Lucy Aharish was just 5 years old when she survived a terrorist attack while shopping with her family in Gaza. She told the Times of Israel:
“It was April 1987, a very hot day, and my dad opened the window,” she recalled. “I remember a traffic jam on the main road and I saw someone approach us with something in his hand. I looked at him and he looked back at me, and I automatically started sliding down on my seat in fear. My mother shouted ‘Lucy, sit up straight,’ and when she finished her sentence we heard a bang in the car.”
Now Aharish is the first Arab prime-time news presenter in Israel. This year she was given the honor of lighting a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl. The theme of this year’s ceremony was “groundbreaking Israelis.” Aharish was recognized as a “trailblazing Muslim journalist, who brings a discourse of tolerance and interdenominational openness to Israel’s public agenda” by the Ministerial Committee for Symbols and Ceremonies, the Times reports.
She spoke of growing up in a secular household, learning both Hewbrew and Arabic, and becoming close to her neighbor, a Holocaust Survivor. But at school, she was bullied, and other students would call her a “dirty Arab.” But her high school principal, she said, never accepted racism or intolerance in his school:
“He would stand in front of the entire grade and say, ‘This will not happen in my school. Racism is something that no decent society, and especially not Jewish society, can tolerate.’ I don’t know if such principals exist in today’s education system.”
On her role as a journalist who sees the many facets of the issues she covers, Aharish says she can offer a new perspective to viewers:
“Bringing a different voice from Israel to the world is the biggest influence I could wish to have,” she told the Times. “I try to explain to our viewers that life in Israel is almost impossible, yet we live it nonetheless.”