Kol HaTnua - Voice of the Movement This I Believe: Israel by Naama Sarfati-Magill

By Sharon Schoenfeld

This I believe, that Israel is complex. That in the middle of all the conflict, the main issue lies in a difference of narrative. An inherent contradiction between the way two groups of people tell a story.

I love Israel, and I would support it as a Zionist state to pretty much any end, but it has its issues. I love the culture in Israel. I love the food, the community, the feeling of being home. I believe in Israel but I also believe in peace in the Middle East. As a Jew living in New York, I have so much love for Israel. But, I also believe that if I were a Palestinian in a small village in Gaza being fed twisted (if not false) news, I would have a lot of rage directed toward Israel.

Since the creation of the State, Israel has had two very different stories being told. I think the best way to sum this up is how Yom Ha’atzmaut, “day of independence,” for Israelis/Jews, comes directly before the Nakhba, “day of catastrophe,” for Palestinians. It was a time of triumph for the Jewish people, the end to a long fight for a safe home where Jews would always be welcome. While for Palestinians, it marked them being pushed out of their home and lost.

Israel is filled with so much tension. It was built as a result of a very controversial series of events.

It is true, there are Arabs or Palestinians who want all Jews dead. Within the United states, there are Palestinians, or other people (possibly pro BDS) who want something along those lines as well. There are people who believe that the Israeli government is corrupt and oppressive. There are people who believe that Jews do not deserve a state. It is also true, that there are Jews who want all Palestinians dead. Within my own school and camp community, there are people who believe that Palestinians are evil. People who believe that they are all terrorists, that they do not deserve equality.

I believe in neither of these ideas. My idealistic self believes that there has to be a way to reach common ground. I believe that peace is possible

I’m not sure I have found find a fully articulated and coherent opinion on the current situation. I believe that the key to peace is conversation. The climate and tension in Israel is one which can only be solved through civil discourse, and personal relationships. I believe that both sides have dehumanized each other. They each refuse to look at each other for what they are, human beings, and moreover, individuals.

I believe facilitating civil conversation, active engagement with people who come from different backgrounds is what is needed. As I see most conflicts, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at its core boils down to misunderstandings. I believe that a resolution must start somewhere. That it can be in classrooms, over social media, or in the Knesset. For any sort of progress I believe each side must make an effort, to reach out and attempt to make a change, this I believe.

~ Naama is a 12th grader from Brooklyn, NY and is the Bogrim (teen) Programmer of the National Mazkirut of Young Judaea

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