Annexation, apartheid, and me

 

An Israeli settlement in the West Bank on 19 November 2019 [Mosab Shawer/Apaimages]
An Israeli settlement in the West Bank on 19 November 2019. (photo: Mosab Shawer / Apaimages)
I ran away from institutional racism; I cannot watch while my adopted country moves toward it now.

By Hirsh Goodman | The Atlantic  | July 3, 2020

But what has broken my heart is watching what’s happening to my country under the decade-long leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu: The erosion of democracy; the institutionalized greed…

If Israel annexes part of the West Bank in early July and denies the Palestinians who come with it equal rights, I will confront one of the deepest dilemmas I have had to face since 1965, when I migrated to Israel from apartheid South Africa.

I fought as an Israeli paratrooper in the Six Day War; was stationed in Sinai during the War of Attrition; spent nine months on the Golan Heights after fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; and performed an average of 60 days of active reserve duty annually for about 15 years.

I have lived with my family through Intifadas and suicide bombers, a succession of unnecessary wars, missile attacks from Iraq, and sporadic but persistent rocket and mortar barrages from over the border with Gaza. My wife walked our four-year old to a birthday party shortly after a suicide bomber detonated himself. His head had landed on a balcony near the kindergarten and a grenade was found in the playground not far from the birthday cake.

I have seen a prime minister assassinated for trying to make peace, and spent many sleepless nights worrying about my children as each served their three years of compulsory military service.

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