A Message to Israel's Leaders: Don't Defend Me – Not Like This

As she listens to the rockets raining in her yard, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza asks the government to rethink its Gaza mission.

Michal Vasser
Michal Vasser
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Michal Vasser
Michal Vasser

The first thing I want to say is: Please don’t defend me. Not like this.

I am sitting in my safe room in Kibbutz Kfar Aza and listening to the bombardment of the all-out war outside. I am no longer able to distinguish between “our” bombardments and “theirs." The truth is that the kibbutz children do this better than I do, their “musical ear” having been developed since they were very young, and they are able to differentiate between an artillery shell and a missile fired from a helicopter and between a mortar bomb and a Qassam. Good for them.

Is this what “defending the home” looks like? I don’t understand – did all our leaders sleep through their history classes? Or maybe they studied the Mapai school curriculum or that of Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (to my regret, the difference is not all that great) – and have wrongly interpreted the word “defense”? Does defending the well being of citizens mean a war of armageddon every few years? Hasn’t any politician ever heard of the expression “long-term planning?"

If you want to defend me – then please: Don’t send the Israel Defense Forces for us in order to "win." Start thinking about the long term and not just about the next election. Try to negotiate until white smoke comes up through the chimney. Hold out a hand to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Stop with the “pinpoint assassinations” and look into the civilians’ eyes on the other side as well.

I know that most of the public will accuse me of being a “bleeding heart.” But I am the one who is sitting here now as mortar bombs fall in my yard, not Sa’ar, not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and not Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich or Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid, either. I am the one who has chosen to raise her children here even though I had and still have other options.

It is possible to accuse me of a lack of Zionism, it is possible to accuse me of flabbiness and weak-mindedness but it is impossible to accuse me of hypocrisy. My children have served in combat units in addition to their contribution of “year of service” for the country, voluntarily. We live here and we love this country.

Our war is a war for the character of the state, not its borders. For its democratic nature and for human dignity in it. For sanity. So please stop killing civilians on the other side of the fence in order to defend me.

If you are interested in stopping the hostile actions from the other side – open your ears and start listening. If we are important to you – please stop defending us by means of missiles, “pinpoints” and “aeronautical components.” Instead of Operation Pillar of Defense embark on Operation Hope for the Future. This is more complicated, you need more patience and it is less popular – but it is the only way out.

A Palestinian boy holding a window pane taken from a damaged house hit in an Israeli strike, in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Credit: AP

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