Personal stories

Personal stories

The first meetings between Palestinians and Israelis, that eventually led to the establishment of the “Combatants for Peace” movement, centered around the telling of participants’ personal stories. It began with the spontaneous need to learn about the other side and developed into a coherent perception that the way to peace is through a deep recognition of the humanity of the other side. Our personal story, Palestinians and Israelis, is the story of life here, a story of the violence to which we were partners or witnesses but, equally, a story of choosing a path of non-violence and partnership.

Uri Ben Assa

Ramat HaSharon

Uri Ben Assa, 67 years old, found “Combatants for Peace” thanks to the movies. Five years ago, nearing the age of retirement, Uri returned from a few years abroad. Suddenly he realized he had a lot of time on his […]

Udi Gur


For me, CfP is a community in which I have partners and friends with whom I share the dream, the willingness, and the path.
I grew up in a leftist-Zionist family, with grandparents who were Holocaust survivors, and a strong connection […]

Tareq abu zahra


I was born in Yatta in 1979. My story is the story of a family living under occupation. When I was 18 months old, my father emigrated to Jorden for work, so I was raised by my grandmother and uncles.
My […]

Tal Rogoff


Shortly after completing her service as Casualty Officer during the Second Intifada, Tal hurried to return to her roots in New Zealand. The shame or trauma was so deep, that she did her best not to be reminded of being […]

Suliman al-Khatib


Growing up, my family was badly impacted by the ongoing conflict; there was so much suffering all around me. My heart cried out for my people, and I desperately wanted to help my family and my community. I was determined […]

Shay Eluk

Be'er Sheva

My parents made Aliyah from Morocco in the 1970s, and after a period in a transit camp, they moved to Jerusalem, where I was born and raised on its beauties and its so-called “complexity”.
Politics was not discussed at home, and […]

Riad Hallis

West Bank

Before the first Intifada, as a kid, Riad didn’t really experience the occupation. His father, who was a teacher, had Jewish friends and other Israelis would come and buy stone from the family’s factory and visit their house, in the […]

Rami Ben-Ari


I grew up in a place that saw peace and human rights as higher values.
During the first Lebanon war, as part of my role as a combatant in an elite unit, I entered a Palestinian house in a refugee camp […]

Osama Elewat


I was born in Silwan to a Palestinian family that had to move to Jericho when I was 11 years old. Until then, I had no idea what a Jew or an Israeli was, and what Occupation meant.
My first encounter […]

Oren Kalisman

Tel Aviv

Like my brothers and parents, at aged 18 I went into the army. I joined a special unit in the paratroopers, and after two years became an officer. At the start of the Second Intifada I was called to the […]

Nour Shehadah


The same day that I opened an office for peace, I was arrested by the Israeli army again, just as I was leaving to go on an outing with my wife and children. They tied me up, blindfold and interrogated […]

Noga Har-Paz


I grew up in Haifa, in a moderate-Left house of Ha’avoda (Labor) voters. In my childhood, my grandparents, whose parents immigrated to Israel on the Third and Fourth Aliyah (1919-1931) told me stories about their Palmach service and the establishment […]

Noam Aronovitz


My name is Noam Aronovitz. I was born and raised in Jerusalem by parents who came to Israel for Zionist reasons. A large part of my mother’s family was decimated in the Holocaust.
When I finished high school, I settled into […]

Netta Hazan


I grew up in Jerusalem only 15 minutes away from Bethlehem, which I frequently visited throughout my life. My father employed Palestinians, so they visited our house often, as did my parents’ Palestinian friends.
In high school I learned Arabic (as […]

Natan Landau


When I look back today at my encounter with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I think that most of my childhood was sterile in a sense: I saw Palestinians in the Old City market and in the news, or from time to […]

Mutasem Mafarjeh

west bank

I’m Mutasem Mafarjeh, I am against violence in any form because violence produces violence.
My grandmother was seven months pregnant with my father, when grandfather decided to find a better opportunity in Colombia.  He left his pregnant wife and the whole […]

Moran Zamir


After he was released from his service as a combat fighter, Moran Zamir (29) decided to disconnect from everything. The young man, who today works in a rehabilitation project for mentally impaired youth, withdrew from everything  and went into the […]

Mohamed Owedah


Mohamed Owedah, a social worker, was born in the village of Silwan in East Jerusalem, Al Quds. Mohamad’s village is the biggest village in Palestine, but it is also a very popular village amongst the settlers due to its proximity […]

Michal Hochberg


I was born in Rishon LeZion. My father was born in Poland and moved to Israel when he was one years old. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors who had lost almost all of their family in the war. My grandmother’s […]

Maya Katz

Tel-Aviv Maya’s grandparents left Poland and Germany before the Second World War, in order to help build the new state of Israel. The kibbutz where Maya grew up, “Emek Ha Yarden”, was built upon land of an abandoned Arab village.

