Well, there are so many things I would like to say, and write down in this letter, but I will probably miss out a lot that has faded away from my thoughts throughout the 18 years I’ve been in Israel. It’s been a long roller-coaster ride, through good and bad experiences which have become bitter-sweet memories.
For starters, I am a young Swedish-American living in Israel since 1994. My Christian – Zionist parents brought me here at a young age, against my will I must say. But as time passed, I learned to love Jerusalem and it became my home. After reading Yossi’s letter, I’m reminded of how getting on a bus on a daily basis to public school was nerve wrecking. The endless bus bombings and the terror in the air made it difficult to concentrate on the small and happy things kids should grow up on.
Exactly ten years ago, on Friday, March 29, 2002 I was in my room in Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem and I remember hearing a loud sound coming from a distance. Minutes later we could hear the sirens and the helicopters flooding the area. And then the phone calls began – the routine of calling your family members, your friends, or anyone in the area, hoping it’s not another bomb, and praying your loved ones are safe. But tragically, 17 year-old Rachel Levy, a dear classmate was killed on that day by a teenage Palestinian female suicide bomber. At the time, being 17, I didn’t really grasp how such a young girl could kill herself and others for an idea or belief. Just thinking about it makes me cry. But I am writing this letter, since the world needs to know our stories as well. And this is just one of so many! I have no doubt the Palestinians have their own tragic stories and losses, but it’s crucial to understand each side, and not justify just one.
Related documentary: ”To Die In Jerusalem”.