"They just want to hurt us"

Gilad Bonis-Mahluf

Location: Mitzvah Kadesh Street, Herzliya

Residence: Herzliya

Age: 17½

The encounter: Gilad lives in my neighborhood in Herzliya. It’s a very diverse neighborhood: a mix of villas, slums, and everything in between. I met Gilad when I went out for walk on a late Saturday afternoon. He lives in the last house at the edge of the city, bordering a parcel of no-man’s land – used as an illegal dump – between the city and the neighboring kibbutz. Gilad offered to show me some goats and chickens that his family keeps in a shed on the field. Two curious men, probably Gilad’s uncles, shouted across the field to ask who I was.“It’s just some woman interviewing me!” Gilad shouted back.

What are you doing here right now?
Nothing. I just ate. I went outside for a little bit.

What is your occupation?
I’m finishing high school. In July, I start my army duty. I’ll be a combat soldier.

How do you describe your religious or national identity?
I’m traditional. I used to be religious. First I was in a religious school, but then my mom put me in a secular school because she thought I’d learn more there. In the religious school I only learned Torah [Bible].

Can you tell me a bit about your family? 
My father isn’t around. He lives somewhere in Tel Aviv. I don’t know where. He just got my mom into debt and ran off when I was little. My mom works as a bus driver. I have an older sister. She’ll be twenty in January. She’s in the army now. She deals with arrests and stuff like that in the territories. My brother is a year older than me. But he had to repeat first grade, so he’s still in high school. He’ll be in the army too this year. We live here with my grandparents and uncles. It’s my grandfather’s house. My mom was born here. We’ll move out soon. It’s difficult living together with so many people.

Where is your family from?
My grandparents came from Libya. My grandfather was born in Tripoli, but I don’t know when he came here.

What are your hopes and expectations for the future of this land?
I very much would like... – I don’t want to say erase Gaza, because not everyone there is guilty – but there are many people there who only want to hurt us. I’m not in favor of co-existence. But if we have to live with them [Palestinians], we can’t have them blowing up busses or killing Jewish families. I’m in favor of killing every terrorist. If it was up to me, I’d put them all to death. They just want to hurt us. We shouldn’t release terrorists. And if we put them in prison, we shouldn’t give them such comfortable conditions. It’s not fair. If I want to study, I have to pay thousands of shekels, but the terrorists in prison get a free education. Some Arabs go to prison on purpose, just to get a free education and money. When I say coexistence, I mean that they can live here with us. I don’t want to give them territories. If they get territories anyway, they’ll just have more places from which they can attack us, like they’re doing from Gaza. Then, we’ll be surrounded by enemies. I hope it doesn’t get to that.