Iulia:After getting back in touch with our friends in Romania, we kept on looking all over the world for our friends from when we were young. It was wonderful to find each other again and to spiritually remain together to this day. After 1989 the relations with Romania increased. Many Romanian political and cultural public figures started coming to Israel. The Friends of Romania Association in Jerusalem marks the presence of the Romanian cultural public figures that came to Israel for meetings, seminars and round-tables. We read Romanian books, we go to Romanian book fares and we regularly return to Romanian and take part to its cultural life. A journalist interviewed me and asked me What does Romania represent to you? My answer was To me Romania is my cultural homeland. Beyond any doubt. My Romanian friends here and I? some of them are professors or well-known scholars ? we always say that we owe a great deal to the Romanian educational system. We say this every time we get the chance and we underline the importance of our high-school years in Romania. Today we are aware of everything going on in Romania. We come back on and on. It is true that we are more into the cultural life than into politics. Politics is too crooked for us. That?s about it!
Beno:From political point of view I think that, beyond any doubt, the strong connection with the States is a very good policy of Romania. This friendship will lead to Romania?s development from all points of view. I would also like to say something very interesting. Our children speak Romanian. They read and write in Romanian.The eldest daughter more and better than her siblings. The Romanian language and culture shaped them and influenced their way of thinking. They would be happy to get the Romanian citizenship as well. When we got back our Romanian citizenship we didn?t require it for them as well. We wanted them to become of age and make this decision on their own. Now they wish to get it as well.
Iulia: Our relation with Romania and with the people there is somewhat different from the relations other Israeli persons of Romanian origin have. There are a lot of them who after coming to Israel gave up the Romanian language and tried to extirpate any Romanian memories from their souls. It was a protection mechanism. Some of them rediscover Romania now, after 1989. It is different in our case. Our ties with Romania were never completely broken. The connection was maintained, probably due to our friends.
Beno:The political change in 1989 was exhilarating for us. We have morally been part of everything that was going on. We knew that Romanians were finally free and managed to come to light. The fact that Iliescu was a former communist didn?t even matter that much. What mattered was the extraordinary change happening. The transition period looked like a normal thing in the case of Romania. It takes a while until new politicians are formed and come into the public sphere. It takes some time to completely democratize and liberalize the country. I don?t cease to be amazed by the continuous evolution of the Romanian young people. It is very fast. They internalize very fast everything new and good in the world science and technology. I think that Romanians should be more confident in their future. Of course now there is corruption, hardship and a lot of ugly things happening. It is just a phase. One cannot switch from Communism to Capitalism without an intermezzo, which, by the nature of things, is chaotic and ugly.
We are happy for us as well because we were able to physically get back in touch with Romania. We come back at least twice every year. We started traveling a lot around Romania. Now we know it better than when we left. We go to Iaşiand to the Moldavian monasteries all the time. We also like the sub-Carpathian Oltenia region. We think that Romania?s nature is a priceless wealth. Romanians must make a continuous effort to bring Romania forth and forward in the international tourism.
Nevertheless we don?t come to Romania as foreign tourists. We are Israeli but we never broke off with our Romanian roots. It can?t be done!
Interview by Vlad Manoliu
Translated by Cora Moţoc