HER STORY #72 - anonymous
I have been married for almost 35 years. I have three sons: One in a wheelchair, and who will begin his studies in being a tour guide this June at Haifa University. He uses a ventilator.
Another son is 18 ½ years old. He is currently doing his national service at the Rabin Pre-Military Academy at the Oranim College.
My youngest son is 15 years old, and he studies at high school.
I also had a daughter, who was supposed to have been 29 years old today. She was killed in a car accident, where my son got very injured as well.
The accident happened in 2002. Yesterday was the Hebrew date for it – on Jerusalem Day – so that is always how I remember it.
I had gone to visit my man [interviewee’s husband] at the hospital, and at the Agur intersection, I turned towards the direction of Nesher and the Carmel, when an Arab truck drive drove into us.
My daughter died on the operation table.
When my son was taken away from the intersection, a doctor did CPR on him but didn’t think that he would survive. When they told us that my daughter got killed, they said: “Prepare yourselves for a second funeral, because he won’t survive.” Thank God, he is alive, and although he is on a ventilator, he is able to move some of his fingers on his own, and he is active. Thank God.
He also graduated high school with excellence. In addition to this, he did two years of national service, and now he is going to study to become a tour guide at the university, which is revolutionary for people with special needs.
My son is the first to break limits: He is on a wheelchair, on a ventilator and not encouraged to go and study. That’s how society works. My son is actually the first person on a ventilator and in a wheelchair, who has done national service, and he might become the only one ever to do this.
There is nothing standing in the way of this kid, but it’s also partly because he has parents and brothers who help him succeed and to be integrated into society.
The accident happened on a Friday. An Arab truck driver from Umm al-Fahm drove into us. It could have been a Jewish truck driver of course.
This driver had 34 traffic offences.
He never came to apologize for killing my daughter and injuring my son. He also hurt me. I broke my pelvis in the accident. My other son got cuts on his hands, and he was small at the time.
This person [truck driver] was walking around in the Haifa port, when I used to work there (at Maersk) and saying that he had had a small accident. Stupid idiot! You killed a young girl, who was 13 years old, and you destroyed the life of someone, who was 8 ½ years old. Is that a small accident? He said this to all the drivers working at the Haifa port. They got angry with him and came to tell me about it.
There was a period, where I just wanted to send someone to kill him or to kill him by myself.
Although I don’t want to relate it to the fact that he is an Arab, I did feel like: Okay, that’s it.
[After the accident] we divided into two single-parent families. After having been in emergency care, my son was sent to a recovery hospital –Alin in Jerusalem, I stayed here with the young child, a 2 ½ years old child at the time. I also got pregnant with a broken pelvis at the age of 40, because otherwise I would have put a bullet in my head.
This person [truck driver] got two witnesses to lie for him, which apparently is very common within Arab society – paying someone to come and lie for you. These people said that I had crossed the intersection on red light.
So, one day I got an invitation to go to court, being accused of my daughter’s murder, and when I went to find out, what it was about, I was told that the act of buying witnesses was very common within the Arab community.
I had to place an ad around the neighborhood, asking for witnesses, and there was one woman from Yokne'am Illit, who confirmed to me: “Yes, I was right behind you, and you only crossed, when the light was green, and then he came, and he crossed, when the light was red, with a semi-trailer and two containers.” But she was scared of testifying, so she didn’t come.
I know of something that happened within the Arab community. A German tourist, who was in Wadi Ara drove into a girl and killed her.
It doesn’t matter, who died, whether it’s a young girl or man. Within the Arab tradition, the one who does such a thing has to give half a million shekels to the family of the victim. This poor guy didn’t know, where this was coming from, and he was told that if he didn’t pay, he would die. So he paid and went back to Germany.
I didn’t want this half million shekels. I just wanted him [truck-driver] to come and say: “Ma’am, I apologize for this.” But he never came to apologize.
Therefore, from that period on, I decided that I would never provide income for Arabs. So I don’t bring Arab physiotherapists to my son, although you have excellent ones among them. I won’t bring Arab nurses, although they also have excellent ones. Not one Arab will earn from the fact that my son was injured by an Arab.
