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    Posted August 25, 2014 by
    Eshkol Region, Israel
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    New violence in Israel and West Bank

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    Friends Across the Border


    You don't hear about it often. It's not easy to do. But there are friendships across the border. This is an interchange between two friends, on either side of the border. They are both frightened. The Israeli is scared for her friend’s safety. The Gazan is scared to be identified in any way, of interacting with an Israeli.


    I am just an intermediary. My name is Adele. I live in a kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip. As I was running back and forth to my reinforced concrete safe room, when a barrage of 7 rockets within the space of 15 minutes caught me mid- shower, this interchange was going on in a virtual environment.

    Arabs and Jews can be friends. People connect with people. These two met in the physical world, under very special circumstances. For a period of a few weeks, they were both plucked out of their usual realities and had an opportunity to get to know each other, as human beings, as mothers, as women sharing the same concerns for their families that women share all over the world.


    Two women whom, under different circumstances (had they never met) might not care if the other lived or died. In even different circumstances they could be neighbors, consoling each other over a cup of tea. Unfortunately in the current circumstances, all they can do is communicate via What'sApp.


    All that I personally can do is to try and get their voices out. Their names and professions have been obscured for the protection of the Gazan woman whose life would be in even more danger from Hamas retaliation than it already is from the Israeli bombings of Hamas targets near her.


    Gazan woman: Hi, thank you so much for asking. I'm not sure if I can see myself ok, I lost my home, my family lost their home, and it keeps getting worse every minute..
    Israeli woman: Thank god you came back to me. Is your husband ok?
    Gazan woman: He's better now. The kids deeply traumatized though 
    Israeli woman: And do you have somewhere to stay? We are seeing terrible pictures
    Gazan woman: I give them medicine to put them to bed because they wouldn't sleep at night
    Israeli woman: That there is nowhere for them to go
    Gazan woman: I'm moving between my friends' and my in laws
    Israeli woman: People, I mean
    Gazan woman: Yes
    Israeli woman: Wow. Are you further away from the bombing, then?
    Gazan woman: No I'm not
    Israeli woman: So the Air Force are still bombing where you live/ Did your school get hit?
    Gazan woman: Yes
    Israeli woman: I guessed.
    Gazan woman: Yesterday schools were supposed to start
    Israeli woman: What is happening with that? I guess nothing, right?
    Gazan woman: Here we go - A huge bomb right now as I'm talking to you
    Israeli woman: Omg Food? water? Do you have enough?
    Gazan woman: No. No electricity too
    Israeli woman: All the time?
    Gazan woman: Like 20-22 hours a day no power
    Is there a message you want to give? I can publicly say something if you want
    Gazan woman: I want this to end
    Israeli woman: I know my love. So do we
    Gazan woman: Gaza is already an un livable place, and they're making it even worse
    Israeli woman: We people don't deserve this
    Gazan woman: Waiting for death is so much painful than death itself. I wish I could get out of here
    Israeli woman: Can you get to the field hospital that we set up? I wish I could get you out
    Gazan woman: It's very far away
    Israeli woman: The images we are seeing are very very frightening
    Gazan woman: And that's not even the half of it
    Israeli woman: I have many friends who care as much about you as I do
    Gazan woman: I know
    Israeli woman: One of them lives on a kibbutz right opposite Gaza
    Gazan woman: And I'm very sorry for that little kid (Israeli boy who was killed)
    Israeli woman: They have mortar bombs You also have terrible, terrible casualties
    Gazan woman: Yes
    Israeli woman: They (Hamas) are firing everywhere they like
    Gazan woman: Many injuries, people losing parts of their bodies
    Israeli woman: It's insane. I know. We see it all. I also get sirens as well
    Gazan woman: It scares the shit out of me to think that my kids might end up like this
    Israeli woman: The world has gone mad. Our kids are also going insane. The sirens scare them. We are supposed to go back to school next week.
    Gazan woman: When I open the door my kids start screaming bloody murder. The slightest noise freaks them out
    Israeli woman: Do you want to send ( people in Israel) a message? I want to let them hear a voice from Gaza. I won't name you.
    Gazan woman: Yes I do
    Israeli woman: I can also give it to (my children’s teachers) and my contact. I promise no name, no photo. Tell me what you want to say. I will tell the world
    Gazan woman: I just hate this whole thing, kids shouldn't be killed like this, from BOTH sides. Yes sure…
    Israeli woman: We do not hear enough peace voices from Gaza
    Gazan woman: I really do (want peace)
    Israeli woman: That's the problem. Some people believe they don't exist
    Gazan woman: We both exist on this land, and it would be so damn stupid of either can live on it alone.
    Israeli woman: It will be good therapy too
    Gazan woman: Yes
    Israeli woman: I'm praying for the day when I can see you.
    Gazan woman: Me too
    Israeli woman: I spoke to XXXX. (A mutual friend living on the West Bank) She is terrified
    Gazan woman: Oh really
    Israeli woman: That things will happen on the West Bank
    Gazan woman: YYYY (Another West Bank friend) contacted me
    Israeli woman: Yes?
    Gazan woman: She was very supportive. I haven't heard from XXXX.
    Israeli woman: She is scared
    Gazan woman: That's the thing, I mean why can't they our people understand that we can be really good friends? Living by each other
    Israeli woman: Extremism my love. She has the children of extremists in her (facebook) XXXX is terrified of contact even with me
    Gazan woman: I do too That's why I can't add you on Facebook. I hope you understand
    Israeli woman: I know and I do…I wish I could send you food or clothes for the kids
    Gazan woman:Oh that's very nice of you. Thanks
    Israeli woman: I did it for my son. They posted him near Gaza for a while. I would do it for you. My children are your children . The problem is that the UN are a bit... unreliable sometimes
    Gazan woman:I know
    Israeli woman: omg i cannot even begin to imagine your frustration and pain
    Gazan woman:People are suffering here because of their unreliability
    Israeli woman: I know exactly what you are talking about. Do you have the Red Cross there?
    Gazan woman:Yes
    Israeli woman: Are they OK? Or the same as the UN?
    Gazan woman: Kind of
    Israeli woman: Hmmm
    Gazan woman: They are limited too
    Israeli woman: I understand you
    Gazan woman: I tried contacting them, the thing is unless you are dead, or severely injured, they can't help
    Israeli woman: Who is responsible for giving out food? The UN?
    Gazan woman: Life of people is so cheap here. Yes the UN
    Israeli woman: Do you manage to get out during the cease fires? I think it is important for you to write. As I said it is good therapy. Write as much and as many times as you like.
    Gazan woman: I did once, I was going with my husband to get milk and diapers during a cease-fire, they targeted a nearby house and I was hit in the eye. I never went out since then
    Israeli woman: I can't get you out but I can definitely make you HEARD. What we need now is VOICES, real voices that want peace and not death to either side
    Gazan woman: Yes
    Israeli woman: I just spoke to my friend who lives near you. She sends you her love.
    Gazan woman: Oh please thank her for me
    Israeli woman: I will. So go sit now and write something. I will edit this conversation and give it to her - no names, no pictures.
    Gazan woman: Thank you
    Israeli woman: It's very important. Describe what you see, what you feel, your kids everything


    Gazan woman: Just pray for me to live enough to write


    Israeli woman: I am praying and I KNOW you will live through this. Be strong and be in touch with me whenever you like.

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