tal-bio[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y name is Tal. I am 20 years old. I was born and live in Herzliya, Israel, with my family: two parents, two older brothers, and my dog.

Growing up, I always participated in at least one extracurricular activity – capoeira, handball and bass guitar. Music is an important part of my life.  After I graduated from high school, I spent a gap year in Nahariya as part of a youth movement. Last year, I was drafted to the IDF for my mandatory 3 year service.

Ibrahim and Tal Oren in Japen, Parents Circle Youth Peace Delegation
Tal and Ibrahim Shatat in Japan, Parents Circle Youth Peace Delegation

On July 24, 1995, my grandmother, Zehava, was killed by a suicide bomber while riding the bus to Tel Aviv. I joined the Parents Circle following the footsteps of my family. I participated in many of the youth activities. I met and talked with Palestinian kids at the age of 8. After my first summer camp, I understood that they are not different from us and we are the same except language and religion. When I got older, we started to share our personal stories and speak about and have our feelings heard about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time I felt hope. I felt that we have to talk and find awareness to make peace in our country. As a bereaved grandson, I know today that neither revenge nor violence will bring back my grandmother. As a human, I know the only way to end our conflict is the way of peace, reconciliation and dialogue. I ask you not to be pro-Israel nor pro-Palestinian, but pro-peace.