It sounds awful, I know, and people have a tendency to call me a racist right away. So, call me a racist, although I don’t have anything against Arabs. A human being is a human being.
I do like the Arabic language. I read and write it. The Arab culture interests me as well, but I have some form of duality with the Arabs, who live here.
They live in the country. They enjoy their rights and privileges, but they don’t pay their dues, and at the same time, they wish to destroy the country.
Because I know the Arab culture, and I studied about Islam, I know that it’s all a big game, and that they talk about peace, but there won’t be peace here ever, especially not with this thing called Palestinian people. There is no such thing as “Palestinian people.” It’s fiction. It’s Arabs, who came here and assimilated here for generations and call themselves “Palestinian people.” If they wish to call themselves this, no problem.
I believe in people, who feel that it’s good for them to live under an Israeli government, and we have few of those “friends,” but they are scared, because they are a minority within a majority.
I don’t teach my children hate: to wake up in the morning and to kill Arabs. I teach them to wake up and to live in peace in spite of what I’ve been through – with this truck driver. They, on the other hand, they breastfeed hate of the Jews. Why?
Also, if we reached peace or a situation of non-war, it would still not work out, as they will always want to annihilate us. It’s not that I’m an anxious person. I just know this. The only good Arabs for us [Jews] are those, who live under the authority of the Israeli government.
Oil And Water
I don’t say that we don’t have to give them rights, but I don’t believe in living together. If you live under the Israeli authority, you have to be Israeli citizens, and you have to be loyal to the country.
With all the pain of pulling Jews out of settlement enclaves [in the West Bank], we have to do population transfers. Those who do not wish to live under an Israeli authority can be transferred to a country that they can establish, and then we can bring Jews here and completely disconnect: Two countries for two people. You don’t mix oil and water.
I live here, but my parents came from Iran, and the language is quite similar [to Arabic]. Although in Persian you have the “p” letter, which they [Palestinians] use so much in order to say “Palestine,” although they don’t have it.
In Iran, the people are different. They are Muslims, but not Arabs – it’s the same for Turkey. And in Iran, they are Shi’is.
The language [Arabic] is beautiful. Part of the [Arab] culture is beautiful. Islam, as a religion, is a good religion, as a way to pray to God, but it’s a conquering religion. It’s not like Judaism, which doesn’t accept many converts, and it’s not like Christianity, which is embracing. Islam is based on “jihad.” That’s it.
People who aren’t comfortable with what I say and think will automatically call me a racist. I know this, because I studied in academia, and the academia [in Israel] is very left-wing, and they don’t like to hear these things. They like to hear their own opinions. If you say something different, then you become their enemy. It’s hypocritical.
By the way, many Arabs actually think like me, including Muslim Arabs in Israel, who wish to serve in the [Israeli] army, and who are loyal to the country.
I am worried. I have a son, who is going to the army soon, and I have another son who is at the Rabin Pre-Military Academy, and they [Academy] are quite left-wing, and I don’t want them to apply their [left-wing] opinions on them, since I also don’t do that [to my sons]. I believe that they [sons] will hear my opinions and those of their father, who by the way are the opposite of mine, and they will develop their own opinions. But, as a mother, I am worried.
What will be in the next generation? What will the future bring?
I’m also worried about sending my child to the army of course. Is there a mom, who doesn’t worry about sending her child to the army? I will tell you a secret: Even the Palestinian mother, who talks about her son becoming a “shahid,” even she doesn’t want for her son to die. But who asks a Palestinian mother? They have their stupid, corrupt leaders, who send the shabab, the young ones to the street to cause provocations. Their leaders don’t care about them dying. That’s too bad.
I would want a calm situation with the Palestinians (who call themselves like this) for the next generation, but that is something that the neighboring Arab countries need to decide for them, because they have had many chances. In 1948, they didn’t want it. In 1967, they didn’t want it either, and so on and so forth – until we reached the bad agreement that the Oslo agreement was, which was awful for us.
For them it’s everything or nothing, and because of this, I think the Arab countries need to decide.
The Arab countries also can’t stand this thing called Palestinians. They never cared about them. They are on the outskirts of society, they also cause incitements within Muslim countries, but if the Arab countries could get together to solve this problem and decide for them, then perhaps a solution could be reached.
