The Common Good

An Israeli Conscript's Mother Speaks Out

It's hard to believe that people all around the world are learning about my 19-year-old son Yuval. I know that I'm proud of him. I just never expected the world to be proud of him. As I write this, Yuval's in jail, serving his second term. We don't know how or when this will end.

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When Yuval was nine years old, he met Palestinians for the first time while we were visiting them after being liberated from jail as administrative detainees. I think this was probably the first time something in his naïve conception about good and bad was broken and he began to ask questions.

It's hard to be a mother of a kid like this. I want him to be enjoying his teenage years. I want him to benefit from the fruits of my and Yuval's father's labor, and I want him to live in a world where he doesn't have to serve in a military that occupies another people. I am sad that I haven't been able to create that world for him. But I am proud that he's trying to create it for himself.

Here's why it matters that the rest of the world is paying attention to Yuval, Raz, and the other Shministim. The Israeli government would like nothing better than to believe that everyone in the world supports Israel unconditionally. Even people in Israel don't unconditionally support it. The sad fact is that the occupation is destroying us all -- Israelis and Palestinians alike. Supporting the Shministim is a way to do your part to end the occupation and bring comfort and well-being to our peoples.

I am sending a letter. Will you do the same? Please go to December18th.org and sign a letter now. Ask those you know to sign their names. Your support means so much to my son and his friends, to me, to all of us who want and deserve a real future in this part of the world.

Ayelet Ophir-Auron lives in Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam, Israel.

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