Positive message by Bolton's blind Zionist

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 21, 2012

She taught herself fluent Hebrew listening to Israeli radio from her home in Bolton; she raises funds for needy Israeli families; she is not Jewish - and she is blind.

Karen Greenwood was born sightless, but she sees through what she calls "propaganda" by anti-Israel protesters in the UK.

"Various things happened to make me support Israel - such as the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. During the Six Day War in 1967, I found myself listening to the BBC World Service." She heard Egypt's President Nasser declare: "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel."

"In the 1980s I listened to history tapes about Israel. I asked myself, what can I do, practically? Friends told me about the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. I made contact with Joy Wolfe and Manchester's Zionist Central Council. They said it was fine for Christians to come to meetings as long as I didn't evangelise. I wasn't insulted."

Karen, 59, became a rare Christian member of a Prestwich Wizo group in 1993. She has "seen" the women's projects she supports during her nine visits to Israel, helped by Hebrew she learned from Israel's Reshet Bet radio station and books she reads in Hebrew Braille.

Karen, a secretary at a Manchester law firm, said: "I think there are people like me all over the country. I would like to see more people brought into being positive towards Israel".

Joy Wolfe, Zionist Federation co-president, called Karen a "legend. She is a very humble person who doesn't think what she does is remarkable, but we all do".

Last updated: 10:45am, September 21 2012