My name is Oren Balaban, but the family name I was born with was Yadgarov. My father, Eli
Laila Al-Sayyid - "I Don't Want to Lose My Children"
My father was a soldier in the Jordanian army and was killed in 1967. He was last seen in Jerusalem. I was only four months old when he died.
I didn’t know my father, and have always felt his missing presence. During my childhood, while other girls waited to see their fathers as they came home from work, I saw my eldest brother, to whom I was very connected, compensating for the absence of my father and as a role model.
When I grew older I learned that the occupation is what killed my father. The occupation took my father from me. Following this insight, I let hatred and grudges fester towards that army, and I started joining processions and demonstrations against the occupation.
In 2003, my friend Aisha, who is a PCFF member, invited me to join the Forum and learn about it. My immediate response, of course, was hesitation and utter refusal, but Aisha insisted and invited me to come to the meeting just to get an impression. I was curious enough, so I decided to go to the meeting, which also included Israeli women. During the gathering, I heard my own aggression and hostility expressed in my criticism. Nonetheless, I was also listening very closely to the other side, and slowly, I began to feel that my mindset about the uprising and the struggle against the occupation was changing.
When I became a mother, I developed a sense of responsibility for my children, and I understood that I didn’t want to lose them as I had lost my father. Even though my eldest son was injured in his legs about a year ago by the soldiers of the occupation, I joined the Forum and I believe in its humanitarian and political message, working to end the occupation and stop the bloodshed on both sides. Despite his injury, my son also joined the Forum, where both sides fight together to attain a just peace.
Married, mother of four. Beit Iba – Nablus District