Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To: Citizen of the world

From: Pnina Karkokli, Or Yehuda

Before you attack us verbally, claiming that we are brutes and have no feelings; before you send another email or chat comment accusing the Israelis of being the problem; before you decide that we are the baddies and that everyone else is weak and helpless, I'd like to know if you are aware of the following:

When you were born, you left the hospital with flowers and gifts, newborns in Israel leave the hospital with gas masks and protective kits. While you learn how to draw and sing in kindergarten, children in Israel learn what to do when the air-raid siren goes off and where the nearest air-raid shelter is. When you celebrate your festivals and holidays, we are celebrating the fact that our enemies have not managed to destroy us throughout history.

At the age of 18 you enroll at university, we are drafted into the army and don't always reach the age of twenty. When you plan a vacation overseas and check out the beach and other attractions, we are checking out the security alerts at those very sites.

When you build a home in your country with a guest room and play room, we have to build a home with protected rooms.

When you go out for the evening, to a movie or restaurant, a hostess greets you at the entrance; we are greeted by a security guard who checks that no-one is trying to smuggle in a bomb and kill innocent civilians.

When you get on a bus in the morning on the way to work or to run errands, you are not anxious, looking around to see if any of the other passengers are suspicious. When you travel around your wonderful country, you are not worried that suddenly, out of nowhere, you might be ambushed.

Your 87-year old grandfather was a soldier in the last war that your country fought, I have already fought in four wars, and I am only 37.

But this is our reality and we have no problem with it. We never complain and we expect no pity. There were better times when we hoped to see peace, but when, in the twenty-first century, heads of state publicly declare that they would like to wipe the Jewish state off the map, I believe that we will have no choice but to continue living this reality for many more years.

So, when you sit in your wonderful, peaceful country and occasionally hear news from the Middle East, please just do me a favor:' don't even try to think that you genuinely know who is right and who is not. And if you still want to gain a better understanding, please feel free to come and live here for a while, and then we'll talk.

Pnina Karkokli

Published in "Gal Geffen", local newspaper, on Jan, 15, 2009

No comments: