I am Sarit Bergor. My childhood and youth, were spent in Herzlia, in a small settlement, steeped in orchards, vegetable gardens and sand... I am a girl from a village of the thirties and forties of the last century, an only child, without brothers and sisters. Someone from a small, downtrodden family.
My parents work hard to support the family and I am alert to what is happening, and help as much as I can ... at home and in the vegetable garden just to help ease things a little…
The War of Independence breaks out. Boys from Herzlia, brothers of my friends, young men who are 18 years old are forced to fight for their homes. I do not understand the historical details; I do not understand the "stories of heroism" and "the battle Legacy". All I only know at the time, as a 10 year-old girl – that my friends’ brothers, the soldiers of an entire military company, from Herzlia and Ramat Hasharon, were killed in a battle.
Yair Friedman from Ramat Hasharon was in the same military company. He was a relative (so I was told) - a 17 years old boy who had volunteered. My mother and I go to the "shiv'ah". It is held in a modest house surrounded by orchards on the outskirts of Ramat Hasharon. A radio stands in a big room, "someone" has sabotaged it and it is silent ... There is silence around me. The mother is in mourning, dressed in black; her eyes are red with crying. A Mother full of pain from her loss; silent ... These childhood memories, are seared deep in my soul…
Several days later, Yair's mother, whose only son was taken away from her, goes into the nearest orchard; spills oil on herself and is burned in flames ... " Kiddush Hashem " – on account of her son Yair.
Since then, as a child, when my mother complains that life is hard, I turn to her and throw the words in her face: "What's so bad? Did you lose a child in a war?" Because in the eyes of a child, it is the worst thing of all.
Years passed by; but childhood memories are like Tablets of the Covenant, deeply etched with painful memories… and are not deleted as long as one is alive.
I grow up. I establish a family. I give birth to Ayelet and then to Ziv four years later. When Zvi is three months old, the “Day of Atonement" war breaks out. I hope and pray that it "will be the last war." But you can't avoid war and there is no limit to pain and to loss.
The most terrible thing happens. Ziv, a handsome officer, is taken from us on 1 May 1996. The worst thing has occurred... the primordial fear; the deep fear from the bottom of my soul; the fear that has accompanied me all my life; the fear that perhaps ... the fear of loss… the fear of the void reaches me, my home. Now Mother, everything is permitted ... I may howl and be wild; rip the heavens apart and howl, and shout forever... I am am placed on the pyre – the " Kiddush Hashem " of motherhood.
But I choose to live. The pain cannot be exhausted. It lives, it exists and it swallows you, from all directions. But I choose to live…
I choose a "quiet" war; I choose to search in order to find a way ... I choose to "change the world" (according to my son, Ziv). I choose to look the enemy in the eye; I choose to see his distress and pain and, perhaps, they are even bigger than my own... I choose to turn my enemy into a creature who loves.. I choose a path full of obstacles, but I'm sure of my way. I walk, sure that I will reach the person who stands before me, even when he is my enemy; sure that my pain and grief will touch his pain and his grief ... That was the reason I was so proud of Robbie Damelin’s letter, to you Thair Hammad, murderer of her son. She spoke from my throat; she expressed my pain, she expressed my misgivings in her letter, the letter of a mother to her son. A letter full of heart-searching and soul-racking; a letter that turns to the person inside the killer, that is answered in a letter that contains only the response of a killer. Where is the person inside of you, killer?
I want to tell you that there are many ways to relieve pain, frustration and difficulty.
I want to tell you that more killing, and the killing you committed did not advance us, Israelis and Palestinians, towards a little more understanding, reconciliation and dialogue; I want to tell you that there are different ways to wage a war ... There are also wars without murder; without bloodshed and without hatred. I wanted to talk to you and look you in the eye and tell you, try another way! Try a way without bloodshed; continue your war, which in your opinion is just, but in other ways. There are many examples in history about wars without violence ... without killing and murder. Try another way!!
Ziv Bargur's mother,
Bereaved Families Forum, Israel and Palestine, for peace and reconciliation