Nancy Pelosi quotes Israeli poem in first appearance since husband assaulted

As Paul Pelosi released from the hospital, US House speaker reads portion of Ehud Manor’s ‘I Have No Other Land,’ which she has cited publicly on other occasions

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is escorted to a vehicle outside of her home in San Francisco, November 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is escorted to a vehicle outside of her home in San Francisco, November 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday quoted an Israeli poem that she has cited publicly before, in her first public appearance since the brutal attack on her husband.

Pelosi thanked those on a video call for the outpouring of support for Paul Pelosi, 82, who suffered a fractured skull and other injuries after an intruder broke into their San Francisco home late last week and bludgeoned him with a hammer in what authorities say was an intentional and political attack.

“I have no other country. Although my land is burning, my veins, my soul with an aching body and with a hungry heart, here is my home,” Pelosi said as she read from Ehud Manor’s “I Have No Other Land.”

“I will not be silent. For my country has changed her face. I will not give up on her, I shall remind her and sing into her ears, until she opens her eyes.”

After reading from the poem, Pelosi said “we need to bring our country together.”

“So when we are fighting this fight, getting out this vote, let’s do so with the greatest respect for everyone,” she said.

Pelosi has quoted Manor’s poem several times over the past few years — including in response to the US Supreme Court’s overturning of a federally-guaranteed right to abortion and after the storming of the Capitol by supporters of then-president Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.

Written in 1982 when a right-wing Likud government was waging a controversial war in Lebanon, the song speaks of Manor’s love for Hebrew but features a pledge to “not remain silent and sing” to a country that “has changed her face.”

Manor’s widow, Ofra Fuchs, said in 2015 that it was intended as a left-wing protest song.

While visiting Israel in February, Pelosi was hosted by President Isaac Herzog for a meeting also attended by Fuchs.

Herzog said he had quoted Manor’s “I Have No Other Land” to Pelosi in 2016 when they were both experiencing political troubles. She wrote it down on a napkin and eventually quoted it in Congress.

From left: Paul Pelosi, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President Isaac Herzog and Michal Herzog in Jerusalem on February 16, 2022. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Pelosi spoke in the early morning from California, where her husband was released from the hospital late Thursday, her voice breaking throughout the lengthy but upbeat address.

“It’s going to be a long haul,” she said of her husband’s recovery.

Pelosi also used the call to rally grassroots activists, saying the midterm elections for control of Congress are a fight for democracy and “very winnable.”

“People say to me, ‘What can I do to make you feel better?’ I say: ‘Vote!’” Pelosi told those on the call.

“I believe that this race is very winnable,” Pelosi said.

“What we are doing is not only to win an election, but this is to strengthen our democracy,” Pelosi said. “There is no question that our democracy is on the ballot.”

The speaker’s comments come as Democrats are facing a stiff fight for control of Congress in the midterm elections Tuesday, as energized Republicans are working to flip the House and Senate and end Democratic hold on Washington.

David Depape is shown in Berkeley, California, December 13, 2013. (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

David DePape, 42, is being held without bail on state charges of attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. DePape’s public defender, Adam Lipson, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf earlier this week and has pledged to vigorously defend him. Lipson declined to comment Friday.

In court filings released earlier this week, officials said DePape broke into the home, carrying zip ties, tape and a rope in a backpack. He woke up Paul Pelosi and demanded to talk to “Nancy,” who was out of town. Two officers who raced to the home after Paul Pelosi’s 911 call witnessed DePape hit him in the head with the hammer.

DePape, who is Canadian, overstayed his authorized entry to the US more than two decades ago. He should have been blocked from getting back into the country when he returned a few times over the years, according to a US official who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

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