It started with 18 years of rockets.
Then all of the years of tunnel infiltration, and the past eight months of kite and balloon arson- watching our south burn.
And then, after a weekend of bombardment, a few bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, nerve-frazzled teachers came to school in Shar Hanegev and said: ENOUGH! There was an entire program developed: to have two types of school the following week: a school that would study as usual, and a school that would march to the capital. Despite the fact that official permission from “above”, was not granted, the kids – just as bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived and nerve-frazzled as their teachers from the weekend of rocket violence, took it from there.
150 left the Western Negev on Sunday, November 4th, for their trek to Jerusalem. They planned and organized, and ran their own tight ship. They received massive support from their parents, their communities, their teachers (unofficially, after hours) and the country. On the third day of their march, students and schools and companies and individuals wore black and bombarded social media with #black_south messages of support for them and for all of us who live down here.
150 left the Western Negev and five days later they blossomed into thousands. Six thousand people joined them, some on the way, some for the final rally in the Rose Garden in front of the Knesset, ending their 100 kilometer trek, welcomed to Jerusalem by President Rivlin, himself.
All they want is the “luxury” of being able to grow up with the same safety and security that kids in the rest of the country have.
The biggest take away, which I heard in one of the speeches delivered at the end by one of the young participants is: “The youth have a voice, and it is powerful!” Even if they learned nothing more than this, it was worth all the effort. This was the end of the march, but hopefully only the beginning of more involvement of our youth in our lives here in the Gaza Envelope, on the Gaza border.
Turn up the volume.
(And YES – it WAS as amazing as it looks here!)