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The student news site of de Toledo High School

The Prowler

The student news site of de Toledo High School

The Prowler

Israeli teen: ‘The pressure they are putting on Israel to end the war is not justified’

Emily Botwinick
Ayanna D., an Israeli teen who lives in a kibbutz near the Gaza strip, is visiting dTHS for two weeks (Feb. 15, 2024).

Many months after the inception of the Israel Hamas war, I got the chance to sit down with a student who lives in the middle of it all: a small kibbutz only two miles from the Gaza strip. 

At 6:30 in the morning on Oct. 7, alarms blared around Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, warning residents to take immediate shelter in their panic rooms. Sixteen-year-old Ayanna D. recounts hearing bombings and shootings for hours on end while sheltered in place. This went on for eight hours, and, although terrorists did not get into Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, they did get into a neighboring Kibbutz and proceeded to commit unspeakable acts of terrorism and war. 

On that day, Ayanna’s life changed. She moved out of the kibbutz with her family and moved into an apartment building, where she would stay for the next three months. Her school gave her the opportunity to travel to the United States with a few other kids in her grade, and now that she is here, her parents have been cleared to safely move back to the kibbutz.

Ayanna’s grandparents live in the kibbutz as well, along with her uncles and aunts. “Everybody is going back to the Kibbutz,” she said. Her cousin is done with school and is going back to the army in May.

Ayanna’s family stayed safe throughout the war. However, this was not the case for a lot of Israelis. Today, Israel is “not exactly normal, but better,” she said. “There are still alarms and rockets, just less.” Still, people near Gaza can’t go back to their homes because of the war, she said.

During this interview, I wanted to know her opinion on the politics behind the war.  Although America is one of Israel’s greatest allies, she said, “America does not understand our side.”  The pressure they are putting on Israel to end the war is not justified, she said, as Israelis do not yet feel confident that Hamas and other terrorist groups have been completely eradicated. 

Ayanna returns to Israel Monday to her three cats, Ginger, Franchesca, and Lilly, and one dog Sophie. She said she found all of them on the street and took them in. “Someone abandoned the dog next to the kibbutz,” she said. Currently, the cats are still in the house, but every week, her dad goes back to feed them. The dog is with them all the time. 

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