Liraz Madmony, 23 of Sderot, grew up under Palestinian rocket fire for eight years of her life. Although a rocket has never directly hit her home, Liraz has experienced the terror of rocket explosions countless times. “We don’t have a bomb shelter in our house,” she recently told SMC. “Every time, the Tzeva Adom is set off, our family races to the shower, the only room that is most ‘secure’ from a rocket attack.”
*Liraz Madmony with Israeli representative to the UN.
Liraz, a law student in a Ramat Gan college in central Israel, is heavily involved with student organizations such as WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students). “Many times I’ve missed my law classes and student activities because of the rocket attacks. It’s almost impossible to lead a normal life when you are forced to live under with warning alerts and raining rockets.”
While Liraz admits that balancing life as a college student and a resident in a war-zone can at times be very difficult, she recently found the time to share her story with the world community.
Thanks to a trip coordinated by UN Watch two weeks ago, Liraz Madmony addressed the UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Gaza in Geneva, on behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) on January 12, 2009.
“It was a very moving moment for me,” says Liraz. “Here I was standing in front of all these people–in Geneva, Switzerland–representing the people of Sderot and testifying on our years of suffering and terror.”
“As a law student and a Sderot resident, it has been very disturbing for me to see how the UN consistently ignores the suffering of Israelis living in Sderot and the western Negev. This was my chance to ask the UN directly why they don’t address our situation,” Liraz told SMC.
Indeed, Liraz pointedly asked at the session “Why is the United Nations ignoring my suffering? When the terrorists committed these 10,000 violations of international human rights and humanitarian law [by firing 10, 000 rockets], why was the UN silent”?
Liraz says that the response to her visit in the UN was generally positive, especially from the Jewish community in Geneva which she also addressed. “On Shabbat, I visited two synagogues in Geneva. People came up to thank me for coming and for sharing Israel’s story with them. Someone even told me that the coverage of Israel during the war was slightly less negative,” she added. “With Gaza closed off during the operation, the foreign press had to devote some coverage to the war’s impact on southern Israelis.”
*Map of Israel set up by pro-Palestinian supporters outside the UN in Geneva.
Although the UN Human Rights Council’s 47 members voted 33 in favor and 1 against the resolution, which condemned Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and resolved to send a fact finding mission to investigate alleged Israeli abuses, Liraz says she did not expect the results to be any different. Canada was the only country to vote against the resolution, while Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Bosnia-Herzgovina, South Korea, Ukraine, Slovakia, Slovenia, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the Netherlands all abstained from the vote.
The United States and Israel are not members of the council and therefore cannot vote.
“The Canadian representative was very warm to me,” says Liraz. “And the German ambassador came up to me after the vote and thanked me for speaking.”
In the meantime, Liraz hopes to continue advocating for Sderot and Israel. “I recieved so much postive feedback from people all over the world, on Facebook, via e-mail, and of course from my family and friends.”
“I still remember Sderot before the rocket fire began. People were happy. Kids played outside on the streets. I hope that Sderot will someday return to the city that I once knew as a child,” says Liraz.
I admire the courage of this brave 18 yr old girl from Sderot.
She is one of many who suffer under the constant fire of
rockets from Gaza, and has the courageto speak out.
I applaud her sincerity and determination to help change come
to her village. The UN would do well to pay attention to her.
Sincerely, Caroline Saale USA