Maya Epstein


I was a kid when the Oslo accords took place. It was hopeful time, when my parents would tell me, “when you grow up you won’t have to serve in the military” and they believed it. In my family I […]

Maia Hascal

Tel Aviv

As a social worker in the second Lebanon war, Maia had close contact with residents in their shelters as well as with South Lebanon Army members who came into Israel. She saw them all. She also saw the various petitions […]

Lee Aldar


I was born in Tel Aviv to Israeli parents, and I am the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. I grew up with great appreciation for the fact that Israel exists, knowing that if it had not been founded my grandparents would […]

Kholod Abu-Raeya


Kholod Abu-Raeya is well aware of that fact that she’s an unusual phenomenon. A Palestinian woman in an organization such as Combatants for Peace is uncommon; but 30 year-old Kholod found the movement through another woman: her mother, a seasoned […]

Jamel Mizaro


The struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people has always been a central theme in Jamel’s life. From the moment he became aware of the Israel-Palestine conflict, he took part in the struggle. He knew that the struggle for […]

Irit Hakim

Rishon Letzion

I was born in Rosh Pina, the fifth generation of a rooted family, in a home where friendship and partnership with Arab neighbours was a way of life.
But, I also heard about ‘different’ Arabs – the Syrians on the Golan […]

Hillel Bardin


My father was born in 1898 in Ukraine. As a child he lived through terrible pogroms in which Jews were killed and attacked, without the police giving any protection. This, and his knowledge of Jewish history, convinced him that Jews […]

Galia Galili

Ramat HaSharon

I grew up in a household filled with many contrasts.
My mother was born in Scotland to a mother who had been born and raised in Jaffa, and defined herself as Palestinian. Her father was British and did not know Hebrew […]

Fatma Muhamed


I was born in Susya 39 years ago. My parents, grandfather, grandmother and many generations before them were also born in Susiya where they have built their home. In 1986 we were expelled from the village by the Israelis and […]

Ella Naor


I grew up in Rehovot, in a secular, Zionist family of European extraction. The rise of Nazism drove my grandparents to leave Europe and build their home in Israel. I was raised to be a good citizen and to contribute […]

David Willner


I grew up with parents who believed that just as we have a country and deserve to live in it safely, the Palestinians deserve one too.
Until I joined the military at 18, as required by law, I was very […]

Chen Alon

Tel Aviv

Chen Alon is a theater director, facilitator and lecturer at Tel Aviv University. Chen served for four years in the Israeli army and then for 11 years as an operations officer in the reserves. Later, he became a refusnik and […]

Ben Yeger

England Ben Yeger served in the Nachal Unit of the Israeli Army between 1983 and 1986 during the first Lebanon War. He is now the UK Rep of Combatants for Peace and has been a member in the movement since 2008.

Bassam Aramin

Anata, East Jerusalem Bassam Aramin became involved in the Palestinian struggle as a boy growing up in the ancient city of Hebron. At 17, he was caught planning an attack on Israeli troops, and spent seven years in army prison.

Avner Wishnitzer


Avner Wishnitzer was born on Kibbutz Schiller near Rehovot. Where he grew up, serving in the army was considered not only a patriotic duty but also a personal test. As his conscription date approached, Avner chose to serve in the […]

Avner Horowitz

Tel-Aviv It was only when participating the Israeli-Palestinian memorial day for the first time that Avner was relieved. “I could breathe again” so he described the sensation and consciousness that things can be different.

Assaf Yacobovitz


Assaf is a clinical therapist. He was born, raised and currently resides in Tel-Aviv. His parents grew up in Tel Aviv, after their parents fled Poland during WWII. The son of a well educated, middle-class family in a big city […]

Ahmed Helou


Ahmed was born in Jericho. At the age of 15, Ahmed joined the local Hamas movement. He raised Palestinian flags and threw stones at soldiers. In 1992 Ahmed was sentenced to seven months in Israeli army prison as a political […]