When Neta was a little girl she had always known of the family on her mother’s side, who are mostly residents of Mt Herzel (the military cemetery in Jerusalem). Her mother had lost a brother in 48’, a husband in 67’, and a cousin in a military-accident in 77’. Her mother’s sister lost her father when she was 18 months old.
Neta was brought up with the knowledge that war was a part of life in Israel. In her mind it was like the wild-west. Though she always believed that she was on the side of those fighting for peace.
For as long a she can remember she has been attending Maarach (the Israeli labor party) protests on her fathers shoulders. She knew that there was an occupation that needed to end, though she had not yet learned what the occupation was.
Neta’s first encounter with the ‘situation’ took place far from Israel, in Barcelona when she often felt mistreated for being Israeli. Neta found herself being defensive for a change after having been, especially after Rabin’s assignation, Israel’s biggest critic. When she returned to Israel she felt her actions were hypocritical. Although she had been defending her country from the ignorance of others, she too felt ignorant about the situation. She felt as though she herself did not know enough about the occupation, about what or who makes sense.
So she went with a friend of hers, one who had lost her father in a suicide bombing, to get a real idea of the occupied territories.
In a Combatants for Peace meeting Neta got to see the reality not through media or propaganda but through stories told by real people. Neta began to understand where this reality stems from.
Neta has continued to take part in Combatants for Peace activities, her friend however joined the PCFF.
On a joint trip to Ireland everyone on the Tel Aviv- Tul Karem group shared their story. While a Palestinian girl told hers, Neta began to weep. She had begun to understand that the story she was hearing was close to home - it was her mother’s story. This Palestinian girl, as it turned out, had too lost a father, a husband and a cousin - just as her mother did. When the girl finished sharing Neta felt awkward - she had not been crying for the girl she had been crying for her own family, herself. Since that day she has felt a strong connection to the ceremony and devotes the lion share of her work with the organization to the organizing of this ceremony.
Neta has come to the understanding that our fate is shared and that this understanding is a gateway to change.