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Friday, April 12, 2024

What does the Israeli-Palestine conflict mean to an Israeli?

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“Kill their moms, rape their daughters,” is what people heard from their windows in London on May 16

“Hitler was right,” was yelled in Florida last week

“Who’s Jewish here? I came to kill you!” someone said at a restaurant in Los Angeles on May 18

“Dirty Jew” is what Jewish people worldwide are “used” to hearing.

These are just a few examples of the 267 antisemitic incidents reported in the last 20 days, since the conflict between Gaza and Israel erupted on May 6. Since then, Jews around the world have experienced an increasing wave of antisemitism. On May 6, Hamas started firing rockets at Israel, killing innocent civilians in Israel and Gaza as well.

Antisemitism has existed as far back as the destruction of the Holy Temple in 586 BC, when Romans expelled Jews from their homeland in Jerusalem and renamed the land “Palestine.”

Since then, there have been countless antisemitic demonstrations and events around the world. We saw it in Europe when multiple pogroms fostered hate against Jews, which ultimately ended in the systematic genocide of more than six million Jews during the Holocaust, persecuting and murdering the whole families of two of my grandparents. We continue seeing antisemitic attacks in different countries, emotionally and physically harming innocent Jews and Zionists who do not do anything but be Jewish.  

In 1948, Israel declared independence and accepted the United Nations’ plan where Jews and Arabs would divide the land of modern day Israel and live peacefully as neighbors. However, tensions between Israelis and Arabs arose since then and worsened in 2005 when Israel, as an attempt for peace, gave full control of the Gaza Strip to its Arab neighbors. In 2007, Hamas, a terrorist organization, took over the Gaza strip and started terrorizing Israel, which has continued to this day. 

As a Jew living in the diaspora, I cannot imagine the suffering of Israelis — Jews, Muslism and Christians — having to run to bomb shelters when Hamas fired rockets across the country. My skin crawls at the thought of them having just 15 seconds to stop what they are doing and run for their safety. Fifteen seconds to grab their children, tell their families they love them and hope that everything will be okay when the rockets hit. 

Moreover, I cannot imagine the Palestinians’ suffering, how it must be to live under the rule of Hamas, and how it is to live in a place where violence, terrorism and death are educated and transmitted to children.  

The truth is that both Palestinians and Israelis have suffered and we, regardless of the side we decide to take, should minimize ignorance by putting hatred aside and realizing who is fighting for peace and for the safety of its people.

What I do not understand and never will is why Palestinians defend a cause where terrorism is used as a main weapon. I will never understand why Palestinians and their supporters protect Hamas, an organization that teaches its people how to specifically cut the heads off the Jews and incentivizes terrorism by paying the families of people who die killing Israelis. 

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It is not in the interest of Israel to control its Palestinian neighbors that want liberation; however, Israel must be assured that any future Palestinian state will live in peace and prosperity alongside Israel rather than become another terrorist hub as Gaza did in 2007.

Such a tiny country, but a place where people can find infinite opportunities. So, why is it that some Arabs hate us so much? The answer is they just cannot allow the existence of a Jewish state, and in return, they attack Israel with rockets, bombs, knife stabbings and more. 

What is happening between Israel and Palestine is a matter of politics and should be solved between the both of them. However, it is not fair that communities worldwide keep attacking the Jewish population when what most Jews and Israelis want is simply peace. 

As a student at the University of Florida, I have been amazed by the amount of misinformation circulating on social media between students. It is really sad that Instagram, TikTok and Facebook have been used to create defamatory and antisemitic content. Furthermore, it is unfortunate that influencers and celebrities use their power on social media to generate more hatred without even knowing the background behind the conflict.

I encourage you to be informed, read the news and do not believe in everything you see on social media. I encourage you to ask questions to professionals and understand that things are not always black and white. 

Finally, I hope that Jews and Palestinians can live in harmony and peace, understanding both causes and ultimately, fighting together for peace in the Middle East. 

Daniela Ghelman is a junior at the University of Florida studying journalism.

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