'You Are Not Alone' - Israeli Students Send Letters To America

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:12 PM EDT

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - "Don't let the terrorists ruin your lives and hope... Be strong." That is the advice of one Israeli teenager to his American peers.

The letter - one of many written by Israeli high school students in their English classes this week - are intended to encourage President Bush and American teens on the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.

Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat initiated the project, which continues this week at some 1,000 high schools throughout Israel.

In a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, Livnat said that the schoolchildren had organized a letter-writing campaign to the U.S. president "to express their feelings of empathy and support to children of America."

"The September 11 attacks took an unbearable toll in terms of loss of human life," Livnat wrote.

"They were also aimed at destroying those values that the United States holds dear. Israel supports the leadership of the United States in the war against terrorism, and is confident that freedom and democracy will triumph over the forces of evil and destruction," she said.

The students from ninth to eleventh grade expressed both their identification with and sympathies toward Americans as well as encouragement to keep up the fight against terrorism.

Addressing the president as the "leader of the great empire America," one student in Jerusalem expressed shock at seeing the 9/11 attack on television. He wants President Bush to press ahead with the war on terrorism.

"On the moment it happened, I was at home watching TV (scanning the channels) and I saw the tragedy on the news. I was stunned by what happened and I thought that it was a movie or something, but it was real.

"My request for you is eliminate the terror or this earth and fight everyone who wants to harm people of any country (including Arab countries). I wish that you [would] do it soon, before someone else gets hurt."

Another letter, from an "Israeli Friend" said, "I would like you to know that all the children of Israel support you... I am sorry for what happened to you and all citizens of the U.S.

"I, as an Israeli, can relate to what happened. We have bombings here, regularly. But in spite of what's happening to us, we continue with our lives, and so should you. Don't let the terrorists ruin your lives and hope. We will always remember that day. Be strong," the teen wrote.

Sagi Mor, gave similar advice. "I just wanted to tell you all from my personal experience, do not give up!" Sagi wrote.

"Continue living your life, because if you stop living your life, you'll let the terrorist[s] win!! And if they will think that they [have] won this war, they won't stop, and it will be even worse. They'll continue and they'll never ever stop! So by living your life normally you show the terrorist[s] that you won this war!!"

Haim Kallai, said as one who lives in a county "constantly under terror attacks" he can identify with Americans. He said in his letter that he hopes "you can thank God as I can for not being personally hurt, and not knowing anyone personal[ly] that did [get hurt]...

"I would like to hope for the U.S. and Israel alike that such events would never happen again, and that no one would have to experience such terrible loss as both countries have. Despite these horrible events I do hope that you can go on with your life," Haim wrote.

While it is important to be strong, wrote Shira Burg, 16, from Jerusalem, it is also all right to have a good cry.

"Although I don't know you, I can certainly relate to your fears and frustration. I know [what] it's like to wake up one day and walk straight into an unreal movie scene, but I can comfort you by telling you that we're here for you; you are not alone in this world," Shira wrote.

"We, as one can all fight against this evilness. The most important thing first I want to tell is: Don't lose hope, be strong, it's the only thing that will keep you going in this world, and when you feel you just want to scream or burst [into] tears, do it, don't hold it back."

The letters are initially being sent to the White House via email, fax and regular mail, in the hope that they will then be forwarded to schoolchildren across America, Livnat said.