Voices: Our parents were killed in the 7 October attack – but we want Israel to end this war of revenge

Bilha and Yakovi Inon, who were killed in their home in southern Israel on 7 October, during the Hamas invasion (Maoz Inon)
Bilha and Yakovi Inon, who were killed in their home in southern Israel on 7 October, during the Hamas invasion (Maoz Inon)

Six months ago today, on 7 October, our mother and father were both murdered. In an instant, our lives were changed in many ways that we’re still only now starting to realise.

Our parents, Bilha and Yakovi Inon, were loving and supportive of five siblings. They were caring and involved grandparents in the lives of their 11 grandchildren. They were active pillars of their community – the thousand people living just on the north border of the Gaza Strip.

We lost contact with them early on the morning of 7 October. By 7.30am, our family WhatsApp was full of messages from our parents explaining how sirens were going off around them, and that, after hearing gunfire, they were moving into their safe room as a precaution. We never heard from them again.

We only found out later that day what had happened, when we managed to get through to one of their neighbours, who told us their home had been burned to the ground, and their bodies found inside.

Looking back now, the feelings we felt are still hard to describe. We lost our parents, as well as many of our childhood friends. What is clear is that, almost immediately after their deaths, in the middle of this ongoing nightmare, we decided we did not want revenge.

Since 7 October, we as a family have learned some very important lessons. The first surprise was the extraordinary amount of solidarity we have received from Palestinians in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Israel, and across the Arab world, from people who appreciated us for this message and who have stood with us in our hardest time.

We learned quickly that we were not alone – and that, in our message of not taking revenge, we have many partners. Hamze Awawde, a Palestinian peace activist, has taught us that if we want to make a better future, we must forgive the past as well as the present.

However, there is a disaster of historic proportions happening right now – and it needs efforts of historic proportions to work on it.

Israel is trapped in a war of revenge, and we cannot get away from it. We are lacking leadership on both sides to get out of it.

It seems to us that the world has learned nothing since 7 October – absolutely nothing. It is clear that after six months of war, the security and safety of Israel is not getting better. In fact, it is only getting worse. Meanwhile, the lives of more and more innocent people in Gaza are sacrificed.

The war must be stopped, the hostages and the prisoners released. And, crucially, this war must be the last war.

We don’t want to even imagine what will happen if this is allowed to go on for another six months – there has already been an unimaginable toll of casualties. We need to ask ourselves, what should we all be doing now so that we are not ashamed of ourselves in 20 years time?

To help us build a shared future, to get Israelis and Palestinians working together to transform the region that they are fated to share, the world must send us the tools of reconciliation, not of destruction. Global leaders have a good opportunity to do this at the G7 summit in June, where the wealthiest and most powerful democracies can convey their support for such ideals, and to commit to those the ground working to make them a reality.

This will help us build the start of an amazing future, a future where Palestinians and Israelis live with each other in the peace, equality and security that they each deserve.

For now, the most important thing is to create hope – and that hope itself is action. It is for those of us who survived 7 October to now turn it into an opportunity.

Maoz Inon and Magen Inon are Israeli peace activists