"This is my home. I don’t have any other place."
Location: First Train Station, Jerusalem
The encounter: Since public transport was not operating because of the Jerusalem Marathon, I walked from the city center to visit a friend in the German Colony neighborhood. As I took a detour through the old train station, which has been converted into a mall, I met Nitsa and her family at the children’s play corner.
What are you doing here right now?
Our daughters’ daycare is closed because of the Jerusalem Marathon, so we took them on a little outing.
What is your occupation?
My husband and I both work with computers. He works for Intel, and I work for the Ministry of Health, in the pharmaceutical department. My department is in charge of approving new medications.
How do you describe your religious or national identity?
I’m what they call “Religious Lite.” We go to synagogue, but I don’t cover my hair and I don’t wear long skirts.
Can you tell me a bit about your family?
My husband and I have known each other since childhood. But we’ve been married for only six years. We knew each other as children, but then my family moved away, to Efrat, in Gush Etzion, and we met again later in life. We have three-year-old twins.
Where is your family from?
On my mom’s side I’m the first generation born in Israel. She immigrated from Hungary to Israel as a child. My mom’s parents married before the war but were separated. My grandmother survived Auschwitz. My grandfather was a Romanian soldier and became a prisoner of war. After the war, neither of them knewthe other had survived. They both returned to their hometown and found each other there by chance.
On my father’s side I’m an eight-generation Jerusalemite. My father’s family was originally from Galicia, which is now part of Poland. Sometime early in the 19th century, they settled in the Holy Land as religious pilgrims. They lived in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City and later moved to Meah Shearim [an ultra-orthodox neighborhood]. I still have family in Meah Shearim, but I don’t really know them because they are ultra orthodox and they won’t associate with us because we’re Religious Zionists.
What are your hopes and expectations for the future of this land?
I hope the cost of living will go down. Right now, it’s catastrophic! My husband and I both work, but with two children it’s very difficult to make it through the month. I want to be able to live here. This is my home. I don’t have any other place. But it’s really difficult.
I don’t know what I’ll vote. The whole issue of the cost of living is so troubling. I really want to see someone in power who will resolve this. But I no longer believe anyone. They all make promises, and after the elections they forget them.
I don’t know what to say about the peace process. It hurts. I have a house in Efrat. It’s a wonderful house, in a beautiful place! There’s an Arab village right next to us. We have a good relationship with them. They even come shopping in Efrat. Why can’t we continue living like that? We don’t hurt them! If we could solve the problem by giving them land, I’d be in favor. But I don’t think that’s a solution because the Palestinians just don’t want us here at all. They want to throw us in the sea! That’s what they really want!