Written by: Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha
The year is 2005, I am 8 at the time, and I remember being very angry. As a kid, I was never interested in politics, until this particular moment. Orange shirts and straps were being worn by those who were saying to say to the state of Israel, “do not pull out of the Gaza Strip.” And me, at 8 years old, I remember, as clear as anything, that I was supporting that group with the hope that no one will have to be removed from their home. People were demonstrating in the streets and holding hands from Gush Katif all the way to the Western Wall, to do their best to change the mind of the big Prime Minister Erik Sharon.
Israel made its decision. And, it wasn’t the one I had hoped for.
I remember being so angry, and feeling as if there was no justice in the world. So angry at my mother, who hung a blue strap on the car, which indicated her support for leaving the Gaza Strip. I remember the newspaper headlines and the pictures on the front pages. And after the 10th of Av (July/August), everything around me was very quiet. Too quiet.
This week, it's been 15 years since the State of Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, choosing to make that territory its own governed entity. And me, 15 year later, still with the memories of an 8 year old, but the knowledge of a 22 year old, I now know how to talk about the issues and history on both sides and to share a much more complex view. I don't have one view on the subject and my view has evolved because of the way I know Israel today. But I would like to talk a little more about my memories. One of my good friends, who was also 8, when he was forced out of his home in the Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, with a promise of a new home. A home he didn't get until he was 18. A home he got after years of living in caravans and sleeping in school basketball courts, because there was no place for the people who didn't manage to leave their homes until the last day. He tells me what he remembers, but I remember mainly the silence. The silence that is continues until today.
But I want to remember. Not because the decision was right or wrong, that is not a question anymore. But because this event that changed the history of Israel so deeply, left a lifelong impression on an 8 year and one that the 22 year old me cannot forget.