August 21, 2002
"Birthright", the US-based
Jewish organization which brings Jewish teens from all over
the world for solidarity visits to Israel, in August 2002
alone has brought in 35 teenagers from USA, Ukraine and Russia
for a 10-day solidarity visit.
In the first week the children had a lot
of fun as they traveled all over Israel, from Eilat to Hermon.
But Day Eight brought them a more sobering experience. On
August 13th, the visitors met with the parents who had lost
their children at the Dolfi disco, as well as with the Israeli
teens who had been wounded there.
This emotional meeting was moderated by the representatives
of the Michael Cherney Foundation, which has been assisting
the Dolphinarium victims from the very first night of the
attack. The Foundation financed a book and produced a film
about the bombing.
This film was shown in part to the joint
US-Russian-Ukrainian group after they heard the testimony
of the victims. Jewish girls from the States, Ukraine and
Russia were openly crying as they watched. This was followed
by a discussion, and visiting teens volunteered to answer
the hard question: are they ready to make aliyah after what
they have seen. (For most of them it was their first visit
to Israel). Here are some answers.
Lev (Ohio): "One can't help loving Israel - it's beautiful.
Am I ready to make aliyah? No. But I am ready to donate blood
to the Israeli terror victims right now".
Olga (Kiev, Ukraine): "I want to make
Aliyah. I want to live in Israel, and to make sure it doesn't
suffer from more terrorists. I think that all the Jews in
the world have to make Aliyah, and together put an end to
terrorism. Only the Jews of the entire world, after they unite,
can put an end to it."
Elvis (New York, US): "Nowhere in the
world have I seen such human warmth and mutual support like
in Israel. As to the security, New York also used to be a
secure place: not any more. So the Aliyah decision shouldn't
be made on the grounds of security. I personally will make
Aliyah in 10 years. However, the Palestinian prioblem won't
be solved by that time. It may take another 100 years, but
eventually they will choose to live in peace. I don't want
to come right now, because now I won't be able to start my
own business here: it's economy, not security".
Boris (Kiev, Ukraine): "I want all the
Jews to be able to come here and live here securely. For that
I am ready to come here and fight in the Israeli Army. Right
now one cannot live in Israel: you can't live in constant
fear. You have to destroy the source of fear: for that I am
ready to join IDF even today".
Vladimir (Kiev, Ukraine): "I am ready
for Aliyah. I am sure that now all the Jews have to come here,
right now it's the time to be with your people, so that our
enemy would see our unity, our strength, and realize that
they cannot win".