”I had a pretty normal childhood, apart from the fact that I spent my last year in kindergarten carrying a gas mask”


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.]

An Israeli

Teenage girl about the army

Letter from Israel: ABOUT THE ARMY.

So, I’m a 17 year old Israeli. I’m a regular teenager. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and I came to Israel when I was 8.

In a year and a half I’ll go to the army. After finishing high school, EVERYONE, every young man and woman in Israel that turn 18 must go to the army. Only if you have a medical problem you don’t have to go… While young people all over the world goes to college and start a career, we need to defende our country, for 2 years (girls) and 3 years (boys). So for those who think that we are having fun in this Arabs-going-to-kill-us situation, it’s not like that. I will go to the army, of course. I want to go, but nobody asked me if I really like to.

I just wanted to say that. After all most of the soldiers in Israel are teenagers. KIDS, who just graduated from high school.

Want to write a ’letter’ about your army experiences? 
Send it to lettersfromisraeltosweden@gmail.com. 

”You wouldn’t accept an entire Jewish nation into your country, would you?”

My name is Hadar. I am a musician from Israel.
I’m not sure why I felt the need to write this letter but here it is.
I know what the Swedish people think of our country. I have a feeling if you knew what we hear about you, your ears would be burning. But this is how the world works… People with interests blindfold us into thinking we know what goes on on the other side of the ocean. Their interest is to divide the world and turn us against each other.

When a pro-palestinian organization decides to boycott Israel’s culture, he doesn’t realize this makes no difference for the governments at all. The only people that get hurt are exactly that: the people (the same people who posted a mass campaign titled: ”We love you Iran, we would never bomb you”) and let me assure you, if it does happen (god help us all) it won’t be because we are bloodthirsty people.

Let me give you a different perspective on things: in WW2 the Jewish people were almost wiped out by humans. Not by hurricanes, or earthquakes. Humans…
When the war was over, it was obvious we wouldn’t go back to Germany, Poland, Ukraine etc. So we came to Israel. You wouldn’t accept an entire Jewish nation into your country, would you? And yes, people lived here while we were away (for 2000 years)… but the world was built by immigrants. And so did we. We built this country and made it to the developed country that it is.
If you came here to see both sides, you would see how complex this conflict is. It’s not black or white, do or die, leave or be kicked out. For the most part, we do what we need to protect ourselves, it’s the most basic right for a nation. Isn’t it?

In every country in the world, there will be radicals who will bring disasters on its nation. You don’t seem to think the war in Darfur is as terrible as the conflict in Israel, however there has been a genocide going on in Darfur for years!! We even give shelter for their refugees…
And you’re right, sometimes we are just wrong. Like your government, like any country who has any conflict. But to judge an entire nation because of YOUR media’s propaganda is as unfair as convincing bands to cancel their shows in Israel or not accept Israeli acts to world events. What does music or art in general have to do with political views??

I can only urge you to open your eyes, don’t believe everything you hear, open your mind to other possibilities and maybe you’ll realize what you think you know is so far from the truth.. We are gay friendly (Tel Aviv is the most liberal city in the world), we offer our assistance for any country who needs it (fires, earthquakes, tsunamis), we send our doctors to return eye sight for thousands of blind men, women and children in far away villages around the world, we develop technologies that would help our next generation. So it can’t all be bad right?

I wish us all peaceful times and great music 🙂

Just a musician

”A neighbour threw stones at me, shouting: ’Jew, go home!’ My parents took his advice and we came Home – to Israel”

Hello Kim!

My name is Adriana and I was born in Argentina.
When I was about four, the Six-Day War took place and a neighbour of mine (not very nice indeed) threw stones at me, shouting: ”Jew, go home!”
My parents took his advice and we came Home – to Israel.
I grew up here, went to the army, got married, raised a family…

Today Israel is my home, my daughter’s home, my family’s and my friends’ home – my whole life.
Like many Israelis it came with a price: family members killed in wars, lost friends, and a life that for some people around the world may seem crazy. And yet – this is home.
Imagine for yourself, the feeling of someone who finally comes home and his neighbours want him to leave – or in their words: ”throw you to the sea”…
And yet – because this is home (and always has been, as my neighbour said), we don’t intend to go anywhere.
Sorry folks, we are here to stay!
And now, that we made this clear, we can start talking…

Sincerely yours,

”Before you say one more thing about Israel – come here!”

Hej kära vänner!

So… Originally I wanted to write this letter in Swedish, but I gave up on the idea since my Swedish is far from being perfect and since I want to convey my message as coherent as I can.

I read some of the letters here, and they’re very touching letters about the conflicts here in Israel and about the terror attacks and all of the threats we are dealing with from all of our neighbors. Unfortunately, our neighbors are not Norway, Finland and Denmark, to say the least :-).
I do have a lot to say about the political aspects, about the European hypocrisy and the ”human rights” activists, who are falling into the trap of Hamas and terror organizations. I have a family in the South of Israel, and my brother spent his birthday in a shelter, and in general I have much to say about the conflict.


