Shoshana Lavan

For Ammar

Four year old Ammar Muhammad Hujayrat who was killed by gunfire in Bir al-Maksur (Photo courtesy of Times Of Israel)

Our presents

Thank you that you’ve come,
they kept saying,
Todah sh’batem, Todah sh’batem
as though our presence was a gift.

But in truth the only gifts we have given
are guns.

Todah sh’batem, Todah sh’batem 

I went to the top of the hill
and I saw everything
in a moment.

I saw how their anger
has misfired.
I saw how they want to be heard.

I saw them walking to the top of the hill
trying to kill each other.

Todah sh’batem, Todah sh’batem

But instead,
his child was dead.

Shoshana Lavan, 10/01/2022

This poem is for four-year-old Ammar Muhammad Hujayrat who was killed by a bullet in a volley of gunfire, in a gunfight taking place at a construction site on a hill just above a playground.

His Aunt managed just in time to save the four other children who were playing there, but could not save him. She blames herself; she is distraught.

She was a heroine.

Moments before Ammar was killed, he was playing happily with his family. This is the last memory they have of him, and they showed it to us, caught on video.

He was the eldest boy in his family, and now he is dead.

The only thing we could do immediately was go and visit the family – which we did today: people from our kibbutz, and from the peace organisations to which we belong.

The family told us through their tears we had already done enough just by visiting them.

I responded, through my own tears, that we had done nothing.

But we will.

Through our peace organisations, we will work to make sure violence like this does not happen in our Arab towns.

I do believe in God, and yet…

I don’t understand why things like this happen.

I don’t understand why things like this happen in a country where things like this are not supposed to happen.

All I understand is one day, soon, we will make sure things like this cannot happen again.

About the Author
Shoshana Lavan is a published author, high school teacher of English Literature and Language, teacher of English as a foreign language and most importantly, a very proud mother of her gorgeous little boy. She is a peace activist and a committed vegan. A keen runner, she adores the mountains and glorious sunshine in this wonderful country.
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