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A letter to my dear friends abroad

Hello dear friends,

How are you? I hope you are all well.

I would really like sharing with you my experience of the 7th of October.

Perhaps you are tired of hearing about this massacre, considering its impact on your countries as well.

However, in these dark times, and as an Israeli-Jewish woman, whose late ancestors came from Muslim countries (very white supremacy of me…), I feel an obligation to speak up for my people and share my experience, at least with my friends.

In this letter, I will not delve into the atrocities of the 7th of October, the rape of women that was met with silence  by the UN, the 136 hostages that are still being held by Hamas, the tearing down posters of kidnapped Israelis (How does that help to “Free Palestine” exactly?), or the entire anti- Semitic atmosphere in the world nowadays.

What I will write about, is my very personal experience of this cursed day and my point of view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I will also try to give both, myself and you, a glimpse of hope, as without it we are doomed.

October 7th

Saturday. 08:30 am. First siren in Jerusalem is piercing the quietness of our holy day’s morning.

Me and my roommate, groggy from sleep, are trying to understand the situation, running as quickly as possible to the basement to find shelter.

My immediate question to my next door neighbor– Is that an operation in Gaza?

No, he replies.

“This is something bigger. Hamas broke the fence and tons of terrorists are invading homes in the southern towns and a rave party that apparently took place in the area. I have watched some horrific footages via telegram, taken from Hamas terrorists body cameras’, of how they butcher people. This is insane”.

When the siren ends, another one goes off and another one. Going back and forth from the apartment to the basement for approximately 6 times.

Following the final siren, we watch TV. The residents of the south phone call the news anchor whispering that there are terrorists inside their homes, telling that some of their family members were brutally murdered in front of their eyes, while crying and trying to remain silent to avoid the terrorists’ attention.

The repetitive question that rises is: “Where is the IDF?”.

October 5th night

At that night, I had a nightmare, in which I was in a school, and while I was chatting with my friend, tons of Palestinian terrorists stormed in and slaughtered people. I managed to run away.

It might sound like I predicted the future, but I don’t claim that.

The fact that this nightmare invaded my dreams points to something else— I am traumatized.

Israelis are traumatized.

We are traumatized by the wars that are imposed on us, by the thousands of young man and women sent to the IDF and never come back or suffer from PTSD. Yet above all, we are mostly traumatized by the ENDLESS * amount of terror attacks, stabbing attacks, bus bombing attacks, wars, sirens etc. You never know when and where the next terror attack will catch you, whether in a bus or any other public space.

(By the way did you know that the first major massacre of Jewish people in the land of Israel occurred in 1929 by Arabs – 19 years prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, and long before local Arabs identified themselves as Palestinians).

All terror attacks are horrific, but only two of them touched me the most.

In 2016, a 17 year old Palestinian terrorist invaded a home in Kiryat Arba and stabbed to death a 13 year old girl while she was asleep. Her name was Hillel Yafa Ariel, may her soul rest in peace.

The second terror attack was in 2019, in which Ori Ansbecher, a 19 year old girl, was listening to music and writing in her journal, at Jerusalem forest, when a Palestinian terrorist who passed by stabbed and raped her to death.

I believe these terror attacks touched me because of the simple fact that the victims were girls and young women. Before identifying myself as Jewish/Israeli/Middle Eastern, I am a woman first. Bearing in mind the way they were murdered, the surprise, the rape – is terrifying.

I always wonder – what were the victims feeling in those horrific moments?

Did they think they could survive?

Did they even get the chance to think during this awful situation?

Did they fight back?

And most importantly – what brings a 17 year old Palestinian, a teenager, to stab to death a 13 year old girl while she is asleep?

At this point, you might wonder whether I portrait Israelis as weak or poor in this conflict.

My answer would be – not at all.

I recognize that the IDF is one of the strongest armies in the Middle East, if not globally. I also recognize that Israel in general, is stronger than the Palestinians.

