Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zyta Eliahu - February 3, 2008

Life in Israel

What was that experience like for you?

Well, you know, when I arrived in Israel I very quickly fell in love with Israel and I thought it was wonderful that everything was Jewish. The policing was Jewish, the shops were all Jewish--I know there were Jewish shops in Europe too but, you know, everything was Jewish because we didn't mix very much with the Arab part of Haifa. And I got to know a lot of the young people that were born here--the Sabras--and I found it very exciting to be here in Israel to know that one day we were going to have a state here. The War of Independence--when the partition in November--when this was declared I actually felt, I mean, I was happy and all that but I felt very sad too because I knew it meant there was going to be fighting and a lot of people were going to be killed and I didn't go out dancing in the streets because I felt very sad about knowing what was going to happen. Here this time--as opposed to when I was England about the war in Europe--this time I was aware of the dangers.

Did you participate in any way in the war?

I joined the army in '50--I joined the air force--the Israeli Air Force. I didn't participate in the war itself because they didn't--I wanted to join but they said, "Well, you're not yet eighteen so you have to bring permission from your parents," and of course, my parents weren't going give me permission to join. Anyway, in 1950 I joined the Israeli Air Force and I took part in the first course--radar course and the British had left some radar stations, there's one in ??? and uh, in the south and they brought in instructors from England to teach us and of course, one instructor from the ??? and I served two years in the Israeli Air Force.

Well, you must have been pretty valu...I mean, you spoke English.

Yeah, well, they only took girls who knew English.

So, you've participated in what--1956 it would have been?

By that time I was married and I had a small child and I was worried but um, I was here yes.

Do you remember when you arrived--when you set foot on Israel soil what that felt like?

As I said I had actually wanted to stay in England and wanted my parents to come so when I actually set foot it was exciting and I met my whole family but I sort of fell in love with Israel so, you know, that was really for me the period when...

And you've been in Haifa the whole...

We lived first in the Krayot as I say, it's--you can see...

Across the bay...

It's right on the other side of the bay--lived there but I've lived in Haifa for--I've lived in--since the 50s I've been living in Haifa.

And did you go to school here?

No because I got my GCE in England--it's like a matriculation. So um, no, I didn't. I had sort of finished my high school in England.

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