On Wednesday November 14th afternoon, while I was studying in the library of Ben-Gurion University in the city of Be’er-Sheva, it all started.
The news quickly spread through the study lounge- “the IDF killed the chief of staff of Hamas in Gaza, we’re gonna get it hard this time”. People began to leave the building. The only thing I could think of in this moment was that the thick walls of the library would protect me better than my own apartment would. All I wanted was to remain in my seat and keep studying, but shortly after we heard the news we were evacuated by the library staff.
It felt like history was repeating itself, and operation ‘Cast Lead’ of 2009 had begun all over again. Back then, I remained in the south and volunteered in bomb shelters with children who were stuck there day and night. During operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ I returned again as a volunteer to work with these children. Just like I did in 2009 during ‘Cast Lead’, I became active in public diplomacy on Facebook. I called for a ceasefire on both sides, and I prayed for the safety of all people involved in the conflict.
This time, however, my experience would be a different one. The night the ceasefire was declared, November 21st, I was watching TV in the bomb shelter. I could never forget that surreal feeling – listening to PM Netanyahu declaring a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas government of Gaza, while the rockets were still continuously falling on us. They wouldn’t stop, not for two hours, not for 30 minutes, not even 5 minutes!
For me, a leftist who always calls for the end of violence and believes that the other side wants it as well, this felt like a slap in the face. Seemingly, Hamas and its factions in Gaza showed no intention of making the ceasefire feasible. I felt deceived, hopeless and innocent. I begged for the shooting to stop. Some Israelis like to call us leftists ‘the delusional left’. At this point I started to believe them.
It was one of those moments when one puts his political beliefs into question, because the reality unfolded in front of him points to the opposite direction, contrary to his beliefs. Luckily back then I had Yala to get me back on the track of Peace and the fight against violence.
Nufar Levy, Israel
YaLa Young Leaders