If you are reading this, first of all thank you! It means you care, and it means you show interest in what I have to say.
I’m thanking you because it’s so hard to find people willing to listen. Today everyone thinks they know everything, and then they don’t want to listen, or even worse, they don’t want to talk.
I will not mention my name for privacy reasons but I will tell my story. I am an Israeli, I love Israel, it is my home, I was born here and so were my parents. My grandparents however were born in Poland, running away from the horrors of the holocaust. They made it to Israel to rebuild their ancestors’ home again (yes! Israelis are originally from Israel!!!). When I was young my mom told me: ”I hope that by the time you’ll be 18 there will be peace and you won’t need to go to the army”, she told that to my brothers as well and my grandparents told it to my parents, and we are still hoping.
Hoping for peace.
I had a pretty normal childhood, apart from the fact that I spent my last year in kindergarten carrying a gas mask and running for shelter from missiles shot at my city (Iraq bombarding Israel in the Gulf War) needless to say this still occurs in many cities in Israel, only this time the missiles are coming from Gaza and Lebanon. As a teenager I was afraid to take the bus because so many people have lost their lives in terror attacks on buses. In high school our class trips have been secured by security men and sometimes even canceled due to terror threats.
When I was recruited to the army I first encountered the conflict, from the first moment we were taught what it means to be a solider, to protect, to serve and and to be responsible for the safety of the people around you: soldiers and civilians, Israelis and Palestinians, I never shot or hurt anyone, but I was shot at, bombs left on my way and terrorist have tried passing our posts only to attack or explode innocents in Israel. I hated every moment of it, I mean, who would like it? But I did it, because I had to protect my family and loved ones.
I, like many others in Israel, want peace, I don’t want to fear taking the bus, or run to shelters every time I hear a siren, I want to be able to visit Arab countries and live next to an Arab family without being afraid for my safety.
De senaste 4 år bor jag med min flickvän som är svenska, på den här tiden jag besökt Sverige massa gånger. Och jag älskar Sverige, men varje gång när jag försöker prata med en svensk om Israel känner jag att han/hon vill inte prata eller tror att Israel är en fruktansvärt plats. Jag bara ber er, försök lyssna till israeler också, läs nyheter på israelska websidor, inte bara på Aftonbladet och DN. Och om ni träffar någon från Israel, bli inte rädd – vi är ganska snälla. Och om du vill ha en semester, kom till Israel ni kommer inte ångra det.
[The past four years I have been living with my Swedish girlfriend and during this time I have visited Sweden many times. And I love Sweden, but every time I try to talk to a Swede about Israel, I feel that he/she doesn't want to talk, or believes that Israel is a horrible place. I beg of you, try to listen also to the Israelis and read news on Israeli news sites, not just Aftonbladet and DN. And if you meet someone from Israel, don't be afraid - we are pretty friendly. And if you need a vacation - come to Israel. You won't regret it.]