The first time we encountered Zochrot was at a seminar that both of us took part in. During the seminar we went on a tour of Jaffa, which was guided by the Arab Committee of Jaffa. The tour passed through the old city and the alleys that the Arab residents of Jaffa constructed and which today are populated by a Jewish population. It was the first up-front look that we had with the Nakba. The old city was turned by force into an city whose Arab identity was erased. The experience was hard and emotional, but it encouraged us to become interested and to take action on this issue.
As part of a younger generation, Zochrot activists suggested that we prepare an activity that deals with the Nakba in order to involve other young people. We chose the village of Jalame and we started making connections with the displaced people of the village. With their help we learned about the history of the village, the expulsion and the injustice that was caused to its residents.
We grew up in Israel and we were exposed primarily to history from the side of the "winners," the strong, those having legitimacy. When we got to the age where our political awareness was starting to develop we started becoming interested in history that is not presented by the militaristic education system. We started to discover that parallel to the Zionist narrative there is a different narrative, where Zionist actions seem not as pretty, heroic, and just. With this perspective we came to organize the tour with Zochrot. We had the need to try to present a story that few people have the opportunity to hear anywhere else.
Since we started working on this project we got mixed reactions. On one hand we received support, encouragement, and praise from the people who are close to us really, and we were even able to raise interest and a desire to help on the part of people we met. As expected, on the other hand some people found it difficult to accept the possibility that there is a "different story," and another response was people who perceived the activity as being unserious. Some claimed that we were pretending to make a change when in fact our activity would bee too small to have any significance. We think the opposite, that our activity is significant, not as a solution but as a small step that will bring about recognition and a new discussion, since it is impossible to talk and to arrive at an understanding of this kind of topic without coming to know all its different sides.
On the car ride to Jatt we met with the members of the Nadaf family and we heard each one's personal stories, which were very moving and difficult. During the stories we felt that whether or not we wanted to, we were part of what they went through.
We feel the need to persist in this kind of activity out of the thought that it is meaningful as a small step in the journey to recognition of the existence of the other side and the complexity of its existence.
Jalame Tour 2004 (6)
Jalame Tour 2004 (2)