Delegate: Ms. Polina Kempinsky
58. Ms. Kempinsky (Israel), explaining that she was the youth delegate of Israel to the General Assembly, said that she had grown up in Haifa, a city known for its multiculturalism. As a child she had had Christian, Druze and Muslim neighbours and learned about Christmas and Ramadan from her classmates. As teenagers, they had done volunteer work in hospitals, animal shelters and other locations, each contributing to the local community. Such a community worked well when everyone understood that their economy and well-being were more important than their differences.
59. Her childhood memories, however, also included terrorist attacks and the accompanying anxiety about the fate of loved ones. Today, children living in Israeli villages close to Gaza were growing up in fear, knowing that they must be within 30 seconds’ running distance of a bomb shelter and wondering how Hamas might attack next: by launching rockets at their kindergartens or fire kites at their family wheat crops, or perhaps by digging a new terrorist tunnel. Throughout the country, generations were growing up in fear. Recently, a young mother had been killed by a co-worker in an attack that had turned a harmonious workplace into a scene of terrorism. Just walking in the streets could be dangerous; drivers turned their cars into deadly weapons and young Palestinians used kitchen knives to stab passers-by, becoming terrorists before graduating from high school.
60. Things could be different. In Haifa and elsewhere, young Israelis and Palestinians had found ways to communicate with one another, to develop visions and projects and dream together of something better. She wanted a future in which she and her family could feel safe, not only in Haifa, but anywhere in the country. The United Nations had the ability to lead. It was unfortunate that some delegations used it as a platform for incitement. Rather, it should be a place for all to listen, to express different opinions and find ways to bridge them, to create plans and partnerships. That was what the current discussion ought to be about.
UN Doc.: A/C.2/73/SR.22