Peace there will never be here.
Throughout history this land has been located in a place, which is the midway between Asia-Africa and Europe. Many peoples have passed here. Many, many ethnic groups have lived here.
Us, Jews, as well, came here – also as conquerors. In the beginning, we came as slaves under Abraham, the Prophet, and then, according to history, we came back. We have a foothold here.
I do believe that we have a good foothold here, although our character really doesn’t fit to the over-all culture of the Middle East, especially those of us, who don’t belong to the Arab people.
We need to learn the Arabic language, already from first grade. We need to learn the language of the neighbors/enemies to know how to act with them. I don’t call them “enemies,” because I believe that they are their own enemies. For the time being they are at least better at killing themselves than us.
Anyhow, we behave according to a European culture that doesn’t fit here. We don’t live in Denmark or in Sweden or in Switzerland. We live in the Middle East.
As I told you, Islam is a religion of violence. It’s a religion that doesn’t have compassion. It’s even written in their suras [chapters in the Quran].
What was Muhammad at the end of the day? He tried to be the mayor of Mecca, but his tribe wouldn’t allow him. Then he married this rich widow, Khadija, and he gained power, and when his tribe saw him they ran after him, so he decided that he was a prophet.
And what was the first thing that he did? He went to a place called Yathrib (Medina later on), and the first thing that he did was kill three Jewish tribes. All the men were killed, and the women and the houses were taken – and it was for him to have property to move forward.
Later on he killed another tribe. Why? Is the person, who doesn’t convert to Islam, an infidel?
The Christians in Israel are big hypocrites. There isn’t a Christian here, who won’t tell you that he/she doesn’t belong to the Arab “Ummah,” [Arab community]. That is how they perceive themselves and also what they teach their children, but Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise, as one can see with ISIS. The first people that they will kill is not us, the Jews, but you, the Christians, because you are infidels, because you believe in something that is forbidden, namely in someone as the son of God.
You [Christians] live here. You enjoy the benefits of living here but look: They are the first to go to pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Who exactly destroyed the churches and the graveyards [in Arab countries]? In Gaza they [Muslims] destroyed historical churches. In Bethlehem they live in fear, but they won’t say it.
Why do you go and defend the Muslims here in Israel? Take care of yourself. You are a minority. Instead of teaching their children to do national service [in Israel], if they do not wish to serve in the army, they chose the wrong side, in my opinion.
And the young generation, who wakes up on the right side gets punished for the actions of their family members.
Why do you go to wrong places? Is it bad for you to live in Israel? No. Does it feel good for you to live in an Israeli state? Yes.
Again, I respect a person as he/she is, but I don’t trust them [Arabs], also because of my own personal experience.
For example: My son took part in a project called “Friends Forever,” which is a project, where they choose five Jewish students from a high school, and then another five Arab students. Three of them are Muslims and two of them Christians, including boys and girls. They make them meet each other and take part in different activities and holidays. Some of them were hosted here and vice versa, and then they took them to a camp in the US for two months.
In the beginning I thought it was something left-wing, but the organization, who organizes it is based on a group that did peace between the Protestants and the Catholics in Ireland. They think that the model used there is good in the Middle East.
Anyhow, in the beginning I checked it out, and I was against it, but my son wanted to go, so I thought: Go ahead, and they developed really friendly relations, and they lived in the US for two months, and when they got back here, they continued to meet for a couple of months, but then one of the Muslim students published an awful post about the Israeli Defense Forces on Facebook, and when my son called her to say: “What are you doing? Our soldiers don’t kill,” (It was a lying post from a Swedish newspaper.) she said: “You can’t be trusted. You kill children. You are a murderous nation, and a conquering nation,” and she brought all the mantras of BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement] forward, and so he said: “Thank you very much. For what reason were we together, if we can’t go forward?”
I believe that now, with his activities at the pre-military academy, where they meet all kinds of movements within our nation, including Christians and Muslims, he will see things in a more realistic way and will form his opinions in a more rational way.
In our house we don’t argue over politics.
