Hi, I’m Noam Bachar, and I’m a 15-year-old girl living in Israel on the border with Gaza in a kibbutz called Yad Mordechai. I’d like to tell you something that happened to me a few months ago on May 29, 2018.
I work in my kibbutz with kids from first to sixth grade every week. That day was not like others, as we had waves of alarms that came every minute. It was bad, and parents started to pick up their kids to take them back home. We needed to get the kids back to their parents. There were only four of us but there were a lot of kids. While two of the other workers went to escort a group, I stayed with the other worker, at which point one of the kids came and asked us to take him to his mother. I said I’d do it. We started walking to his mother when suddenly an alarm went off. I knew where the shelter was, but it was too far away for us to get to. So I told the little boy to lie on the grass with his head down, then I lay down above him to protect him. Then we heard a big boom and ran for the shelter. His mother came and picked him up and I ran back to the other kids.
I remember this day and this moment so clearly, and I’m only 15. No 15-year-old should have that kind of experience. We need things to change; we can’t live like this anymore! And it’s not just us—the people on the other side of the fence in Gaza are suffering, but they’re not the only ones. A coin has two sides, and we need to help them. We need to figure things out to solve this problem because we can’t live like this anymore. We Israelis don’t want to be raised to be warriors. I can run to any place in 15 seconds because I know that if I won’t be able to do that, it can kill me. But no one should live like this.
I’m begging you, please, make a difference. We need a change, because neither side can live like this anymore! We are kids who walk out of our houses to school knowing that a bomb can hit and a balloon can explode or a kite can fly and burn all of the fields around us. We are kids who are living a normal life, but nothing is normal. And the saddest thing is that I didn’t realize what I did that day—that I risked my life to save a little child—until my mom told me what I did because it was so obvious for me that it was what I needed to do. It was so natural for me to do that, but only when my mom told me I could have died protecting him did it hit me that I was actually risking my life every day by walking out of my house.
I believe that no one who lives outside of this country—and even some who are living in this country but don’t live next to the border—appreciate what really goes on here. I’m asking you to open your eyes and please see how people are suffering—we can’t continue to live like this. No one should live like this, and I dare you to come and look and try to feel what happened here, what’s still happening here. The explosions and the fires are all part of our normal day.
I’m going to school and I don’t think that I’m risking my life doing that, but actually I am. And when I hear an alarm and go to a shelter, I don’t understand this is risking my life because it’s a routine I’ve lived with for 15 years, and nothing has changed. There are kids on the other side of the fence who also need this to be over with. We don’t need this war; we don’t want it. I know that I want to grow up in a world that cares about people. When I’m older, I want to be able to make the right decisions—maybe even to lead this world to a better place because I know that no one should grow up to the sounds of explosions and to be actually afraid of the color red, the color of our alarms. I think it’s time for people to start doing something to help, because we can’t take it anymore and we won’t.
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