Newsday Tuesday: what children talk about when they talk about the Gaza conflict

By Global Moms Challenge

July 22, 2014

In a conflict that has been unfolding for decades, shaped by a history unfolding for centuries, the reality of this latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not unique. Impacted most of all are the region’s children. Christie Case Bryant and Ahmed Aldabba, report in the Christine Science Monitor on conversations between parents and children on both sides of this never-ending war.


Ravit Dagmi Lowe comforts her 11-year old daughter Romi on a day that has already had eight rounds of air-raid sirens. “Why doesn’t the [Israeli] army just go and blow up all of Gaza?” Romi asked recently.

“How would you feel if the army came and blew up your school?” Ms. Lowe says she responded. “Their mothers are trying to calm them down as well. We know it’s not the people of Gaza that are enemies. They’re held hostage just like all of us here.”

Ghadir Nabil’s toddler cries with each Israeli strike. “His tears tear my heart into pieces,” says Nabil. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Nabil often pops balloons so her son gets used to the sound of explosions. “When we hear a big explosion, I tell him dad’s big balloon on the rooftop popped. He smiles right after I tell him this.”

‘What did we do to them?’

“Why the Jews are bombing our homes? What did we to do them? Will they bomb our house? Our house is facing the sea – will the gunboats that shoot at Gaza all the time invade the beach and kill us?”

Raed Lafi, a journalist and father of six answered, “I never lied to them,” he says. “I told them we are an occupied people [and that] it always happens that wars and confrontations erupt between occupiers and occupied people.”

Israeli kids have the same questions. Chava Leah Tzohar, a mother of four from Yeruham, south of Beersheva says “I tell him that they don’t want us to be here. They don’t think this country belongs to the people of Israel. So since we came, they always try to scare us and to make us decide to leave.”

Soothing the Children – Fireworks, Dancing and Stories

Tal Rotem in Beersheva invents a Gangnam Style dance in the shelter for his three kids. Yifat Ofri, a mother of four, created a character named Olla whose singing is the sound of the air-raid siren—she just published a book about Olla that is selling well.

In Gaza parents pretend the noise is fireworks. “[My 4-year-old son] once asked me not to cry saying, ‘It’s just fireworks, Mama,’” says Bassant Mohammed, now pregnant with her second child.

“Sometimes [kids’] questions cause more pain than the Israeli airstrikes,” says Umm Islam, a mother from Jabaliyya.

The article concludes back in Ashkelon, with Romi’s mother, “I pray for their safety and their children’s safety. I pray for them and wish for them the best of everything. Just to be a mom enjoying her child.”

Take Action Challenge

Read the Christian Science Monitor’s full reporting here. Have you faced war or a terrible tragedy with your children? How did you handle their questions? What can we learn from each other when we see each other as fellow parents just trying to make a better life for our children?


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