Published in The Kansas City Star
If her dream comes true, Shoula Romano Horing will one day be expressing her views on the floor of the Knesset in Jerusalem as a member of Israel’s parliament.
The 38-year-old lawyer, who has lived in the United States since 1980 and in Kansas City since 1982, wants to return to her homeland and fight with her mind, heart and soul for Israel’s survival. “I believe this is my mission in life,” she says, her dark eyes flashing with conviction. “But my husband and I and our two children cannot move to Israel until we have the financial means to sustain ourselves for two or three years there, while we get settled. Living is expensive. To purchase an apartment costs an average of $250,000.” Horing, who worked in Israel for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election a year ago, thinks Israel’s survival lies in protecting the land it has and not relinquishing any more to the Palestinians.
She has voiced her views in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, on local American Cablevision talk shows, in public speaking engagements and over her weekly radio program, “Oh Jerusalem.” She donates her time fro the program, which features taped interviews with politicians and other leaders in America and Israel, from 4 to 5 p.m. Sundays on KCXL-AM. On the eve of Israel’s 50th anniversary as an independent state – declared May 15, 1948 – Horing is afraid for her motherland. She things support is tilting toward the Palestinians, led by Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), whom she calls the “most notorious terrorist in recent times.” “Security must be enforced for Israel because peace is not possible,” says Horing, who returned recently from a three-week family visit. “Israel is a European-styled country in the midst of an Arab culture,” she said. “The dispute between Israel and the PLO is not over land. It is a dispute between a Western culture and an anti-Western culture.”
While Horing thinks peace cannot be negotiated with the Palestinians, her views are not universally shared by other supporters of Israel. Rabbi Morris Margolies thinks negotiation is the risk Israelis must take for any kind of peace to be achieved. When asked to comment on Horing’s approach, the rabbi emeritus of Beth Shalom Congregation, who represents the seventh generation of his family born in what is now Israel, said “The attitude of remaining strong and tightening your belt hasn’t worked for Israel for 50 years. “You have to decide where the risk is at its lowest point. Does Israel give up nothing or does is make major concessions to the Arabs, with necessary provisions for its security as implemented by its military experts? “Israel’s welfare, and especially its quest for peace, can only be realized if a sovereign Palestinian state comes into being and all measures for Israel’s security are simultaneously put into place.” As a child in Israel, Margolies said he knew about the horror of violence. “I was 7 years old in 1929 when the massacre (of Jews) in Hebron took place. I don’t want to see this continuing. The only way to stop this constant violence is to yield to the idea of the existence of a sovereign Palestinian state. You don’t have to give them the whole West Bank. Israel does need security. It does have enemies that would like to see it destroyed. “But there will be no peace at the end of a long and hard road unless the ultimate objective of the Palestinians – to achieve a viable state – is understood by the Israeli government and its people.”
Regular trips home
Horing views things differently. She understands Arafat’s strategy as “let’s talk peace and get land back through diplomatic means. Then declare a state.” “But even if this occurs,” says Horing, “…it will not satisfy Arafat. He will want more and more until he has Israel, too, and when that happens, the United States will have lost its only ally in the Middle East. “All you have to do is look at a map to realize that Israel is the only democracy in the midst of huge Arab dictatorships. If Israel is weak the United States will have no control in the Middle East.”
Horing, who lived through the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, visits her mother and five siblings in Tel Aviv several times annually. She interviews people in government and on the street for her radio program. As a child, Horing’s parents took her to political rallies for Prim Minister Menachem Begin (who died in 1992). When she was 20, the former Shoula Romano was elected to be a delegate to a Likud (Conservative) Party convention. She delivered a passionate speech, imploring Begin not to give away West Bank territory won by Israel in the six-Day War. A year later, she was still giving speeches when party members asked if she’d consider going into politics full-time. Her mother, who encouraged her to speak out, suggested she take a break before making a decision. Horing traveled to the United States to visit a sister then living in Wilmington, Del. She planned to stay only three months. But within weeks she met Michael Horing, a New Yorker who was graduating from law school. They were engaged in three weeks and married eight months later. Horing never returned to Israel to live. But she has not become an American citizen, feeling that “your country is like your mother and you can only have one mother.” When her children were born, 11 and nine years ago, she flew back to her native Tel Aviv to give birth. “Because their father is American, my children have dual citizenship; I love the Untied States,” she said. “But I also wanted them to grow up with an appreciation and feeling for their roots in Israel”.
After moving to Kansas City, Horing earned both a master’s in business administration and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Along the way, she gave birth to her daughter and son, maintained top grades and earned the respect of her professors. “Shoula spoke up in class and when she didn’t understand something, she dwelled on it until she did; she was extremely focused and highly capable,” said Brian Belt, professor of finance at UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration.
Robert C. Downs, UMKC professor of law, said he could see Horing going back to Israel and making herself known in the political arena. “She was exuberant and ambitious in whatever she was doing,” he said. “And it was important to her to let others know about her background in Israel.” Horing’s dream of returning burns in her heart. Fears for the future of her homeland and continuing chaos ahead do not deter her. “Israel is a very little
dot on the map,” she said. “Even with the West Bank and Gaza, Missouri is seven times larger. Yet all the world wants Israel to give up its land for peace. To me, that is gradual suicide.”