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Hi. My name is Noga and I live in Israel.

I’m a 90s child. I like to be recognized as a 90s Girl because I grew up during the time where children didn’t have cell phones or iPods. We had a Tetris, a Discman and a tiny Tamagotchi which died every few days because we forgot to feed it. I was (and still am) a Disney child; I grew up loving Ariel and Belle; dreamed that “someday my prince will come / someday I’ll find my love…”; thought about Prince Charming arriving to rescue me.

However, growing up in Israel during the 90s… well, let’s just say this was a different experience. 

You call it the Second Intifada; I call it terror. I don’t remember a lot from that time; all I remember is the cold fear that took a hold of me every time I had to climb a bus. All I remember is the cold sweat I would broke into every time I had to ride my dad’s car near a bus. I remember that clenching fist of fright when I was in a crowd of people.

I remember all the suicide attacks during those years. It was the time where I was afraid to leave the house, afraid to go to my grandmother’s house who lives in Jerusalem. I was thirteen, maybe fourteen. I was in high school; those were supposed to be my best years. Somehow, sometimes, all I remember from those years is the gripping fear that something might happen to my loved ones; I don’t think I ever actually worried for myself.

As a child you are never aware of the politics involved all those horrid incidents. You never understand why some people want you dead; why buses should be a scary vehicle and not because of its size; why you have to hand your bag to the security guard every time you want to buy a new dress in the mall. We had – and still have – a dark humored saying that goes like this:

On a glass door on one of the stores at the mall there’s a piece of paper. On that paper you read: “In our store, we have a day with a suicide attack and a day without. On and off. Yesterday there was one.”

You can realize how un-funny it is, when you really think about it.

Nonetheless, it was still time of fun. Admit it or not, at a certain point you start to ignore security guards who stand in front of mall entrances; you learn to ignore the numbing terror and learn your life. All you want to be is a normal teenager; to forget the fact that your country is at war; to push every unnecessary thought to the back of your skull. And so I can remember one afternoon during high school, where my entire year decorated the walls. I remember how movie-like it felt; music was heard everywhere; there was loud laughter and simple, genuine joy.

I don’t care that my childhood wasn’t perfect. I grew up knowing there are people who want me dead, even though they do not know me, and this is an awareness no child should ever be familiar with. However, I don’t regret living here. This is my country; this is where I was born and raised; where I can take a bus and drive to the Western Wall whenever I feel like; where I can find a snowed mountain in the north and a desert in the west; where we have the lowest place on earth.

This is where I grew up and I will never trade it for the world.

4 Responses to “Guest post: an Israeli 90s child”

  1. Tal H says:

    Great post, Snogs, I can relate to the full extent. As a kid I actually got off of buses that I felt unprotected in.
    Chas, you’re awesome for giving Snogsie a stage.

  2. oyvagoy says:

    Thanks for the guest post, Snogsie. So beautifully put.

    Hope to see you next month. I’ve a copy of my Taylor Swift book for you!

  3. Herb Glatter says:

    Noga – thank you for being a mensch. During those horrific years after the handshake on the White House lawn when infants, children, women and men were blown to bits by homicidal suicide killers hatred of Jews did not diminish one iota. I was in Israel in 2012, stayed at Hayarkon 48 hostel. Steps away at the Opera Hotel there was a “security guard” casually inspecting bags and people who were about to enter the lobby.Security guards were unnecessary at palestinian groceries, hotels or pizza shops because Jews are decent people. Am Yisrael Chai.

  4. carol says:

    I remember too. All too well. Sitting in a cafe in Tel Aviv, sipping coffee, trying to cal myself, after my partner died suddenly. Seeing a guy with a large bag dressed in joggers with ‘that look’ on his face, walking towards me. (He didn’t explode) The fear.
    Afraid to get the bus to Haifa. Afraid to get the bus to Beit Shemesh. Afraid to get in a friend’s car in case we drove near a bus.
    Horrible fear everywhere. But then the usual Israeli fastaslistic attitude kicks in. If your numbers up, your numbers up. Those evil bastards won’t stop me living my life.
    Making eye contact with other Israelis on the bus. Yes, its OK. We’re on a bus and WE WILL arrive safely to our destination. Unspoken. But so reassuring.
    Never want to go back to those times. But thank G-d, for the Israeli strength of spirit. Having lived through those times I know we will NEVER let the terrorists win.
    Shavua Tov to you all. xx

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