”My story of growing up in Judea and Samaria”

Hello Kim,

I’m a huge fan of yours and I adore your help to the Israeli people against the Palestinian lies and anti-semitic claims against us.

I wanted to share my story with the world, Sweden and you.

Well, I was born to my parents (duh), who emigrated from the collapsed Soviet Union in 1992. Well, my mother and her family (her, my uncle, my grandfather, my grandmother and my great-grand mother) arrived in Israel in 1992 from the Ukraine, and my father, searched for his love (my mom) that left him to go to Israel. He came here in 1993. They got married and everything, and because of my Zionist grandfather, Boris Korover, who wanted to help settle the land, they arrived to Homesh (a now destroyed town in northern Samaria, that was destroyed by the Sharon administration in the 2005 disengagement plan). Then, in 1996, I was born. Everything was pretty okay. Although my family had to work double shifts, half-time jobs and everything, to support themselves, we were happy.

That was my world. I was innocent. I thought there were no problems on this earth. I had no reason hating anyone, so why should anyone hate me?

Then, on June 11, 2001, my grandfather took his daily trip to work (he was an electrician). He, as usually, drove to Netanya. A truck appeared behind him. My grandfather respected the traffic laws and drove 60 km/h. The trucker drove past him. He drove next to the side of a mountain. The truck suddenly appeared again, driving back, but on my grandfather’s lane (!!). The truck crashed into my grandfather harshly, and he died instantly. The trucker was a Palestinian driving a truck full of explosives that he was about to detonate in the Netanya mall. He thought he could kill one Jew before he did his act, but the truck went off the road and the Palestinian terrorist abandoned it. In his death, my grandfather basically saved hundreds of lives, but paid for it with his own.

The terrorist later was captured, admitted he murdered my grandfather, escaped, and committed suicide for ”the Glory of Palestine”.

It happened when I was 5 years old. When my mother told me about that incident, unlike my brother, who cried his eyes out for days, I just took my grandfather’s glasses, stood next to the window and waited for him to come back home. He never did. I’m crying a little bit when I’m writing this, so you’ll have to excuse me.

That was the moment when I understood that people hate me, not because I am a bad person, or I did something to them, but because I’m a Jew.

My grandfather never did, not even once, an illegal or a disloyal thing in his life. He was a man of honor, of ideology, of truth and of peace. And yet, even being such a great man, the Palestinians are indifferent. They will murder the best person in the world, only because he is a Jew.

Then there was the evacuation plan of 2005, from the Katif block and northern Samaria. Homesh was one of the largest towns in northern Samaria. And again I failed to understand, why would my government destroy my home and kick me out, although I did nothing wrong. Why should I leave all my friends and the house I grew up in, just because?

Concluding all of that, is the same questions: Why do people hate me? Why do they not want me to exist? Because I am a bad person? Because I did wrong to them? And there is only one answer to these questions: Because I am a Jew.

Yakov.

A letter from an Israeli grandma

Dear Kim,

By chance I learnt about your Blog on The Times of Israel and I am writing to thank you for taking this important initiative. Your words of love and understanding are like a beacon at the end of a very long and dark tunnel!

To me as an Israeli I feel that one of the most frightening things in our world is the appalling anti-Israel sentiment which exists throughout much of the European and British media. To that we can certainly add influential American media, like The New York Times, where the obsession with “nasty Israel” is pathological. Obviously this hasn’t happened overnight but as a result of an extensive and very expensive campaign by the Arab nations over many years. They use American and European Advertising agencies, infiltrate trade unions, the Universities and other important centres in the UK and Europe and it has reached a stage where many decent people who don’t consider themselves anti-Semitic are unable to remember how this political situation started, who caused the wars and which side refuses to negotiate a final settlement.

The Arab leaders, unwilling to take responsibility for their non acceptance of the UN Partition in 1947 and the subsequent war and refugee problem, have kept the poor refugees as pawns in a vicious political game whilst Israel welcomed nearly one million refugees from the Arab lands. The situation was worsened in 1967 which must be the classic just war, where a tiny nation faced annihiliation and won.

I can remember the 1967 war, as a young mother with a 6 month old daughter and a husband fighting in a tank unit on the front. I can remember the 1973 war, now with three small children and again the same husband serving on the Syrian and Egyptian front with the tanks. I never thought then that we would reach the year 2012 without a settlement but that is the case and it is very sad indeed.

I am not blind to Israel’s mistakes and personally am opposed to the current settlement policies and the ongoing financial funding over the green line whilst so many projects and people within Israel don’t receive the support they deserve and need. To me the indiscriminate building on the West Bank is just a waste of public money and doesn’t strengthen us one little bit. However we need to respect every government even if we didn’t vote for it!

