"I trust the Israeli army and I trust our Prime Minister!"

Mati Shaul

Location: HaPaamonim Restaurant , Sokolov Street, Ramat HaSharon

Residence: Ramat HaSharon

Age: 71

The encounter: I met Mati at a falafel restaurant where I was getting a bite for dinner. Mati was waiting for a take-out order.

What are you doing here right now?
I don’t feel like cooking today, so I came to get falafel. I’ll serve falafel, humus, tehina, and salad for dinner.

What is your occupation?
I’m a homemaker now, but I used to have a hair salon. I still do my own hair.

How do you describe your religious or national identity?
I'm a secular Israeli Jew.

Can you tell me a bit about your family?
My husband and I have five children. The two younger boys live at home, but my three girls others are married. I have eight grandchildren.

Where is your family from?
I’m from Bulgaria. I was born at the end of the war, in 1944. My mom was alone because my father had been taken away to a forced-labor camp. We moved to Israel right after the war. I grew up in Jaffa, where all the Bulgarian Jews lived. There used to be 30,000 of us. But we’ve all gotten intermarried, so now the community is gone. It’s a pity, I used to speak Bulgarian, but I don’t use it much anymore. I don’t have anyone to speak to now that my parents are gone.

What are your hopes and expectations for the future of this land?
I think we’ll constantly be in the same situation. There’s nobody to make peace with.  Believe me: All Israelis want peace, but there’s nothing we can do about it. They want to kill us, while we are looking for peace. What can we do?
They ask for things we can’t give. They want land that’s right at our border here. And we’ve already seen what they do when we give them land! And then they want to bring in all their refugees! How can we welcome seven million of them here? They’ll eat us alive!
They want things that are just.... Impossible! Impossible! It just can’t be. Everything we give them... it’s never enough.
It would be good if we can live with them in peace. The people are all right, but the problem is that their leaders are messing up everything. They keep making war. You know what: they enlist twelve-year-old kids to become terrorists! I saw it on TV! They dress them up in uniforms and give them guns. It’s a pity of those kids: They send them to fight and die. And afterwards they cry when those kids are killed. Now, really!
At first, I thought maybe it could work... Maybe we could give a little and they could give a little. But they won’t compromise on anything! Nothing! The world has to understand that they just don’t want peace. There’s nothing we can do about it.
But I’m not afraid. I trust the Israeli army and I trust our Prime Minister!