My husband is on the other side [of the political spectrum], although within the last couple of years, he has moved over to the center from the left, and I have moved towards the center from the right.
Sometimes we do talk about it, of course.
I don’t agree with his views, and he doesn’t agree with my views. Sometimes he calls me an extremist, or I call him a dreamer. We don’t talk so much about politics however, as we are more preoccupied with the social aspects of society because of our handicapped son.
I looked at different members of parliament, such as Dov Kheinin, who is fantastic. He is a fantastic social activist, but he just isn’t in the right party. And I would like to take him, and Orly Levy-Abekasis and Ilan Gilon, who also is in the wrong party, and transfer them to the Jewish Home [Israeli political party]. Some of the members of the Jewish Home care a lot about the social issues.
You don’t need to be left-wing or right-wing to care about social issues.
I have been the only bread-winner since the accident, as my husband stopped working. He takes care of my son.
We usually have two foreign workers, because one care worker for our son is not enough, as he needs someone to take care of him 24/7, but even two caretakers aren’t enough. Sometimes, for example, my husband needs to drive them somewhere, as they don’t have driver’s license.
He [husband] had a very high position in a company prior to this. He was a custom agent.
I also used to work in custom agency and shipping. I worked in big companies such as Maersk, and I worked in export-import. I am also an accountant, and soon I will be a history teacher, but that will be for my retirement.
I studied history and theology in a fun way and as an experience, and I believe that it’s no less important than learning about mathematics, computer science, chemistry and biology. We need to learn history and to learn the basics of the Bible.
The Bible is basically also a form of Jewish mythology in some ways. It’s the most beautiful mythology, in my opinion!
And we need to teach our children about history and the Bible for them to understand historical processes and to understand the place they live in. Our children don’t know anything, because they are not being taught anything, and this creates a disadvantage, when you have to debate someone, or to sit in front of someone from Europe, to explain to him/her what you think. What do Europe or people in the US get fed by? By information from the TV, the social networks, BDS and sort on. Not everyone really knows the history of this place.
Once I thought it would be good to get rid of them [Arabs/Palestinians], but I learnt that that’s not the way to solve the problem. In order to solve the problem, we need separation, to cut, to transfer those here and vice versa.
I doubt that there ever will be peace here again.
You see, even the Iranians want to go back to this region. They think that they are back in the Sasanian Empire. Many have interests here. You have the Suez Canal, and it’s a path to India.
It’s still a very strategic place for everyone, and for many countries it’s very comfortable to have a non-Muslim, supposedly “progressive” country here. So we need to maintain this advantage.
Our big “luck” is that we have deterrence in the form of an atomic bomb. If we didn’t have this, they would have got rid of us a long time ago.
The Iranians are a wonderful people.
My mom’s siblings still live in Iran, in Teheran. I have four acres in Iran. We’ll see, when we will be able to get a hold of those.
I love the Iranian people. I communicate with them. I read and write Persian.
There is a saying in Persian that says: “When the storm comes, they bend; when the storm passes, they stand up again,” and that’s the personality of every Iranian. They have dealt with so many crazy persons from the Shah and then the religious leaders. These people don’t have hope. They are being killed. They can’t live in dignity. They don’t have incomes, and many young people don’t stay there. My cousins immigrated to the US or Europe; they have good lives there. The aunts and uncles stayed in Iran to take care of the properties and the lands.
I wanted to visit Iran in 1978, but then it got dramatic again, so I couldn’t travel there.
Of course I would want to go there. I really like the Iranian culture. I grew up here, but I was born there. My mother-tongue is Persian. It was only at the age of three that I began learning Hebrew – when I went to kindergarten.
The Iranian people have a rich culture. I love the smells, the Iranian food, the Iranian culture and the Iranian traditions.
The Iranians are a good people. The leaders of today have very clear interests however. The leaders earn millions of dollars instead of investing it in the people. They invest in unnecessary regional wars instead, such as the ones in Yemen and Syria. They don’t give hope to the Iranian people, as they should.
I communicate a lot with Iranian bloggers, and they are wonderful people. They have nothing against Israel.
There is a big Persian community here as well. There is also a big one in the US and in Europe. I have quite a big family.
