We speak with Israeli peace activist Maoz Inon, whose parents Bilha and Yakovi Inon were killed in the surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7 that killed over 1,300 people in Israel. He wants the war to end. “Let’s call for peace. Let’s call for hope. Let’s call for a complete ceasefire. Let’s call for building bridges,” says Inon. “We must build the future, and this future must be based on equality, on partnership, on peace.”
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org.
We end today’s show in Israel, where we’re joined by Maoz Inon, who lost both his parents, Bilha and Yakovi Inon, in the surprise attack by Hamas October 7th that killed over 1,300 people in Israel. Maoz is an Israeli peace activist with the movement Standing Together who’s calling for the war to end. His parents lived on a kibbutz, a farming collective, just north of the Gaza border. They were 78 and 76 years old.
Maoz, our deepest condolences on the loss of your parents.
MAOZ INON: Thank you, Amy. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about your parents and what you are calling for now? Because so often we’re hearing the Israeli government use the killing, this mass killing of Israelis, over 1,300 killed — and it’s not clear, but between 200 and 250 now held hostage in Gaza — as the rationale for a ground invasion and the bombing now of Gaza.
MAOZ INON: Amy, I’m overwhelmed with what happened to me and to my family and to my community and classmates, friends in our community, Israeli communities around Gaza. Nothing prepared me for this moment that I would be here speaking with you about my tragedy. I wished I was speaking with you about the initiatives, the peace and shared society initiatives I’ve been taking part in in the last 20 years. And honestly, I’m overwhelmed with everything that’s going on.
My parents were loving people and an amazing couple, really adored and admired by their colleagues, their friends, their community, and of course by us, my five brothers and sisters and the 11 grandchildren. They didn’t want to harm anyone. They didn’t want to fight with anyone. We have close and very tight relationship — we call it even a family relationship — with the Bedouin in the Negev. I have many friends, colleagues, partners in Palestine, in Jordan, in Egypt. And what’s happening now is just devastating. It’s just devastating.
And listening to you and your guests, I was crying again. I was crying again because of the term everyone are using is “the other side team.” It’s kind of a blame game — who started it, who shoot the missile, how many victims there is from each side. And it’s just — it’s shocking. And we keep using the — everyone, including you and your guests, the same terms we are using for the last century, the century of this cycle of blood between Israelis and Palestinians. And my cry, my cry is to stop this cycle, to stop this cycle of blood, to stop this cycle of war. And I’m crying. I was interviewed the other — a few days ago with the BBC, and I said there that I’m crying not for my parents, I’m crying for those who are going to lose their life in this war. And then my cries didn’t help for too many people, hundreds of people.
And I’m crying now again with you. And I’m crying to everyone that’s watching and listening. We need you to cry with us. Don’t blame anyone. Me and my family, we seek no revenge. And we seek no revenge. We just seek peace. We seek for hope. We must change the terminology we are using to positive terminology, for reconciliation, for recognition, for partnership and for peace. I’m crying, and I’m begging you. Just will their wellness, not to blame anyone, just to stop the war and to build a different future, to break the cycle of blood, to break this game of blood and to build a new future with hope.
And hope — I’m not a scholar. I’m not a spokesman. I’m not a politician. I’m a normal people. I’m working very hard for my living. I’m raising my three beautiful children. I’m married to a beautiful, beautiful and amazing woman. And I never thought something like this might happen to someone like me. You hear it maybe in Ukraine. You hear it in Africa. You hear it in like faraway places. And this catastrophe reached me.
AMY GOODMAN: Maoz —
MAOZ INON: And it’s just — yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: There is a mass —
MAOZ INON: Sorry, I am very, very emotional, very much. Sorry.
AMY GOODMAN: And again, my condolences to you, to your family. Today there’s a mass protest planned for Washington, D.C., led by groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. Two dozen rabbis will be part of a civil disobedience, apparently. They’re calling for an end to the occupation. Do you feel the same way?
MAOZ INON: I think occupation — of course, but we are in such a risk. And I think now calling for to do these things or the other, we are going back to the terminology — we are using the same terminology that brought us to this situation. Let’s call for peace. Let’s call for hope. Let’s call for a complete ceasefire. Let’s call for building bridges. Of course I’m against the occupation. But it’s irrelevant at the moment. There might — or, I’m afraid there will be many, many more victims. And what we all should be focusing now is to stop the war. Very simple message. And we must cry it. We must cry our message to everyone that has a heart and that can listen.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Maoz, there are people, Israeli families, in front of the Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv, whose families have been taken hostage, either mother, father, daughter, son. And they are there saying the same thing. We often see them in the media describing the horror of what happened to their loved ones, but then the media doesn’t go on to say what they’re calling for. What do you demand right now of Prime Minister Netanyahu, when you talk about ending the war?
MAOZ INON: Again, I am calling and I’m crying, not to Benjamin Netanyahu, not to the leader of the Hamas, not to President Biden. I’m crying for humanity, for the entire humanity, for the entire mankind. I’m crying to stop the war. I’m crying for immediate ceasefire. And I’m crying for hope, hope that will take us from this cycle of blood to a new and bright future. We must build hope. We must build a future. And this future must be based on equality, on partnership, on peace. And this is what I am crying for. And it’s not to blame this or the other, this person or the other. They’re irrelevant anymore. We must build a new system. And it might —
AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you, Maoz, so much, as the show ends. And our condolences again, Israeli peace activist, speaking to us from Binyamina, Israel. I’m Amy Goodman. Thank you for joining us.