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Zoria Haddad - The voice of an Israeli activist

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

My name is Zoria Haddad, I was born in Tunis 60 years ago. I am a psychotherapist by profession.

When I was 5 years old, my family immigrated to Israel, I grew up in a religious and right-wing family.

By the age of 22 I had already voted two times for two right-wing parties.

My first turning point was at the university in the class "Society and Regime in the State of Israel", where I met a man and a great teacher who opened my eyes and introduced us to the truth and hidden reality.

The second turning point was in the first intifada at the end of 1987, when I volunteered with friends at the "Center for the Defence of the Individual" who helped the Palestinians locate their family members who had been "kidnapped" by the GSS and the army. For the first time, I was exposed to the suffering of the Palestinian people, the oppression, the violence, the cruelty that Israel is using and to the palestinian pain.

For almost 35 years, my friends and I have been fighting the occupation that is only intensifying day by day, like a giant octopus whose arms grip the Palestinian people and suffocate it.

Since then my life has completely changed, gradually as in a puzzle I began to see the full picture, part by part, revealed to me, the lies the Israeli government tells the people and the world,I realize that the real goal since 1948 is to expel the Palestinian people from its land and all means are allowed. Racism and supremacy, inhumanity towards the Palestinians, as if they were not human beings.

It is very difficult for me to live in this country and to be part of a society that part of it is abusing other people and most of it is silent.

In my understanding this is not a conflict, there are no two strong sides here, the occupation is not political,it is a moral matter that requires everyone to fight it, the State of Israel uses the holy word "security" to expel the Palestinians.

Later, I joined Yesh Gvul movement, which mentally and financially supports soldiers who refuse to take part in the occupation, we tried to raise awarenes to the illegal orders that soldiers are forced to carry out. I had hope that we would be able tomake an impact.

Than I joined "Machsom Watch", I felt the need to operate in the occupied territories, within the occupation, as I got closer the difficulty and mental distress increased.

In the days when I stood at the checkpoints, I could not function later. The harsh sights of old people, mothers with babies, small children standing for hours in all weathers, the degrading treatment of soldiers and sometimes the violence against the Palestinians and the abuse of them just because they can .

After about a year and a half of activity I left .

I joined “Taayush” (living together in Arabic) which was established in partnership with Palestinian friends to fight the occupation and I am there to this day.The joint activity creates personal connections and I feel a great closeness to them, also because of the resemblance to my family.The struggle gets more personal expression, it is no longer "their" stories, these are people I love and appreciate.

I also stand with "Women in Black," which during the wake of the first intifada, exposed the atrocities of the occupation to the Jewish Israellis. Women stand in squares in different cities with signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English that say "End the occupation".The goal is to fight the attempt to hide the occupation from the collective consciousness, which unfortunately is quite successful.This leads to the new and all-important organization of "Looking the Occupation in the Eye", to tell Israelis who do not know or do not want to know, what we have been doing to the Palestinian people and to ourselves for 55 years.

These activities changed my life completely.

As in a "family" in distress that cannot take care of itself, I think Israel needs an external border, a border that helps it stop the transcendence of the Palestinian people, a border that helps it to be more moraland humane.

In my point of view, the world has a very important role to play in influencing the situation. When you support Israel without bounds, you are "helping" it to deteriorate further and further .

The Israeli society is detached from the suffering of the Palestinian people .This in itself has a lot of meaning.

As long as the occupation is not over, a lot of blood will continue to be shed on both sides and a lot of pain and suffering will be caused to everyone on both sides.

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