English, Featured, Letters From Israel

Yossi from Jerusalem

My Israeli story.
Hey, my name is Yossi, from Jerusalem, Israel.
I’m 23 and working for an Israeli company in The Netherlands.
I want to tell you about a short period in my life, my puberty.

As you know, or don’t know, Israel used to suffer a lot from bomb attacks, for a long period. This was reflected as bombs in buses, suicide bombers in restaurants, shopping centers and anywhere else.
That time was during my high-school period. As a teenager I was afraid of going by bus to school, which forced me to go two hours earlier, with my mom, or to walk two times a day 7 km back and forth.
There are few things that I will keep in my head for years.

First, 22 April 2004 – a suicide bomber on line-bus 14 in Jerusalem. A class-mate of mine was on her way to school with a few other students. After a few minutes’ ride, the bus was bombed by a suicide bomber. As you can imagine, it was a black morning for me and for the rest of the school. My class mate was severely injured in her leg, luckily the nowadays Mayor of Jerusalem was in the area and he saved her life. She was hospitalized for six months. One student from my school died on this bus attack – an 18-year-old student.

Second, Sukkot (Jewish holiday) evening, barely remember the date details. I woke up with a great bomb sound under my house, I looked up from the window and all I saw was black fog of smoke. It was a car bomb on my building’s parking. Thank god the terrorist was afraid to leave it somewhere else; he just left the car in a non-public place, no one was hurt.

There are few more things to tell, but let’s be a bit positive and keep on telling good things.
As a solder in the IDF I used to practice at the Israeli-Palestinian Checkpoints near the West Bank. I spoke to thousands of Palestinians every day, I always kept in mind the fact that I’m there because anyone of them can be the next terrorist who want to be a “Shahid”, but I always respected them as if they were my parents.
I heard many of them, complaining about the way of living under the Palestinian government, as well as they complained about the checkpoints of the Israeli army and the fact that they need to go through the checkpoint every day.

But most, I remember one old man who lives in Gaza. It was Friday afternoon, I was at the checkpoint between Ramallah’s settlements and Modi’in (30 km from Jerusalem). An old man came to the checkpoint without the special permission to go to Israel from the West Bank. He told me that he was in Jordan for an operation and now he is willing to go back to his family in Gaza. At that time of the day, the office of the permissions was already closed; he couldn’t get the permission, which means he couldn’t get to his family. As the commander of the checkpoint, I made a few phone calls to the head of the permissions office in attempt to get him the permission. Eventually, I was able to give him the permission. The thing that I remember perfectly was his final sentence: “I wish for myself that Israel will win and we all live under the Israeli government”.
I can just tell you, dear Swedish people, there are two sides of the coin. There are good and bad things. You just need to be aware of this fact. Israel is not evil, not even close to. It is just a small country which wants to live in peace in our one and only Jewish-land.


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