Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

Shir laShalom

A peace conference in Tel Aviv, 1 July 2024. Courtesy: "Standing Together"/X

I was not physically at Menora Mivtachim Arena yesterday, July 2, 2024, but my restless and anxious soul was there. Every word spoken on that stage was an open wound, a mirror of our collective pain. The big screen cried: “It is time to reach an agreement. To stop the war. To make peace.” Those words resonated not only in the space but in the depths of my being, like a plea for times of tenderness and reconciliation.

The speeches, laden with devastating rawness, revealed the desperation of wounded souls. People who lost loved ones on the fateful October 7th laid bare their pain before everyone. With a choked voice, Maoz Inon declared: “On my journey, I learned that hope is not something you lose, find, or wait for until it finds you in a situation where you understand that. Hope is something you do.” I felt every word like a tight embrace that reminds us we are still alive and can dream together.

There, in the arena, thousands of Israelis, Jews, and Palestinians, all wounded but still standing, sought a new horizon. Among them were longtime peace advocates and new faces – young leaders, religious leaders, politicians. We may not agree on everything, but we agree on the urgent need to find a different path from war to a shared and safe future. I saw, through the eyes of my soul, hope blossoming amidst the devastation, like a stubborn sprout emerging from the rocks.

These new leaders, with the responsibility weighing on their shoulders, inspired everyone present and those who, like me, were there in spirit. We need to propose alternatives that break the cycle of bloodshed, for destiny is in our hands; it always has been. Ultimately, everyone united in a moving rendition of “Shir laShalom,” a peace anthem that evoked memories of the days after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t have heard it, but I can imagine the music with thousands singing. Every note seemed a painful reminder that, despite everything, peace is still possible.

The history of this conflict is marked by moments of pain and unexpected turns. Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty six years after the Yom Kippur War. Hearing this song of peace again, at this moment, I feel that perhaps this is one of those turning points where hope is reborn, fragile but insistent, like a flame refusing to be extinguished.

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari brought a brutally simple truth that touched my soul deeply: “War is not a law of nature – it is a human choice.” At any moment, we can choose differently and start making peace. “It’s true. We’ve tried to make peace before but weren’t very good at it. So what? We’re not good at making wars either, and that doesn’t stop us from waging one after another. All these wars have led us to the abyss. It’s time to give peace another chance,” he concluded, his words resonating as a call to awaken.

In the crowd, many nostalgically remembered the days under Yitzhak Rabin’s leadership, the golden era of the peace camp, as proof that a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians is still possible. Okay, I know what happened and even if it failed, at least we were seeking a new solution and not covering the sun with a sieve (in this case, a wall).

In every tear shed, in every shared embrace, my soul was there, feeling every thread of hope being woven. Hope is not a distant concept but an act of creation, of daily resistance. It was a reminder that, in the end, we, with our trembling hands and wounded hearts, shape tomorrow. In the fragility of the human lies the strength to build peace.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
Related Topics
Related Posts