While in Israel I met a young man named Liran. I shared some of his story with you in this post. Liran has very kindly sent me a poem he wrote (originally in Hebrew, but now translated). I believe the poem was featured in a national newspaper in Israel, and rightly so. It gives you a little insight into how young Israelis feel. I post this on the day of the Jewish New Year and as the UN deliberates over whether to create a Palestinian state.
I am the generation by Liran Shamriz
As I write this, I’m cruising at 30,000 feet somewhere above Turkey. Flying “no thrills” on Easy Jet means there’s no Wifi on board, so this won’t be posted to my blog until Saturday night.
This (Friday) morning started with a conversation. I can’t remember her name, but my friend Mike “reliably” informs me she was called “FIT”. We’ll call her JP (Jewish Princess – I’m not being rude. They are her words). Growing up in the UK, her parents wanted to protect her and look after her (hence the name). It was a comfortable upbringing, but JP always wanted a very different lifestyle.
What’s it like being blind?
I have a couple of friends who are blind or visually impaired and I have often tried to imagine what life must be like for them. I even convinced myself that I would be able to empathize with their position, if I thought long and hard about the challenges they face. It turns out experiencing what blind people face, just for one hour is a much more effective method!
Dialogue in the Dark will change your perceptions of what it’s like to be blind. On arrival, our group put our mobile phones, watches and anything else that emits light into a locker and stepped into total pitch black darkness. Our guide was a blind man who walked and talked us through a series of challenges, including working out where we were, getting on a boat and ordering a drink in a bar.
Today’s tour of Southern Israel began by visiting a bomb shelter.
The residents of Sderot have been having rockets shot at them by terrorists in Gaza for a decade. At one point, the small town was fired at continuously for 6 hours. For a number of years, the town was getting hit by about 3 rockets every day. Sderot is less than 1 kilometer from the Gaza strip, and it’s a prime target for Qassam rocket attacks. Our group spent a couple of hours in Sderot this morning, visiting an underground (bomb proof) community centre.
Once a rocket is launched from Gaza, the people of Sderot have only 15 seconds to take cover in a bomb shelter. Children have been killed, and the whole community lives in constant fear.
Flying Easy Jet is a laugh. There’s no allocated seats so everyone rushes onto the plane. Even though I was at the back of the queue I still managed to get a window seat. I had a fascinating conversation with a guy called Aymenn. He’s an undergraduate studying Classics at Oxford. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the political situation here in Israel, despite this being his very first visit to the country. He is also part of the Baha faith, so it was a fascinating conversation all round. Check out his website here
As I flew in over Israel I reflected on what a miracle this country is. I was reminded of Ben Gurion’s famous words “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” At the time I couldn’t even remember whose quote that was, which is ironic because Israel’s one international airport (where I was flying to) is called Ben Gurion Airport.