As we approach International Holocaust Memorial Day, a British photographer continues to focus on the uncomfortable truth that modern-day Israelis are still being murdered.
The Jewish state, which rose from the ashes of the Shoah, was meant to be a safe haven for victims of antisemitism.
But Jennie Milne, a photography lecturer from Aberdeen in Scotland who has learnt that some of her own ancestors died in the concentration camps, has been shocked to discover that thousands of Israelis have since perished at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.
It was the murder in her own bedroom of 13-year-old Hallel Ariel in 2016 which galvanized Jennie into a new role in her busy life – comforting the victims of these attacks.
So, after a tour of Israel during which she met and photographed some of those who have been traumatized by terror – including Hallel’s parents – she held an exhibition in south London called Do you know my name? which is also now available to be shown elsewhere.
Among others she photographed is Hendon-born Steve Bloomberg who made Aliyah (immigration to Israel) in 1982 and whose life was torn apart when terrorists opened fire on his car in 2001, killing his pregnant wife Tehiya and paralysing him and his daughter Tzipi, then 16, from the waist down.
In addition to the more than 3,000 people who have died in terrorist attacks on Israeli soil since the state was established in 1948, a further 25,000 people have been wounded and maimed.
“When he was waiting for the ambulance, Steve says he knew his wife had passed away, and his thoughts were, ‘If she isn’t with us, I have to survive so I can look after our five children,’” Jennie recalls.“But he has done more than simply survive. He has rebuilt his life, becoming an advocate for disabled people, and Tzipi is an accomplished sportswoman who competes in international skiing competitions.”
There is also a portrait of British-born Kay Wilson, who was left for dead after a savage machete attack in the Jerusalem Forest in 2010 in which her friend Kristine Luken died. The two friends were tied up, gagged and repeatedly stabbed by two Palestinians who later said that they had gone to the forest to kill Jews.“I watched my friend chopped up before my eyes, and only survived because I played dead, despite being stabbed 13 times and having more than 30 bones broken by the force of the blows I received,” Kay said at the time of the attack. “Each time he plunged his machete into me, I could hear my bones crunch and my flesh ripping from the serrated blade.”
Kay has often spoken in public about the attack — “to bring goodness to Kristine’s memory and to testify to the goodness of Israel” — and now works with Arab friends teaching music and English to Palestinian children in West Bank refugee camps. “She is one of bravest people I have ever met,” Jennie said.
A committed Christian and mother-of-nine, she explained: “My intention in photographing the survivors was to provide a point of connection with people in the United Kingdom, to bring their stories into the light, to remember and honour the victims and stand with their families. I wish to challenge the narrative which seeks to justify such murders and remind us that ‘Never Again’ includes Jewish lives in Israel today.”
She added: “We in the church have a responsibility to the Jewish people, particularly in view of the Scriptures.”
For more information on Jennie’s research, see her website at https://www.fragmentsthatremain.co.uk
Thanks also to the Jewish Chronicle for additional material.
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; To the Jew First, A Nation Reborn, and King of the Jews, all available from Christian Publications International.
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.