My name is Aiden Katri. I am a 19 year old trans woman, originally from the city of Holon. I come from a conservative home and my education was a right wing one. So, I grew up on the ethos of “the chosen people”. As the years went by, I realized that we, the Jews, took ownership of the state out of a perception that we deserve it due to our separatism. I am no longer part of this brain washing. Today I believe people are equal regardless of religion, race, sex and gender.
The problem is that in Israel people see the military as the only moral solution to our problems. I spend a lot of time in South Tel Aviv, and when I see soldiers in the central bus station, I notice the atmosphere of fear around us. The presence of armed people among us makes us scared. The government that creates that fear is interested in silencing us, bullying us, terrorizing us. If this is the reality inside Israel, it is even worse in the occupied territories that are under direct military rule.
The military is a patriarchal body that perpetuates for the youth the a-symmetry between men and women. We can see this through gendered roles in the military - gendered roles for women such as a secretary, and those for men such as combatants. Serving in the military perpetuates the masculine oppression of young men and women in Israel, as well as the hierarchy within the country's leadership, as military leaders become political leaders as well. I refuse to take part in an organization that makes “masculine” behaviors, such as aggression and violence, an entry ticket to the social elite.
As someone who believes in gender equality, I cannot ignore inequality on other issues. Arabs and Jews live in this country as two different classes; Israelis and Palestinians live under two different legal systems; It would be absurd to strive for justice in the context of injustice. I struggle against my oppression – my gender oppression as a trans women and my ethnic oppression as a Mizrahi Jew. And if I turn a blind eye to an oppression of another people, this would be hypocrisy.
In the past, in my youth movement that taught me social responsibility and equality, I did educational work. As part of my involvement in the youth movement I met some of the Arab groups in the movement, and my solidarity with them grew. They two, Israeli citizens who were raised here as I was, grew up here as occupied citizens, hated and discriminated against, and even more so the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Out of solidarity with them I resist the occupation.
I went to the Friday protests in the Palestinian village of Bili’in to protest the theft of the village lands for the growth of the neighboring settlement, and I saw the violent suffocating space the children grow up in. When the military does not allow the residents to protest legally, as it shoots tear gas canisters at elders, children, men and women that are trying to protest, I can’t but feel shame. For the soldiers, it would seem almost like a computer game they are playing, but in real life there are real victims.
For these victims I stand and say no! It is time for an alliance of the victims of oppression: chauvinism, ethnic oppression, racism, nationalism. We all suffer from the racism and violence around us, let us stand together and refuse to take part in it.