The people opposing Israel don’t seem to understand that there are many Israelis who yearn for a peaceful solution but choose to punish anyone just because he carries Israeli nationality. The recent effort to boycott the performances of our national theatre, Habima, at the Shakespeare Festival is a perfect example of this attempt to blame every Israeli for our so-called crimes. I often wonder if the eminent actor Emma Thompson, who was a co-signer of the letter demanding the boycott, feels personally responsible for the actions of the British army in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they murdered and maimed countless Muslims. Should she be boycotted outside Britain because of the actions of her army?

Kim – again I thank you for your kind words and intentions. Even if your Blog influences only a few people and encourages them to rethink their attitude towards this political conflict, it will be worthwhile.

With best wishes,

Ruth, an Israeli grandma

”The state of Israel had to be founded in order to protect us, the Jews, from the world”

I’m writing these lines while watching the news. Listening to the reporter saying there has been a terror attack against Israelis in Bulgaria. For now, it says 7 innocent people have lost their lives. The numbers will probably, unfortunately, increase.

Israelis and Jews around the world have always been a favorite target for the radical Islamic terror organizations.

I’m thinking about all the people who say: ”the terror against Jews is only because of the occupation”. They say that if the state of Israel didn’t exist (on occupied Palestinian land), there won’t be terror and hatred against Jews around the world.

Well, I guess I wasn’t aware of the fact that the Israeli occupation existed also during the holocaust, for example. Of course there had been many other events of hate towards Jews, but I’m taking the holocaust as a major argument to that claim.

I find that claim, that the existence of Israel is the reason for the hate – ridiculous, and also insulting.

The state of Israel had to be founded in order to protect us, the Jews, from the world. We needed a country that will stand up for us and protect us, because no other country did when we were being slaughtered in Europe. No other country stood up for us and shouted about one of the most horrible crimes against humanity throughout the history of mankind.

I find myself thinking a lot about the unjust hate towards us. It breaks my heart to see how Israel is being reviewed in the international media, being criticized in every opportunity.

The percentage of the Jewish people in the world is about 0.2%. The percentage of the Arab population in the world is about 23%.

And yet, Jews and Israelis are making such a big contribution to the world. Whether it’s the Nobel prizes some of us receive in medicine, science, economy, math and more; whether it’s the Israeli High-Tech companies, which contributes to the progress of technology around the world and much more.

Islam, which is supposed to be ”the religion of peace”, stands as a contradiction to the Jewish and Christian religions. They hate, they terror, the kill innocent people only because of their beliefs, their way of life and their religion.

How can the world be so blind to the truth? This thought keeps harassing me. I can’t understand that.

There is a sentence I heard once, and I believe it’s true:
”The Arabs have passion for death, as much as the Jews have for living”.

We love life. We cherish our lives and even our enemies’ lives. We think that the gift of life is the most sacred thing there is. And we will keep believing and longing for a better future for us. Because we love life and we will never give up.

I also wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all the support you give us.
It gives us strength and optimism.

Bless you, friend.

Segev Moses.

Poem Submission from Toronto, Canada

That Kotel Moment

You long for that feeling.

That feeling.

You know, the one you are

Supposed

To feel in Israel.

Immersed in the antiquity and history of

Your people.

The feeling of harmony with the

Yemenite store owner,

Hardworking kibbutz-nik,

And random black hatter strolling on Ben Yehudah.

All enveloped under our Jewish state that we fought so hard to obtain.

These casual encounters should be enough.

Right?

You know, to have that feeling.

Truth be told: this did not truly suffice.

The Kotel was the place that defined that “expected” feeling.

Constantly reminding you that you are home.

A feeling that sends shivers up and down your body,

Reaching every last nerve,

Adequate enough to send you a startling jolt.

Making your heart palpitate as if you had just witnessed a ghost or a miracle.

But in fact, that is exactly what you have just observed.

The ghost is the spirit of your beloved lost grandfather (your Zidy to be exact).

He approaches you for that brief yet substantial moment as if he were there,

Standing with you,

Gripping onto that sacred wall with such might as if it were the

End of the world around us.

A moment so brief that when retelling the magic that just occurred,

The tale seems like an utter

Exaggeration.

But far from a fabrication it was.

A miracle did in fact ensue at the Kotel.

Those countless, ordinary stones bound together by the Jewish people’s

Past struggles.

And future celebrations,

Reunited you and your Zidy (the Yiddish word for grandfather),

For that brief,

Yet life-altering moment.

Thus,

You finally felt that feeling you were longing for.

You know, the one you are

Supposed

To feel in Israel.

Jessica Pollock