(There was some violence along the Syrian-Israeli border recently. A teenaged boy in Israel was killed, and some targets in Syria have been hit. I was in the Golan Heights on my last trip to Israel. Below is an interview I did with a 9 year old girl. She is part of the Druze people. The Druze are an off-shoot of Islam, separating from mainstream Islam around 1000 years ago in response to what they saw as corruption in the Islamic leadership at the time. They share some beliefs. Other beliefs are very different. There are roughly 700,000 Druze around the world. 600,000 of the are in the Middle East. Many live in the mountains of Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan. They believe in reincarnation, that good people are reborn into good situations and those who are not good are reborn into something more difficult.)
Y. aged 9
I live with my mother, father and brother. My father is a doctor and runs a clinic. My mother is a nurse. We are Druze. We believe that after our body dies, our soul keeps living in a new body. So we call each other brother and sister because in a former life, we may have been brothers or sisters. We're not supposed to be afraid of dying, so I guess if I'm afraid of anything it's bad dreams.
One of the things I like best to do is walk around outside, looking at rocks and collecting the most interesting ones. When you look at rocks you often find animals, too, like lizards.
My mother likes animals, too. There are so many stray dogs and cats here who need a home. She takes some in and feeds others who are too stray to live in house. One of her dogs was bitten by a poisonous snake and died.
We live in a house that is right beside the Syrian border. We can see the fence from our windows. The Israeli patrols go back and forth along the fence, all day long. When my father was a boy, he would go to Syria to sell apples, and many of his customers were Jews who lived in Syria.
Usually it is quiet, but sometimes there are bad things that happen.
There are a lot of Palestinians in Syria. My father says they live in refugee camps and are not happy. They want to come here. One day hundreds and hundreds of Palestinians came running down the hill, running from Syria to the fence. They started to cut through the fence. The Israelis came to stop them, but a lot of them broke through and ran in the village.
It was very bad. I heard screaming and shouting and shooting. Mom told us to stay in the house and she went outside to see if she could help anyone. Many people got hurt, some even got killed. She was afraid she would be arrested just for being there.
It went on for a long time. It ended when people from the village stood in two long lines and protected the Palestinians as the Palestinians walked back through the fence and back to their refugee camp in Syria.
The fence is bigger now. And I think it has electricity in it, although I'm not going to touch it to find out!
I want to be a teacher and a businesswoman when I grow up. I would like to have my own toy store.
I see Israelis in town. They are friendly to me. Settlers come here, too, and I see them. They seem nice. They act like us, just normal. But I am busy and they are busy, so we don't talk.