Therefore, the inevitable question is, if the IDF is so strong and Israel is stronger than the Palestinians, why is it that there are so many terror attacks?

The answer is the continuous brainwash that the Palestinians are going through.

From a very young age, Palestinians are taught that Israelis and Jews in general are colonialists (without of course mentioning the fact that the Jewish people are indigenous to this land). Palestinians are also taught that the ENTIRE land of Israel belongs to them. Therefore, any compromise of sharing this land, or a Two-State solution is non-negotiable. Becoming martyrs is their highest, ultimate goal (Explains the previous 17 year old Hillel’s murderer) which brings a lot of dignity and money to the murderer’s family. This propaganda is used both by Hamas and the Palestinian authority.

Consequently, the power of the IDF is never enough to target every single terror attack and it can not always predict whether a random Palestinian who works alongside Israelis wakes up in the middle of a regular work day, with the intention to grab a knife and kill Israelis.

———

Back to October 7th

The astonishing fact, in my point of view is that although the Palestinians know that Israel’s mission to eliminate Hamas would be in their benefit, a recent poll which was conducted by the Arab world research & development, indicates the huge support of Hamas’ massacre on October 7th by the Palestinians, both in Gaza and the West bank.

68.3% of the study subject, Palestinians who live in the West bank, Extremely support the attack while 46.6% of Palestinians in the Gaza strip, extremely support the attack as well.

In light of these dramatic percentages, I can’t help but wonder, what will our future look like? Endless bloodshed?

Yet, how can Israel reconciliate with a nation which its culture is profoundly embedded with extreme Islamist anti-Semitic ideology, and which has committed endless terror attacks since the early come-back of Jewish livelihood to this land?

How can Israel make peace with a nation that every moderated voice from within it, those who dare to normalize ties with Israel or G-d forbid, talk about peace – are shut down by brutal killing.

How can Israel make peace with people who are brainwashed to truly believe that the only solution is that Israelis will somehow vanish away or be thrown out to their past oppressive hostess countries?

=====================================================

Hatikvah – The hope

Although I am a B.A. graduate in Middle Eastern studies from the Hebrew University, I don’t have any clear nor consolidated solution to this conflict. Both known solutions such as the Two-State solution or annexation of Gaza and the West Bank – seem unrealistic these days. However, the potential pathway toward a resolution, in my perspective, involves moderate Palestinians (which I believe exist although they are a distinct minority), seeking ties with Israel, committing to removing terrorists from their society, and to living in co-existence. This will take a long road, but a road that must be taken.

Concerning Israelis, I am certain that their deep desire is to live in peace, but for most of us it seems impossible. In my perspective, once Israelis experience moderate Palestinian voices, they will follow along.

Regarding the trauma we are experiencing, I keep recalling myself and the world should too, this phenomenal fact – Israelis (and the Jewish people in general) have a remarkable ability to turn trauma into resilience. We have always been traumatized, and emerged from the (literal) ashes like a phoenix. History is our greatest proof for that. We have defeated Paroh, Persian, Spanish, Russian and Muslim executers throughout history, and above all, Hitler. Therefore, I am confident that we will defeat anyone who wants to eradicate us. Be it Palestinians terrorists, or pro-Palestinians in the U.S and Europe who dedicate their lives for the destruction of Israel.

Israelis will prevail, not because of our army, for thousands of years we did not have any army, but because of our spirit.

*The link embedded to the ENDLESS terror attacks committed by Palestinian terrorists, displays all terror attacks from the 1990’s – January 2024. There were thousands of terror attacks prior to the 90’s, which unfortunately, reinforces my argument that a comprehensive website documenting all such incidents is not feasible. The sheer volume of these attacks remains untraceable.

About the Author
Michal Amar is a graduate of B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Journalism from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Michal is eager to promote peace in the Middle East based on the common ground of Abrahamic faith, working to raise awareness of the rich culture and history of the Jewish people and Israel, and combatting anti-Semitism through social media and articles writing.
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