Councillor column: 3 minutes to talk about the situation in Israel

A speech by Garden Suburb councillor Michael Mire on Tuesday October 17th

A headshot of Michael Mire, a councillor for Garden Suburb ward in the London Borough of Barnet
Cllr Michael Mire – Conservative, Garden Suburb

I’ve been given just 3 minutes to talk about the current situation in Israel, 180 seconds. 3 minutes to describe what it felt like being in Israel when this unprovoked terror attack took place, to describe how my people were butchered, tortured, raped, beheaded, slaughtered in their homeland, for having the same blood that I do running through my veins…. 3 minutes to talk on behalf of my community the Jewish people and the people of Barnet. Just slightly longer than I had to run for my life in case a rocket went off overhead.

I can only describe part of the feeling. I am back in the UK, I am not on the battlefield, the front line, up North or down South.

I woke up to find that Hamas had breached the border. Instantly, I knew what that meant. Death. Death to Jews. Death like we’d not seen for 60 years, Death that my Grandparents experienced. A death that Hamas has been craving.

What did this mean for me? A list of nevers.

Never in my life did I think I’d need to make sure my kids get to sleep in a bomb shelter, with formula, nappies, and toys on hand. Never in my life did I think I’d have 60 seconds to run for my life. Never in my life did I think I would need to message my school friend Eliot, to wish him a long life as his brother Netanel Young was murdered, heroically saving Jewish people whilst serving in the IDF.

How is this affecting Barnet residents, Jews within Barnet, what I can say, the phrase, we’re safe, but we’re not okay – summarises it.  We are safe, thanks to the hard work of the Metropolitan Police, CST, the government, Mike Freer & Team Barnet. We’re safe, for now.

People ask, do you have family there? Are they safe? I have 9million family members in Israel. When a Jew anywhere in the world is hurt, you feel it yourself, like a stab in the heart. A pain no one can imagine… but we’re all carrying with us.

It is important to recognise those innocent Palestinians in Gaza, the people who want nothing to do with this, the people who want peace, the people who want nothing to do with Hamas. The people, who, unfortunately, are affected by Hamas’s terror for no reason. 

We are currently seeing the best in humanity, glimmers of light, through the darkness. The dark, those repulsive individuals that seek to excuse this terror. The best, the number of messages I received from friends and colleagues within this room, on both sides – those meant so much.

So, 3 minutes, 3 minutes have gone, during this time, you could’ve run for your life twice over, ran for safety, run, like my cousins, my family, my people have to on a daily basis. Run, but my people won’t run from their homeland, the people of Israel will fight, fight to survive, fight to survive as we have before, fight, because Ain li eterz aheret, because we have no other land.

Am Yisrael Chai.

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