Shoshana Lavan

To be Lions amongst Sheep

The organisation 'Standing Together' giving out roses and cookies in Nahariya hospital

The sheep are trying to lead the ‘lambs’ to the slaughter.

My dad always told me the majority of people are stupid. I never used to believe him. But recently I’m not so sure. I feel completely astounded, and heartbroken, not only by the tragedy that was enacted upon us just four weeks ago, but also by so many people’s reaction.

Let me ask you some questions.

  • Do you know where Gaza, the West Bank and the settlements are on the map?
  • Do you know the part Britain played in Israel’s formation?
  • Do you know that up until the 1960s, there was no such place as ‘Palestine’ and the Palestinians were the Jews?
  • Are you familiar with Hamas’ charter?
  • Do you know the different cities in Israel, their attitude towards and treatment of the Israeli Arabs?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then you are in no position to judge Israel’s actions in this period of history, to write anything about it, or to join the thousands of voices who also, let’s face it, probably can’t answer any of these questions.

An old UK student reached out to me this week. She wanted to express her pain at everything that is happening, and I thanked her and said not only was it hard to accept and live with the atrocity that has happened to us here in Israel, but to also recognise the suffering of the innocent civilian Gazans. She agreed with me wholeheartedly and informed me that was why she has been going on marches. I asked her to clarify exactly which marches. She said the ones where they are calling for a ceasefire and an end to the war crimes, the ‘war crimes’ Israel is inflicting on Gaza by going to war with them. I tried to keep calm, and politely reminded her of the actual war crimes that were inflicted inside Israel on October 7th.  She replied how she doesn’t condone violence on either side. I took another deep breath. “If we have a ceasefire now, do you know what Hamas will do? Are you aware of their charter? You need to be very careful asking for something which could cause terrible consequences in the future.”

She replied, “Thank you for saying this. I will do more thinking on this….I don’t think I’m fully in the know with what will happen in the long term with Hamas.”

I appreciate her honesty. I appreciate the chance I have to help her understand better. But I am struggling, I have to admit. I am struggling with understanding the crater Hamas has made in my certainty in the goodness of humanity, and I am standing deep inside the crater, hearing many voices outside, strangers, friends and even family, telling me that evil should somehow be allowed to continue. That’s all a permanent ceasefire will accomplish.

Let me try to enlighten you. If the Germans had had social media back in the second world war, we would have also seen horrific images of their suffering. Innocent Germans suffering. Whole cities being bombed. Hundreds of thousands of homes demolished. An entire country, brought to its knees. But the alternative would have been unthinkable. Not to ensure the destruction of the Nazis, a national regime of terrorists who wanted to take over the world and make it all Aryan. Unthinkable!

Hamas are terrorists who want, not only the death of all Jews, but to Islamise the entire world. Did you know that? And, while we’re on the subject, do you know the difference between Hamas, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs?

In the North, where I live, I have been to four events in the past week with my Arab friends and neighbours, both Muslim and Christian. We went to Nahariya hospital to give out flowers and cookies to the Jewish and Arab staff of the hospital, who told us they are like a family. We’ve been to Kfar Manda, our neighbouring Arab town, to sit together as Jews and Arabs and reiterate our friendship and the fact we are all feeling this pain together. Two people from their town are currently being held hostage, another thirty something are fighting in the Israeli army. We went to an event of ‘Standing Together’ one of the many peace organisations I belong to, and sat in a room, fifty of us, Jews and Arabs, eating, discussing, arguing, laughing and sharing our hopes for peace. And finally, just yesterday, near our home, we met people from all our neighbouring Arab towns and villages, sat with them and wrote and painted giant signs which say: “Good neighbours also in difficult times”.

By God, the Arabs here, like the Jews, are scared, want peace, and want the murderers, from both sides – I mean Hamas and the most extreme of the settlers in the West Bank –  to be wiped out, once and for all.

The amount of Facebook comments we receive, saying this is something people abroad never hear about. What else do you people abroad never hear about?

We have so much information now on the internet, we think we know everything. But in some ways, it makes us even more stupid. It makes us unwilling to listen to the people who really know, who live the pain and suffering, who are a part of it and are a part of its solution.

So I can tell you this, my friends. It’s no longer the 1940s. These ‘lambs’ are lions. They are roaring with pain, outrage, suffering and strength. They are roaring with the words: Never Again. And they will wipe out Hamas, once and for all, and there will come a day when the lion lies down peacefully with the lamb (and the sheep). And finally, the day after tomorrow, the sheep will all be thankful for the existence of the State of Israel.

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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