„Why I came to the seminar has a lot to do with my military experience. In recent years, I have been increasingly looking for ways to get involved in relations between Israelis and Palestinians. (…)

When the Palestinians here in the seminar told me where they were from, it was difficult for me to tell them that I have been to every single city and in every village they live in. (…)

I always wore the military uniform, the rifle, the power. To meet in the seminar, face to face, a young Palestinian my age, whose home I had invaded ten years ago and whom I woke up in the middle of the night, to see him and his family and his eyes full of fear and to see my eyes, full of inner fear, is very painful. Sitting here now and even telling this story, hearing his story, it hurts so much. (…)

How have the countless nights I went into houses or carried out operations influenced the lives of children and with what trauma do they grow up? Here I suddenly had a very strong, sad and painful insight when I heard and understood firsthand how many children have been growing up in such a reality for years and still are growing up like that now. (…)

There is no humane way to break into a families‘ home at three in the morning, whether you are coming to find a family member for interrogation, if you are looking for guns there, or simply to get into the house because it is a good point for scouting, or because you want to put pressure on another family member who lives in another village or town. There is no way that does no harm and does not cause anger or resentment on the other side. Because you enter into the most personal and intimate place of a family. You wake them up in the middle of the night.“

David* (name changed) attended the Allgenders Seminar last year, where he met Palestinians* for the first time outside his role as an Israeli soldier. In the full interview, which you can read here, he talks about his experiences at the seminar, his service in the army and the growing doubts that led him to the decision to refuse reserve service.