I hope that they [Iranians] will have enough energy to have a revolution soon and to get rid of their leadership. Instead of the Shah they got something else. They thought that they would get democracy, but they didn’t.
It might sound like bragging, but Israel needs to be a center [of the Middle East]. We wouldn’t need peace for that to happen, or a situation of non-war, where I could wake up in the morning and not fear missiles or bombs, and where I would be respected as an Israeli and as a Jew. The Muslims don’t do that anymore, except for the Iranians.
I would want this place to be a place, where you could live and prosper. If things are good for us, things can be good for Arabs and the Iranians as well. The Middle East could be a good place.
Look at the countries in the Persian Gulf. They don’t have wars, and they are clever over there. They use their money for tourism and development. The situation of the women there is bad however, which is something they need to work on, but at least they have turned the place, such as Abu Dhabi, into a nice place. Why can’t we have that, in Egypt, Israel, Syria and Lebanon?
With the daily preoccupations, I’m sure that the simple person, whether Arab or Israeli, mainly thinks about income, education and life in general. The simple person wants to live his/her life in peace and wants to be comfortable, get a good income, to live in dignity – beyond politics and ideologies.
The problem then is when this person goes to vote. They don’t think. It’s a problem, which is also a very bad thing. Too bad.
With all of his challenges, my son always looks at the glass half full. It depends a lot on us, as parents, however. We need to wake up in the morning with the most difficult reality and to put a mask on our face to push him forward – for him to move himself forward and for him to see the glass half full.
We don’t believe in pushing handicapped people to the sides of society or to place them in special institutions. We believe in the opposite: To allow them to stay at home, to live as human beings and to aspire to a level of excellence, whether that is in a profession, studies or in ways of thinking – and to take an active part in life.
It doesn’t matter what situation they find themselves in, physically. If they are in a good mental state – and even if not – you cannot hide them.
I’m very proud of my son, who does this. I’m very proud of him. It’s very difficult for him, but he studies, works, thinks and dreams. I just wish for him to succeed, just as I want all of my children to succeed.
It gives me a good feeling, when I think about it. It makes me feel like I’m succeeding. You don’t get education from schools. It comes from the home. School is basically the biggest babysitter there is. Perhaps you get some knowledge from there, but today you also have everything you learn in school on the internet and the different social networks.
It’s very important to be a human being.
We have very difficult challenges. My son has been through many operations and treatments, and right now we are working on a head start campaign for wheelchairs. We have already raised 88% of the money needed for the project.
We hope that my son will succeed with his studies. He also plans to study completely other things in Technion [Israel Institute of Technology] to have another diploma.
I’m originally from Kadima, but we have lived here for almost 30 years, and it’s our place. We feel good here. I like the green, not the yellow surroundings. I don’t like the desert.
I do miss Kadima sometimes, though not Kadima of today. Before we had many orchards and strawberry fields there. Today Kadima has many villas.
Today we live in a beautiful, green place with good people, and it’s quiet.
It’s a place that we could allow ourselves to live in, when we worked. Today it’s very difficult to get a place like this, and I hope that we will be able to continue living here. It’s not cheap living here, as the taxes are high, but this is our home.
We are busy with many good activities, such as collections of clothes and toiletries for people in need. We also deliver food for people in need.
We make ourselves busy for many hours for us not to deal with mourning. We had the memorial of my daughter the other day, and her friend is doing a thesis for her second degree in social work, which focuses on how to deal with loss and mourning, and she asked us: “How do you cope with it?” And I said: “We don’t cope with it.”
We put my daughter on the side. We didn’t put her in a box. She’s always with us, perhaps not physically, but mentally, but we don’t deal with it.
We put the mask on in the morning, push the children forward, because they have to grow up normally in some way – and then we go forward.
I believe that when the children will grow up, they will have their own lives, and then we will have enough time to deal with the loss of my daughter.
So we need to fill up our days, so that we can sleep some hours during the night, because when you are alone during the night, and the mask is taken off your face, it gets very painful. It’s very difficult.
I don’t wish for any parent to lose their child. It’s so sad. We need to exhaust ourselves.
Interview conducted on May 24, 2018 by Sarah Arnd Linder