Where is the Apartheid State?

I cannot keep silent any longer. I feel like I’m now officially living in some Western-Horror movie. Every time I turn on the news, another attack has taken place. I go about my daily business, shopping for groceries, picking up medicine, taking my kids back and forth from their lessons and school – and all surrounded by soldiers and police.  The most important classes right now, I tell my older children, are their karate ones. “Train hard. May you never need it,” I say.

Just now as I am typing this another victim has succumbed to his wounds of an attack in Armon Hanatziv – an attack I was unfortunate to know about before the news hit the media as I watched all the dozens and dozens of first responders rush to the scene (I just happened to be in the vicinity at the time).

As I said before. I cannot keep silent.

I am so mad. I try and teach my children about coexistence – that we can live in peace, and not everyone hates us. But right now I’m finding that hard to believe…

I was born in South Africa at the height of Apartheid.  I grew up in tranquil “white” South Africa. Not being afraid to walk the streets. I remember as a little girl though wondering why there were public toilets that showed a “black-man figure” and one that showed a “white-man figure”. I also wondered why there were separate benches in the park and public areas that read “whites only” and another that said “for blacks and coloreds”. It didn’t occur to me strange that the only ‘black’ little girls I knew were my domestic worker’s children. I still see so clearly in my mind the yellow vans stopping black people on the street to check if they had the correct “papers” and were allowed to be in these “white” areas.

I’m not racist. I didn’t leave South Africa because I hated the blacks, or was scared of the crime. I left South Africa so I could live in my country of my brethren – in Israel. A country my grandparents would have fought tooth and nail to be able to immigrate to when they left their own country of birth. Our only Jewish homeland.

And now I try to instill in my own kids to be kind to others – no matter what their skin color, religion or ethnicity. We are all part of the human race. We all pray to the same G-d.

But now I cannot keep silent.

The media and politicians around the world accuse Israel of Apartheid policies. But if there was real Apartheid in Israel, then we would not be dealing with even a quarter of these attacks. These brutal stabbings – some even by children as young as 13 years old, are not the result of Apartheid. They are the results of coexistence! Coexistence amongst a people that teaches their children not to be kind to others – but to hate and kill.

Here in Jerusalem we do coexist!! There is not ONE place I go that I don’t come across an Arab. At the grocery store. At the pharmacy. At my local health clinic. At the hospital. We live amongst the Arabs. We go on the same buses as them (something that would NEVER have happened in Apartheid South Africa). We walk the same streets as them. They are everywhere – and they should be everywhere. We should be living side by side.

No, this is not an Apartheid state.

And yet, I am so very afraid!

It is time. I cannot keep silent.