In 1997, seven girls were killed in Naharayim, which is on the border with Jordan. There were other children who were also wounded. All of these children, who were teenagers, were on an annual school trip, and when they got close to the border, a Jordanian guard suddenly came down from the guard-tower where he had been standing, and began shooting at the whole class.
My whole class went on this trip except for me and my friend. I didn’t go on the trip simply because I didn’t want to go. Had I gone, I might have died, or at least gotten hurt in some way. I think I was lucky.
The time of the Gulf War was a scary period. My whole family sat in our home in Bet Shemesh. We sealed all of our windows with tape, and we sat in one room, where food was available in cans, and where we all had to share a bucket to take care of our needs. Every time a siren sounded, we all put on our gas masks. It was very difficult.
My sisters and I cried all the time and we were very distressed. The war lasted six days as well, and it was definitely much more difficult than last summer’s war.
Father’s Arab Friends
I grew up in Bet Shemesh, and the entire time that I lived there, my father had many Arab friends. They really liked him and he really liked them. They would work with my family, they ate with us, and they spent a lot of time with us.
My parents understood and spoke Moroccan Arabic, but my father would speak Hebrew with his Arab friends. He really loved them. They were really good people, and I trusted them.
After the 90s, and after the impossibility for many Palestinians to cross the border into Israel, we didn’t see my father’s friends anymore.
After this, and after the lynching of two IDF soldiers in Ramallah in 2000, there was a fear of Arabs that grew inside me. I saw the images of these soldiers being lynched by a crowd of people. It scared me a lot. If you asked me today to go and visit places like Rachel’s Tomb, for example, I would be scared.
I know that they have animosity toward us, and they may not treat us well. Since there is no equality between us and them, they can easily throw their hatred at us. I know the majority of them are good, but the extremists want to hurt us. It scares me.
A couple of weeks ago, we had Arab workers come over and help us with something in our new home. At first, I was a little scared. But I’m never alone with them, and my husband is always there. What scares me is the possibility of one of them suddenly going crazy and trying to kill me—because of the hatred.
It’s very different from when I was little and my father invited his Arab friends to our house. I was home alone with them a lot then, and I wasn’t scared. I was also small, so I didn’t understand, and was unaware of many things.
My biggest fear right now is Da’esh [IS] entering the country. Anything else scares me much less.