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Here is an interview with Shani Paluch Shimon Wednesday 23 July 2014 on the Neil Mitchell show.
or download file israeli_interview
Wednesday 23rd July
This morning I got up and decided to offer Mia (7) to spend the day with me. We were not going to spend the day at my clinic in the hospital, nor were we going to have a fun girly day with mani-pedis and lunch in Tel Aviv. Today was a day to demonstrate support and solidarity - it would be sad, but it was important, and not everything we need to do in life is fun or pleasant.
We started off at the local supermarket and picked up several cartons of drinks, several kilos of baked goods and we set out on our journey.
Our first stop was Neve Yaakov, a suburb in Jerusalem that I had never visited before. I placed an address in my Waze and set off. Next thing I knew I was driving through Kalandiya, along the separation fence, road strewn with rocks and debris from clashes that had taken place between border police and local Palestinian villagers this past week. I checked if I could re-route but the other option was to drive through Shuafat - which did not appear a more appealing option.
Mia asked me about the separation fence. I tried explaining that the fence is a scar on our land, an un-healing, seeping wound on our soul and their soul. That the fence protects us and it hurts us. My heart felt heavy, I wanted the fence to end, I wanted to get to our destination already.
We arrived in Neve Yaakov, a poverty stricken suburb on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. Mia looked around, her beautiful big eyes, even wider than usual. As we made our way, hands laden with the goods we had purchased for the family of the fallen Ethiopian soldier, Moshe Malko z"l, Mia missed no detail - the neglected buildings, the rubbish on the streets, the rusty remains of what once must have been public playground equipment. Jerusalem is one of the poorest, most neglected cities in Israel.
Along with many others, we came to give our support and condolences to the family of a soldier who had lost his life to protect us. We approached Moshe Malko z"l's father - a lone tear streaming down his face, a broken heart, a broken soul - life would never be the same. How many kilometers had he walked in the deserts of Ethiopia to come to this land? What had he dreamed of for his future when he gazed at the stars in the desert skies on his journey to Israel? How much hardship had he and his family endured acclimatizing to life in Israel? And now this. How cruel life can be.
From Neve Yaakov we made our way to the military cemetery at Mount Herzel - us and 30,000 other people, who came to escort and support the family of Max Steinberg z"l on his final journey. Max was a lone-soldier - he had first come to Israel on Birthright - he fell in love with the country, with the people and chose to leave the comforts of Los Angeles, to make aliya and to serve in the army. Max's parents arrived in Israel for the first time in their lives yesterday - to bury their son.
Mia was astounded by the numbers of people attending the funeral, but she was even more astounded by the endless rows of graves. "Mummy, I don't understand - how many soldiers have died for our country? Did they all die young, before they had a chance to marry and have families?"
Too many soldiers Mia - and each soldier that dies has died too young - irrespective of whether they had married or had children.
This last week alone, 32 more - each a son, a brother, cousin, friend, partner, father.
We listened to the many eulogies, the personal stories of Max's z"l family and friends. We left before the military ceremony of the funeral. The message to Mia had been clear, it was enough for one day. When I considered whether to have Mia spend the day with me - I asked myself if she was too young - yes, she was too young - too young for air-red sirens, for sleeping in a bomb shelter, for hearing loud booms over our heads. Our soldiers are too young - too young to go to war, to bear weapons, to die. In my dialogue with myself I could suddenly hear my grandmother's voice, the words she would say in resignation each time tragedy rudely knocked on the door of our people - אלה הם חיינו - "this is our life".
When I look into the eyes of my children I need to hope that this is not true - I need to hope that the fences will come down, that when I wake -up tomorrow and Gili is suddenly 18 that we will no longer need an army. Some might say that I need to wake-up - today. That my grandmother was right.
I need to dream and hope a little more. Please.
Good clear strong responses...great interview!
by Ronit on 2014-07-26 23:58:50 GMT