At the K4P Jerusalem Winter Event last Tuesday, we were honored to hear from Kids4Peace youth and families. Below is Eyal’s story, a Jewish 15 year-old from Jerusalem in his 5th year of Kids4Peace.
Hello everyone. My name is Eyal, I’m 16 years old and I go to Leyada school. and I will tell you my personal story of my journey in K4P.
I joined k4p when I was 12 years old. The first two years of K4P were a lot of fun. Games and great experiences from camps in the United States, all that with Jewish, Christian and Muslim kids. Playing as kids, without noticing the fact that we are from different religions. I was very curious when we began to learn about the different cultures and religions, how they differ from each other, but also how they are related.
But last year we started to talk about the “real stuff”. In the summer of 2014, When war took place, we were at a camp in kibbutz Keturah, near Eilat. When we began the conversation about the war, I was certain that the Israeli Defense Force was defending Israel, and attacking only abandoned locations in which they received information of a rocket launcher. When I heard that the war caused the IDF to kill more than 2000 people, I was shocked. To hear the number from the news is one thing. but to hear the pain from a primary source, made it really relatable and helped me to acknowledge it. At that moment I understood that I have only seen one side of the story, which cannot be told without the two of them.
In the same year, we went to a weekend in Ein Gedi. And there was another group of Jewish teenagers , which weren’t as accepting and welcoming as us. Or in simpler words: Racist. When they heard that we were a mixed group of Jews, Muslims and Christians, some just left, some said ” Yimah Shimchem” , Damn you, and other wanted to hear how is it to be a part of a mixed group, especially in our complicated country, but were suppressed by their friends. I won’t go further more into details, but it wasn’t pleasant. When I experienced what my Arab friends experience on a daily basis, I was very depressed, but also disappointed in our society.
I realized something has to be done. There is absolutely no way that we can accept this kind of behavior. That’s the reason I joined and stayed in K4P. To raise the awareness of the situation, and to find a way of solving it.
So, to conclude: Since I joined, K4P has been a very active part of my life, and my life would have looked a whole lot different if I hadn’t join. And I owe every experience to my amazing group and advisers. I couldn’t have made it without you. I also want to thank my parents, for encouraging me to join the program in the first place. Thank you for your time, and let peace be upon us.