Growing up in Israel meant feeling constant fear. The fear of being killed, the fear of being held hostage, the fear of your children being traumatized. Ever since I could remember, war has been a big part of my worst fears along with clowns and snakes; people being burned down in buses, children being killed by a man with a gun much like what has happened recently in Las Vegas.
There was a discovery two years ago in Israel before Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish new year, that Palestinians have dug tunnels underground planning to murder the Israeli people. When I turned 6 and went to first grade a bomb landed right inside my childhood best friend’s house, which was right next to my grandparents’ house.
The moment the Israeli army recognizes a bomb heading towards an area in the country it signals an alarm which lets the citizens to get to the nearest shelter in the neighborhood. At that time, I lived with my grandparents because my mother moved to New York for work. So my grandfather and I ran to the shelter while my grandmother stayed in the house because she was cooking and wasn’t able to close it. So I ran back to my grandmother and I dragged her with me to the shelter. My friend and her family were out-of-town that week so they didn’t get injured.
Ever since then, Israel has fought two wars and every time I hear an alarm I get paranoid, remembering all of those frightening memories. But those memories are a part of who I am and I wouldn’t change that because along with them I have amazing memories of my childhood. And in the future I want every child to be able to play outside with their friends without living with the fear of death.