I don’t want to focus on the negative and problematic sides, but on the positive ones. Because that’s how I am. I guess that most Israelis and Jews are like that – ”everything will be alright” (”Allt ordnar sig”). Maybe because my people have been through so much…

In order to truly understand the mentality, the way of thinking, the culture, the conflict and all what you might thought or heard in the news about Israel – you just have to come here. There were so many people who completely changed their mind about Israel after visiting. There is so much ignorance in the Western world in the Israeli subject, it’s just unbelievable. In my four visits in Sweden, there were Swedes who thought the language we speak is Jerusalem, some thought that Israel is in Africa and were surprised to see that I’m white; others thought women have to work with their faces covered, and so on. The only way to fight that ignorance is to come, see by yourselves and tell your friends the truth. Så kom!

Before I tell you what Israel is for me, I’ll tell you a bit about myself. My name is Dan, I’m 21 years old and I live in Tel Aviv. I was born in Moscow and my parents immigrated to Israel when I was one year old. I grew up in Be’er Sheva, a city in the South of Israel. I moved to Tel Aviv just after high school because I got accepted to Law studies at Tel Aviv University. This year I’m finishing the fourth and last year of my degree, and afterwards I go to the army to work in the law unit there. I speak Hebrew, English, Russian, Spanish (from TV shows I watched when I was a kid) and some Swedish. My romance with Sweden started a long time ago, in the beginning with the Eurovision and the Melodifestivalen. Since March 2009, I visited Sweden 4 times and also started studying the language. I really like your country, the culture, the people, the music and even the weather (probably it’s the Russian genes…).

But anyway, we are here to talk about Israel. Do you remember Mika’s song, ”Grace Kelly”? It has a sentence – ”I could be brown, I could be blue…”- If someone would ask me what the magic of Israel is, and why people fall in love with it, I would answer, without any doubt, that it is its diversity.

Israel can be the Holy Land, with all of the sacred places for Jews, Christians and Muslim people and you can feel the Holy Spirit in the different holidays, as well as during the weekends in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Safed, and more. Jewish Rabbis are praying in the Western Wall, Priests and nuns are walking down Via Dolorosa road in the old city of Jerusalem, and Muslims are looking at the beauty of the Dome of the Rock. If there is a G-d watching us from above, he is definitely overlooking at Jerusalem and the holy places.

But at the same time, alongside with the religion and the tradition, we can see at the same Jerusalem city bars and pubs and night clubs, celebrating the miracle of life until dawn. If you go a bit west you will find Tel Aviv, the most liberal city in the Middle East. With endless night life, it earned the name ”the city that never sleeps”. Pride parades, amazing beaches and a beautiful port, big club scene, Parties – all of those contributed to the image that Tel Aviv got – young, funky and maybe a bit of a crazy city!

Israel is known for also other unique places: The Dead Sea, where you can lie down and relax. Go in the footsteps of the heroes in Masada, explore the Negev desert (and the craters there – a night walk in the desert with all the stars above is an amazing experience!), look at what is left in Caesarea, use Israel’s ski resort (yes, we also have snowy mountains) in the Hermon Mountain, swim in the sea of Galilee, enjoy the water in the Mediterranean sea all across it’s shore – including Haifa and the outstanding Baha’i gardens, dive and swim with dolphins in the Red Sea, in the beach of Eilat, Israel’s southern city, and much more.

It has everything for everyone: different religions trips, families, young travelers, adventurous people, straight, gay, and practically – each and every one of you will fall in love with Israel and will find what he likes. We truly made the desert blossom. Once you also meet the people and communicate and listen – you can understand the truth and the beauty of it. You can find a lot of information and pictures once you search the stuff I put in bold online, but I also made a collage that shows the different extraordinary places in Israel.

This is Israel

Other than the different cities and religions in Israel, another aspect of this diversity is the diversity in languages, people and ethnicities from all around the world. In every corner you will find a mix of a truly Moroccan spirit, the Polish or ”Yiddishe Mame”, French accent, flags of Russia, Hungarian Kiortosh, Egyptian pride, American youngsters, Argentinian meat and ”Assado”, and much more. The reason is of course the gathering of all of the Jews around the world in this small country. I think that makes life much more interesting. People from different backgrounds, with different mentalities meet, know each other and even get together. It can also be very funny and amusing, when for example a Russian lady tries to find her way in the line to a Falafel store. No wonder it’s called the ”Melting Pot” of the Israeli society!

The diversity is also shown in political views; from very right political parties, to the most left. There is a joke about Jews – ”Two Jews, three opinions”. It seems that you can’t describe the Israeli inner political conflicts in a better way. As a democracy, Israel allows all inoffensive opinions to be expressed (with Arab Muslims in the parliament). That’s why also a lot of political parties rise and fall; because they had the illusion they could unite most of the people into one opinion. Due to the different background and mentality of every person, it’s almost impossible.

In any case, please, before you say one more thing about Israel, or before you judge Israel because of something you heard in the media, come here. We’ll show you around. 🙂

I will be happy to get in contact with you, if someone also plans to come or just to ask any question – you can find me on Facebook (Dan Erukhimovich).

Shalom och hej,