Monday, April 4, 2016

Shaar Hagai – Law? Justice?

I haven’t really been in much of a mood for writing lately.

A few days before my 69 th birthday, I received a “present” – notification that the court case we have been involved in for the last four years has been decided against us. We have been given 90 days to get out.   To leave the home I have lived in and built up for the last 46 years, where generations of my dogs have been born and grown up, and where my daughter and my three grandchildren have been born and grown up.

For those who may not know the whole story, here is what I wrote at the beginning of the process:

Unfortunately, nothing changed from the first attack on us, no one was willing to talk to us, to explain why now, to offer any sort of solution, we have simply been treated as criminals who have no rights.

So I have not really been in the mood for writing, especially not humorously.  I have always tried to look at the bright or funny side of things, to be optimistic, to be able to survive the difficulties of life by laughing at them.  And life has never been easy for me.  But I can’t complain.  My life has overall been good, and although I have had to struggle for what I have, I never thought that this was unjust, and I can appreciate that these are the choices I have made.  I have a lot that many others do not have.  And I have never had to ask for help from anyone, I have always managed, with hard work and determination, to keep going.
But I can’t find much to laugh at right now.  And I am left without a direction, with 46 years of life pulled out from under my feet like an old and useless carpet, to be thrown away, without any consideration.

My friends have been asking how I feel about it all. So I have finally decided to write it down.  Paper, after all (or the internet), suffers everything…

I have worked hard all my life. I have been stupid – as a self employed person, I should have planned ahead, put money aside for “retirement” (not that people who live with animals can ever really retire).  But I never had an excess of income, everything that I earned went to support my family on two and on four, to try and give us all a decent life style and reasonably fulfill our needs.  There were always necessities, repairs, upkeep, taxes, all the usual costs of life in our world.  No luxuries, but then I never felt that I needed them. Nothing left over, but we got along, and certainly never felt deprived, and we didn’t ask for help from anyone, we managed on our own.  I never had a problem taking second hand furniture or clothes to save money – they served the purpose beautifully.  
I never really thought that I and my dogs would be left homeless…

I hope we will have more than 90 days. We are appealing the decision, not because we have much hope that it will be changed, but because it may give us more time.  However, the Israel Lands Authority that is suing us is trying to insist that we be given no extension on the time, which leaves us about a month to take apart and move a life of 46 years in this place.  Although they were able to ignore our existence for more than 40 years, now we are expected to remove ourselves in days…  How typical…I have never regretted before coming to Israel and staying here, despite all the difficulties and problems over the years.  But now, having to cope with a system that not only knocks you to your knees, but then kicks you when you are down, the regrets are building up.

I am not out in the street, yet.  But at the moment, a lot of my time and energy is being spent trying to find a place I can move to with the dogs.  In Israel, it is very difficult to find a place to have a kennel, people (justifiably so) do not want to have barking dogs next door.  And when a place outside of residential areas, such as agricultural land, can be found, then it is not allowed to live there, even in a caravan (which is probably what my future living quarters will be).  I have no problems with the idea of living in a caravan, I don’t need much.  But I do need to be with my dogs.  And since my finances are extremely limited and a lot is going to pay lawyer and court fees, the possibilities are even more limited.
My daughter and family have always lived here, we have always been together, just a few meters from one another.  But a growing family can’t get along in a caravan somewhere where it is possible to keep dogs, they have to find better living conditions.  So this court decree will also be splitting up my family.
So how do I feel?  Disillusioned, discouraged, depressed… Not angry, who should I be angry at?  There is no point in being angry at a government that seems to be only interested in increasing personal power and amassing personal wealth.  For the powers that be, I am insignificant.  Who cares about some crazy woman sitting in the forest with a bunch of dogs?  But it is very disillusioning to realize that the country that I immigrated to 47 years ago, which was run by bright, idealistic, supportive people and institutions, who had a spirit of community, cooperation, mutual interests, and a desire to help, has changed so totally.  It is discouraging to understand that those in power have no interest at all in people like me who are doing things like I have been doing for so long, maybe not things that change the world, but things that do change some people’s lives and also attitudes.  I think that over the years, I have done a fair amount to bring credit to Israel – but who cares about what the international dog world or doggy families in many countries think of us?  No money in that…The fact that I have made friends for Israel all over the world, and built up something that is respected and admired and even an example for others is apparently of no significance.

(For those who are interested in seeing comments from people all over the world, you are welcome to take a look at this link – the comments are very important to me, at least…)

I am depressed to face moving from a home that I and my dogs love, simple, comfortable, that I have built up, mostly with my own hands and work, over the years, and having to try and start again.

Depression has made it very hard for me to do all the things I have been doing for so many years, to keep the place clean, neat, and attractive.  This time of year, everything is overgrown and covered with weeds, and there is shed hair to collect as the dogs change their winter coats, and always fences and other things to repair, and I look at it and think, “Why bother? I won’t be here. No one will care.”  It is hard to get out of bed in the morning and face the day.  But I still do care, and despite the depression, I am doing my best to keep things in shape, even though I may not be here to enjoy it for long.  Since the government agency suing us has declared they have no plans for the place, except to demolish it (very sad, as this is also an historical location), it is of course a waste of time and energy – but I am not capable of just letting go.

Not all is black.  Now I also know who my true friends are – and there are many!  Although they can’t do anything to change the court’s decree, their support and willingness to help give me the strength to move forward, and not just give up.  Mostly, it is emotional support, but there are also those friends who are actively helping me to look for a place, talking to people, making suggestions, and ready to assist in whatever I need.  And many people have contributed money to the relocation fund, and as most of my friends are not wealthy, it is very meaningful that they feel that we are important enough to help.  The amount is not important, it is the thought that we are important enough for them to want to help. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone! 

I have tried over the years to produce dogs that will fill a number of purposes – to preserve the Canaan Dog, a very ancient and original breed that is disappearing rapidly now.  The preservation of ancient original species is important – here is a link to an article that explains why:

The dogs have provided innumerable things to many people – companionship, security, confidence, friendship, comfort, support…It is not chance that the dog is considered man’s best friend.  There is no other animal that has the relationship with us that the dog has, and I have over the years been able to provide dogs to people whose lives have been changed and improved through this relationship.

I have also, with my second breed, the collie, spent many years trying to provide dogs that will assist people with special needs, and am proud and fulfilled by the successes I have had.

I look into the eyes of my dogs, some of them young and just learning about the world, some of them old with years of experience, and I know that I have to go on, for them and for the people who do care about what I have been doing all these years. 

So I don’t plan for this to be the end of Shaar Hagai. I still find it very difficult to understand the difference between “law” and “justice”, but I will continue to get up in the morning, where, I don’t know, but watch for us, I hope we will go on!

Please feel free to share.


  1. I admire you a lot, I would not have your strength!

  2. May God bless you. Thank you for the work that you've done over the years. Hopefully, someone in the Israeli government recognizes the importance of your work and does something to help you stay. Unfortunately, that particular government has plenty of practice seizing land they have no moral right to. I'll continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.