"We destroyed half of Gaza and they're still willing to continue fighting! When will it ever end?"

Simon Salem

Location: Sokolov Street, Herzliya

Residence: Natanya


The encounter: Simon’s cobbler shop is close to my parent-in-law’s house. Whenever I visit Israel, I bring along my damaged shoes for Simon to fix because Vermont cobblers are prohibitively expensive. Many of the shoes I own have at one point or another been repaired by Simon.

What is your occupation?
I am a cobbler. I have had this shop for more than thirty years. I can fix anything people give me! I specialize in leatherwork: shoes, belts, bags... Not many people know my craft as well as I do!

How do you describe your religious or national identity?
I am an observant Jew.

Can you tell me a bit about your family?
I have four kids: one boy and three girls. We all keep the traditions. I have ten grandchildren.

Where is your family from?
My parents came from Algeria. My father, who died three years ago – may his memory be blessed – arrived in Israel in 1956. We keep following in his way. I have eleven siblings, some of them where born in Algeria, but I was born in here.

What are your hopes and expectations for the future of this land?
First of all, I hope there will be peace. That’s what we all ask for. There is a war about the existence of the Jewish people. The nations around us hate us. They are willing to kill themselves just to hurt us. There's nobody to talk to. These new extremists, ISIS, they are scary! They just take someone and just cut off his head! It’s terrible!
I don't really believe peace is possible. We, the Jews, are more or less sane. But I don’t understand the other side. I just don't understand them! We destroyed half of Gaza and they're still willing to continue fighting! When will it ever end?