Nothing in Robi Damelin’s life could have prepared her for that day. Not growing up in South Africa under Apartheid. Not her immigration to Israel in 1967. Nor any other character forging event throughout her life. A mother is not meant to bear the death of her own child. But what is meant to be, is not always what ends up happening. Robi’s son David was shot by a Palestinian sniper in March of 2002. But from the endless grief and sorrow, Robi chose to re-emerge with a new purpose in life.
Counting from 1860, 23,645 Israelis have lost their lives in wars or terror attacks. Every year, on the national memorial day, around 1.5 millions Israelis – almost 19% of Israel’s population – visit the cemeteries to remember their lost loved ones. But recently, on the national memorial day, there’s another event that catches public attention – the alternative memorial ceremony, conducted by the Parents Circle Families Forum, in which both Israeli families who lost their loved ones to war or terror attacks, and Palestinian families who lost their loved ones in war – unite in their grief.
The controversy in Israeli society around these ceremonies, and around the Forum’s agenda in general – is vigorous. Nevertheless, the organization, that has more than 600 families as members, both Israeli and Palestinian, continues its struggle to end the violence. Robi Damelin is the Forum’s spokesman, and she’s here today to talk about her personal story, about her son David, and about the Parents Circle Families Forum, which became her life’s purpose.
Official website of The Israel-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace Circle
This episode is brought to you by the Hamburg University of Technology’s International Robotics Camp for Girls
(Photo by Dan Peretz)