bank and Gaza-areas called Judea and Samaria by some Israelis-because they had not anticipated such a rapid or comprehensive victory.

Some, including Moshe Dayan, advocated returning the lands.

At this point, some may say decision could have averted the deaths of thousands of lives on both sides during the past 42 years.  Others would say that Israel has a historic claim to the land, that victors in war deserve the spoils they gain, and that conceding territory would not lead to enduring peace.

As the decade enters its final few hours, I hope that both sides can manage to forge an agreement that will lead to the end of the hostility, barriers and bloodshed.


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