In May of 1967, after the Egyptians placed troops in Sinai and closed the Straits of Tiran, war was clearly expected. I went from home in Jerusalem to Kibbutz Nahal Oz (on the border with Gaza) to help if war broke out. Golan had friends on the Kibbutz and had spent a lot of time there as a volunteer in the past. There was no expectation of a Jordanian attack on Jerusalem. At the Kibbutz she was taught to fire a Bazooka. During the war, the battle for Ali Muntar in the Gaza Strip went out from the IDF forces in the fields of Nahal Oz. Golan “manned” a field telephone in a trench on the border.
Like many others, Golan was thrilled with the surprising 6-day Israeli victory and, also like many others, thought that now we had a bargaining chip – the newly conquered territories – to exchange for peace with the Arab states. After returning to Jerusalem, she quickly went with friends to see the West Bank and Golan Heights “before they would be returned.” But within a year a settlement was to be built in Hebron. Golan signed a petition against the settlement. That was her first political act. She set out to learn more about what was going on in the occupied territories. Thus began what today has been almost 50 years of peace activism and a struggle against the occupation.
One evening that stands out was 10 February 1983. Following the demand – made by the demonstration of 400,000 in Tel Aviv – for a governmental commission of inquiry into the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon, Galia helped organize a march and demonstration by Peace Now in Jerusalem – calling for the resignation of defense minister Arik Sharon. Throughout the march the demonstrators were violently attacked by right-wing on-lookers. At the end of the demonstration, Galia had just backed up her mini-bus to load the signs from the demonstration gathered by Emile. As she came around the car, there was a bright flash of light; she was thrown back, then absolute darkness. When the air cleared, she saw people on the ground, slowly rising. One did not rise – she whispered – maybe not out loud – get up, get up. But Emile did not get up. He was dead. People bustled the wounded into Galia’s minibus and she drove them to Share Zedik hospital nearby. Avrum Berg helped her, not knowing that he himself was slightly wounded. Fortunately Galia’s husband David, a family doctor also in the movement, had been called away to a house call that evening. Otherwise he would have been opening the back door of the minibus to load the signs; instead there was now a line of holes from hand grenade shrapnel in the back door of the car.
The hand grenade was thrown by someone who lived two streets away from Galia and David.
(there is more to the story – david came to the hospital to get me, got into a fight with right-wing demonstrators who had actually followed us to the hospital and taunted us. The next day at Emile’s funeral in Haifa, Itzhak Rabin asked me if there really had been a fight. I didn’t want to tell him that David had probably started it...
There was even more – the funeral was on Friday and both David and I attended, of course, which means we couldn’t make Friday night dinner. When we got home the girls had invited two friends over and they had made dinner (sandwiches or something). We were really touched. The Lebanon War had radicalized Debra (aged 16). But all that is not for the Memorial ....