- Posted July 12, 2014 by
Eshkol Region, Israel
This iReport is part of an assignment:
New violence in Israel and West Bank
It’s all about education
What we tell our kids is so important.
Different people have different ways of coping during stressful periods. I am not a writer, but writing (on CNN iReport) seems to help me deal when under fire. I guess it satisfies my need to communicate, to feel that I am doing something “helpful” rather than just sitting around and reading or watching TV (ok….well…. the TV is on a lot, as well, to hear updates and opinions….but it’s sort of white noise).
I also give interviews, when asked to, to describe what it is like to live where I do: on a kibbutz , in Israel, on the border with the Gaza Strip, where for the past 11 years we have had to deal with incoming Hamas rockets to one level of intensity or another.
In one of the live interviews I gave yesterday (I gave three to different branches of the BBC) I was preceded by a mother from Gaza who was depicting the fear and terror she and her family live in. One of the problems with all three interviews was that, while I was able to hear the Gazans interviewed, because they were prerecorded, they were unable to hear me. It was disappointing, because while I was able to listen to and empathize with their plights as fellow citizens of the world, they were unable to listen to what is happening on my side, on the other end of the rockets that are being hurled at us by Hamas.
The thing that struck me – like a knife to the heart – was a conversation that Abir (the Gazan mother) reported that her small children had had between them. One child asked “Why did God create Israelis in the world?” to which her sibling responded: “So that they can kill us and make us Shaheeds” (Shaheed is a word in Arabic meaning ‘martyrs’ or someone who dies fighting defending their faith or family ~ Wikipedia). This shocked me. I mean it REALLY bowled me over.
I am an empathetic person who believes that everyone has a right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. I am more than profoundly aware that the Palestinians on the other side of the Gaza border (who live just over two kilometers away from me) are hostages, living in the largest prison of the world, thanks to the military branch of Hamas, and whom I hold directly responsible for the predicament in which we live in in this area. But what truly saddens me, is the understanding that unless parents educate their children to believe that the people on the other side of that fence are not demons; that the people who are being shot at on both sides of the border are flesh and blood, and basically want the same things out of life (a livelihood that enables them to put bread on their tables, provide safety for their loved ones, and a home to which to return) there really will be no hope for our futures.
In my community, we teach our children that a person’s nationality or religion or the color of their skin does not predetermine anything about them. That there are good Arabs and bad Arabs, just like there are good Jews and bad Jews….. in other words ….. good PEOPLE and bad PEOPLE.
Until Abir teaches her children this same lesson, the possibility of coexistence will be bleak for generations to come.
If you are interested in keeping up with what happens here on the border, please join our group on Facebook: Life on the Border with Gaza- things people may not know (but should).
The picture in this posting is of a hole in the ground, made by a Kassam, near a children's swing on my kibbutz