An interview with Zohara Hadad towards the upcoming sale for the children of Gaza, March 17-18 2017

On March 17-18 a sale for Gaza’s children will take place in Almasan in Jaffa, and in parallel donations  are being collected for the project. The initiator is Zohara Hadad, a psychotherapist and activist in Taayush. This is an unusual action in the Israeli public space, giving recognition to the children living in Gaza, their rights and needs, recognition that their development is important and worthy of defense and support.

Gaza sale photo

I spoke to Zohara who told me:

“I think a lot about what is going on in Gaza. I’m active in Ta’ayush and see the situation in the occupied territories and know that the situation in Gaza is even harder. I thought that it’s important to once give the children in Gaza a moment of happiness. It won’t change their lives, it won’t save them, but it’s recognition that someone is thinking about them and understands their distress. I want to try and make them happy.”

“The story of Gaza is very hard to live with. You see your reality and know what is going on so close to you. I thought “what can I do?”. I don’t have connections or funds, so I thought of a sale and to collect money. The idea is to buy gifts according to age groups: for the youngest children teddy bears and dolls, for the older kids footballs and art materials, for adolescents a significant book like Kahlil Gibran or The Little Prince, a notebook and pen. Each gift will be personally wrapped and a letter will be attached in Hebrew and Arabic.”

“I turned to different schools. The Jewish-Arab school in Jaffa will participate. Other schools are considering the project. The youth in the Jewish-Arab center in Jaffa will wrap the gifts and translate letters. There is a group of teachers whose extended families will also write.”

I asked Zohara about her choice to focus on children and she spoke of their developmental vulnerability:

“I always see the children, look at them. They live under oppression that doesn’t let them build their strength so they can thrive. They are exposed to trauma from the moment they are born, actually they are in a continuous trauma and continuous suffering. They lack what can nourish their self. I see the children in the South Hebron hills, the children in the Jordan Valley, and I see children with an endangered future. The adults are suffering, but they have a past, perspective and strength. When I meet children I see their longing, how connection and a smile make them happy. They are hungry and thirsty for something beneficent. What can I give the adults? I can’t get them work permits. Children can be happy from such small things.”

I asked Zohara about the responses she got. She said:

“Lots and lots of people responded and asked to participate. Everyone is eager to contribute. People really want to do something, and often we don’t know what to do, so when there’s an initiative they want to participate. It’s unbelievable how many people are in pain about what is going on in Gaza. many people volunteered to help. Vered Bitan build the facebook page, Almasan are hosting the event, Buma Inbar, who works to help sick children in Gaza and the West bank, is helping in many ways.”

“It’s important to have the sale in Jaffa, firstly because it’s important to have joint Jewish-Arab action, where it’s not one side giving and the other receiving. We’re together. No matter what they say, we’re together. Also – many families from Jaffa were made to leave in ’48 and arrived in Gaza, so it’s the right place.”

AlmasanBuma InbarGazaJaffaVered BitanZohara Hadad