Fake Lens Glasses by Ido Cohen, Israel

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Ten years ago, my life changed. Bus number 37 exploded in Haifa, Israel.

Three kids from my school died. If it wasn’t for a school trip that was randomly planned that day, I would have been on that bus. Bus number 37 is the bus I use to take home. I was leaving my school at 2:00PM, Bus number 37 exploded at 2:12PM.

We came back from the trip as the funeral services were being held. I could not go. I didn’t want to go. A 14 year old boy doesn’t know how to handle these kinds of situations. At that time I didn’t care why everything happened; I only wanted it to stop.

No, this is not a cry for help, or another Israeli story to bring readers to choose sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I bet any Palestinian could tell you a much worse story than mine. The fact is that nowadays, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a trend just as fake lens glasses that people use without questioning it.  And this is what disturbs me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the criticism over Israel’s policy towards the conflict, or should I say: lack of policy; I welcome it with open arms. I read the harsh opinions of journalists, politicians, professors and peace activists all the time. But the problem starts when liberalism becomes a trend rather than a political view, when the end doesn’t justify the means.

The Israelis and the Palestinians, politicians and civilians alike, act like any other human being would when an accusations are hanging above their heads: Instead of taking a moment to think through and try to figure out a real solution to our problems, both sides choose to believe that the real problem is to find the best way to handle the daily accusations. And these accusations are vast! They range from ‘apartheid state’ to ‘genocide’ and ‘terror’. Boycotting a country is a sanction that might not always work. Extreme ways of expression lead to extreme defense mechanisms that irremediably lead to a dead end. And everyone seems to ignore it.

Bus number 37 still runs to this day. Every time I see it, I remind myself that when I was ten, my mom told me: “when you grow up, you won’t have to serve in the army”. It’s been four years now since I finished my military service. I crave for peace with my neighbors more than anything else in the world. I would  rather take the fake /fashionable lens glasses down, skip my turn in the public discussion and let matters take a back seat. Maybe then, our governments will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Ido Cohen,

YaLa Young Leaders

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