After he was released from his service as a combat fighter, Moran Zamir (29) decided to disconnect from everything. The young man, who today works in a rehabilitation project for mentally impaired youth, withdrew from everything and went into the world; but withdrawing did not help. “I saw that I cannot stay apathetic, that everything happening is Israel is a part of me”, he says.
His first step of exploration was going to a joint Israeli-Palestinian seminar in Germany. There, of all places, was the first time he got to speak to Palestinians as equals.
Yet the effort to withdraw broke down completely the first time Moran attended the joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony. For years he had felt like the state’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were a disgrace to the memory of his friends who had been killed in the military. It was in the joint ceremony that he felt, for the first time, that their death was honored. He felt comfortable there, as though someone was speaking his language and was giving meaning to this special day.
This is how his activity with Combatants for Peace began four years ago. In the last two years Moran has been the Israeli coordinator for the movement’s Jerusalem-Jericho group. He spent a lot of time wondering: what makes Combatants for Peace different from any other movement? The conclusion he reached is what he considers to be the essence of the movement: “Combatants for Peace answered my needs because they are not trying to diminish each other’s narratives”. He concludes, “on the contrary. They seek to make these narratives meet without canceling each other.” Moran, who once wished to avoid dealing with reality, found a place where he wants to pursue it.