The plane was full of Russian immigrants, a young Russian shy guy sat next to me. He didn’t move, he almost didn’t breath! It seems, it’s his first experience in the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv, or may be it’s a new world for him? He wanted to thank the stewardess when she offered him a drink, but he said: spaé and didn’t dare to finish the “spasiba”, thanks in Russian! So I volunteered to finish it for him!! After that the conversation started. Actually I’ve started, I broke the barriers, the silence, the uncertainty. He’s just 18 years old, he’s coming to Israel not knowing where does it exist on the map! He doesn’t know how much Jewish he is?!. He was told that his great- great- grandmother might’ve been Jewish?! He knows no other language except Russian, which he’s even shy to use! He has no career yet! He doesn’t know, who he is ?! He doesn’t know what he’s going to do in Israel! Yet, he’s coming to Israel!
Vova is my daughter’s age, whom I called off my conference in Holland to attend her graduation ceremony from the high school. This graduation that I was patiently, silently waiting for the last eighteen years! Eighteen years I was investing in my daughter for her education, health, safety and well- being. Just few days ago I wasn’t certain if this day would come or not, since we all were under strict curfew in Ramallh for almost a month, we were shelled day and night, we were put under house arrest without knowing when this horrible situation will be ended!?. Dana was so worried about her future, final international exams, and success! We all were so worried, sad, helpless, uncertain of what would happen tomorrow? Even for a while, we were thinking that we might all die! Who could expect what Sharon is doing? What happened in Jenin and Nablus could happen in Ramallah too! Who would guarantee otherwise?! And tomorrow Dana is graduating after she successfully finished her exams, even she was offered a scholarship to study in the United States (from her beloved Quaker school, which she went to for a long 14 years).
But, why do I have such a bitter feeling, I should be so happy ! What did this Russian boy did to me? Why don’t I accept him? Is it because he’s coming to change the demography of my country! Why don’t I have the same feeling, that I have had, few days ago when I met with few Israeli X- soldiers in Jerusalem after the ABC night line program, and we both were attending. That day, the young X- soldiers told me about their sad experience in the army in Gaza, they were so bitter about that experience, they believe that what their government is doing to the Palestinians is a war crime, they were satisfied that at least they didn’t kill, they sadly admitted that they are few, yet they feel that they have to speak out, we have had a very constructive conversation, where we accepted each other. Why did I have that peaceful, nice feeling towards those kids, especially when one of them asked my permission to call me mom! I felt him so close, with no barriers, what so ever, I felt how human we can be, I could see only the human, young, peaceful spirit in those Israeli youngsters. I felt that I’m agreeing with my own children, that we Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live in peace and dignity next to each other, no matter what!!
Why can’t I accept this Vova? I think I certainly know why. I’m sure of my feelings. I should tell it to him.
You know Vova, it’s not fair, that you are coming to my country, knowing nothing about this land, this culture, the language of this part of the world, and tomorrow you’ll be the one who has the right to live on my own land, drinking my daughter’s water, confiscating my own garden, shelling my house, destroying my daughters school, and I’ll be with my daughter, the victims of your aggression. Tomorrow you might become a soldier who might kill my precious daughter Dana, under any name or any color, tomorrow you might serve at a check point where you might prevent me from reaching my patients! Tomorrow Vova you will become usurp, and you will not be able to understand nor explain why?
Dear Vova, I don’t think that it’s fair nor just, you better go back home to your HOMELAND, as we say in Russian: “Vezde chorosho, no doma luocheh”, “No Place like HOME” !