Derek Lewis - 1967
Looking back to 1967 when I was 19 years old, I cannot believe how little I understood about Israel's precarious position in the world. To me Israel was just a distant foreign land with many poor Jewish immigrants, and although my father would regularly hand over a ten shilling note to the 'blue box' collector and occasionally my parents would pack up some old clothes 'for Israel', I had not thought of the place as a homeland.
Then, as the tension escalated suddenly, it hit me - this place was part of me and for some unaccountable reason the whole Arab world was poised to destroy it and kill 'my family'. Thousands of us gathered outside the Jewish Agency building at Rex House to volunteer and in a week or so, huddled together in an old Bristol Britannia aircraft I, and my group flew, by night and landed at Lod airport. The war had effectively ended by then but we still had a job to do....
- Derek Lewis, LondonBACK to Diaspora Recollections