“The war is in my house. He has invaded my privacy” are her first words Michal Govrinon the other side of the screen, in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem.
“We have the feeling of war, already on the morning of October 7, with the first alarm I ran up the stairs, together with other families, to find shelter. The country is in a state of shock,” adds the Israeli writer, director, academic and daughter of a Holocaust survivor, whose father is the founder of Kibbutz Tel Yosef.
Alarms that go off every now and then. Hotels full of displaced people – much of Israel is evacuated, both north and south. According to Govrin, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv those who demonstrated against the government created from the first moment a large network of solidarity.
“Because we don’t feel that the government is working,” he explains. The leading Israeli author (Salon du Livre ranked her among the thirty authors who left their mark on world literature) describes to us that the volunteers work day and night “collecting food, hosting people in their apartments”.
“They believed that Hamas is not an immediate danger”
In the second year, she personally experienced the shock of the Hamas attack, visiting Kibbutz Beeri. “I saw with my own eyes the remains of the carnage, the brutality in this paradise in the desert. The people who lived there believed in peace. One of the hostages is a pro-people activist in Gaza. The fragile dream of peace was abused in the most cynical and savage way.”
“We have lost all sense of security,” says Govrin. What was wrong? “Our blindness, extreme self-confidence and naivety. They believed that Hamas was not an immediate threat and the warnings were dismissed.”
The secret services and the military took responsibility but “unfortunately, no one in the government had the courage to take their share of responsibility,” he points out. “Since taking office in January, the government has been busy dividing the society. The legislative reform both divided us and weakened us. But the people he loathed and called traitors are the ones who voluntarily hold the nation together today.”
“Netanyahu,” argues Govrin, “is the totem of a leader who has lost his humanity. He hangs on to power by brazenly manipulating the media. And he and his government were arrogant before the massacre,” he continues, commenting on the “savage propaganda war” on both sides.
“At the same time we are witnessing the strange condition of blaming the victim for his fate. To blame Israel for the barbaric, well-planned by Iran, Hamas attack. We Israelis are also blamed for the Palestinians in Gaza who are hostages of Hamas.”
“Gaza turned into a prison”
“Gaza could be the Monaco, the Riviera of the Middle East, but by slaughtering the people of the Palestinian Authority and throwing them from the roofs, Hamas took over in 2007 and Gaza turned into a prison. The role of Hamas is now over in the international arena” he estimates.
The Forum of Hostages and Their Families disputes that the main objective of the Israeli army’s operations in Gaza is to free the hostages. “Agree. The release of the hostages should be Israel’s highest goal,” she emphasizes, while her thoughts are also on the Palestinian civilians. “A free zone should be created in the South, with hospitals, schools,” continues Govrin, who insists on believing in the two-state solution.
He did not expect to experience today’s upsurge of anti-Semitism again. But her biggest fear today is “being killed by an Iranian atomic bomb. My fear is also the ancient fear of a persecuted nation running from one massacre to another… that we will have to invent a place to continue to exist. My fear is a world war.”