My family is still dreaming for peace in Israel more than 50 years on

The 24-year-old Londoner cradled her growing baby bump as she and her dumbstruck in-laws watched the horrifying news from the Munich Olympics.

Eleven Israeli athletes were brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists who had infiltrated the Olympic village.

The shock was unbearable, not just in that small apartment but throughout Israel and around the world.

Yet amid the devastation, came a glimmer of hope as the woman and her in-laws focussed on her bump, hoping, praying and believing that this baby-to-be would grow up to see peace in its lifetime.

That bump was me and the story was relayed to me last Saturday when, just weeks before my 51st birthday hundreds of terrorists broke across the border from Gaza into Israel in order to savagely murder more than 1,300 Jewish people and violenly sieze more than 120 more as hostages.

Virtually every conversation I’ve had over the last week has struck a raw nerve, but this image of my young parents holding on to me in utero and dreaming of peace has been one of the most heartbreaking.

READ MORE: Despairing mother begs for her daughter’s release by Hamas

In an interview I did for another publication this week, an Israeli man awaiting news of six friends missing from the Supernova music festival told me that the generation born after the Yom Kippur war (which I only just miss) had been the one that dared to dream.

The 30-year-old, who was en route back to Israel from Britain to join up as a reservist and attend multiple funerals, said he would definitely have been at the festival if he’d have been in Israel, having long been part of a tight-knit community who travel the world, from party to party.

“The people that go to these festivals participate as citizens of the world who essentially just want to celebrate life,” he told me.

He shared memories of previous festivals, including a photograph showing him and a group of music lovers standing shoulder to shoulder as they waved both Israeli and Palestinian flags.

“The naivety I had then is no longer with me and will not exist for my children or grandchildren,” he told me.

The man spoke to me in Hebrew from the back of a taxi to the airport.

“You never know where the driver is from,” he said nervously.

Sadly, I understood exactly what he meant.

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On Friday several Jewish schools in Britain closed their doors due to fears of reprisals here in the UK. Earlier in the week, many urged pupils to remove outward symbols of their identity, not just skullcaps and stars of david, but any uniform specific to them.

It has been anything but business as usual this week for the Jewish community, as members – ordinary British citizens, among them your friends, neighbours, colleagues – have avoided regular haunts and cancelled plans for fear of putting themselves and their loved ones at risk.

Hundreds of people have flocked to vigils and memorials for the victims and the hostages but many thousands more have stayed away. We are not just hurting, we are scared and we are broken.

Not only have we seen bands of terrorists slaughtering our people, but we have seen that the warnings of the past from our grandparents and great-grandparents were ones that we should have heeded.

I have spent my whole adult life railing against these cries, holding on to my dual identity but truly and passionately believing that there must be another way and that talk of omnipresent antisemitism and history repeating itself were the words of a paranoid and insular community, collectively traumatised and too scared to move on.

I have sent my children out into the world as proud and confident British Jews with strong friendships and connections to people from every walk of life.

I have refused to let the ‘everbody hates us’ narrative be a part of their upbringing and, together with my husband, have always encouraged to approach life with open hearts and minds.

So how on earth do I now explain, not just to myself but to them, the celebrations and the glorification this weekend on the streets of Britain and around the world of the brutal murder of hundreds of Jewish people, not to mention the unbridled hate raging on social media?

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