This piece is one of an ongoing series that we will be sharing in the coming days from Israeli authors and authors in Israel.
It is critical to understand history not just through the books that will be written later, but also through the first-hand testimonies and real-time accounting of events as they occur. At Jewish Book Council, we understand the value of these written testimonials and of sharing these individual experiences. It’s more important now than ever to give space to these voices and narratives.
In collaboration with the Jewish Book Council, JBI is recording writers’ first-hand accounts, as shared with and published by JBC, to increase the accessibility of these accounts for individuals who are blind, have low vision or are print disabled.
Nobody knocked on our roof, no one warned us that this is what might happen to us on that Saturday, October 7, 2023, the eve of Simchat Torah, one of the most important Jewish holidays.
Many poets from around the world have turned to me to ask how I am over these last terrible days. I have not stopped explaining to them what is happening in Israel and in the Middle East.
I stand before you not only as an Israeli poet, but as a descendant of someone who was executed for teaching Hebrew. I have no country other than Israel.
Hamas terrorists entered my country and raped young female soldiers. They cut off the heads of children and babies. They cut open a pregnant woman’s stomach and took out her fetus. They tied children together and slaughtered them. They murdered entire families, including Holocaust survivors.
Over the years, Hamas has tried to convey that they are freedom fighters whose goal is to collect donations for the residents of Gaza.
This is a dreadful lie. They use the tactics of ISIS. Their goal is the application of Sharia law. Their true face has now been revealed.
And this is not just an attack on Kfar Aza, Nir Oz or Kibbutz Be’eri in Southern Israel. It is not only an attack on Israeli civilians — it is an attack on human civilization. This is an international war where progress and morality are at stake. Hamas is the enemy of progress, of culture, and of morality. This is a war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness. The victory of Israel is a victory for civilization.
Israel is committed to a better world for ourselves and future generations. Hamas, nor anyone else, will not stop us living a good life in the Middle East, in prosperity, with culture and peace, for our own sake and for future generations. What characterizes us first and foremost is our humanity. Victory is peace.
Lali Michaeli is the nonconformist of Israeli poetry, daring to shout what others were ashamed to think, became a symbol of rebellion and anti-establishment. Even now, when she learns foreign languages, is invited to participate in international poetry festivals all over the world and wins international awards, she refuses to screw with the Israeli mainstream. She maintains her status as a solo poet. The Israeli political poems “Mr. Prime Minister” (2009) and “Democracy” (2016) alongside universal poems like “Paint me ablaze” and “Every time we make love” show the layers of her poetry. The intra-poetic, personal, interpersonal and human dialogue is the how and what of her writing. This is an attempt to build bridges in impossible places. “The poetry of Lali Michaeli once again proves that excellent poetry can also be sexy and innovative.” — Dory Manor