Kids’ perspectives on the war
"Mommy, you said that they are human too, that their kids go to school like we do."
Yarden (10 years old)
"I don't understand ... how much do they want to kill us?"
Emanuel (5 years old)
Reacting to a picture of a man and a baby who were among the people abducted to Gaza:
"They took the man, right?
Nobody kidnaps babies ..."
Alon (8 years old)
"When will my daddy come back from being dead?"
Tene (3 years old)
"I'm only sleeping with teddies, because their eyes are always open.
They never fall asleep, so they can watch me."
Alma (6 years old)
"Mom, are all countries under attack now?"
Shai (5 years old)
"How is there room in heaven for so many people?"
Orian (5.5 years old)
"Mommy, will you also disappear one night?"
Ari (4 years old)
Naor (9 years old)
"How many people live in Israel?"
"About 9 million"
"And how much is that minus 1400?"
"Daddy, you take care of yourself; I'll take care of Mommy and me."
Noam (4 years old)
"Mommy, you are tall, but Dad is much taller than you, cause he's in heaven"
Netzer (4 years old)
About this project
The project began as an exercise at the Holon Institute for Technology in 2008. I created a series of five toy soldiers inspired by the Israeli reality as depicted on the front page of the newspaper. The images in the news reflecting events in Israel, seamlessly aligned with the soldiers' game. Thus, the entire series became an Israeli edition of the well-known game.
Since then, whenever I encountered a shocking image in the newspaper, I kept it and created a soldier figure inspired by it. In hindsight, this entire project became a documentation of this strange reality. Considering our country's situation, it evolved into an ongoing, evolving project.
Due to the simplification and focus on familiar war icons, the figures remain anonymous, not representing any specific person, yet... anyone can identify with each one and feel a certain connection.
Today, as a father of three daughters, I find myself in situations where I need to convey reality to them in a way they can understand and absorb. Their questions sometimes confront me with realities that can't truly be softened without creating worlds of trauma and fears.
The Facebook page "Children are the best scriptwriters in the world" offers innocent quotes filled with children's humor and sensitivity. After October 7th, the page provided a platform for quotes and thoughts of children who experienced these events firsthand - it's a blow beneath the belt for any parent. One might call it the loss of innocence, but it's much more than that. In these sentences, we witness the initial moments when a child begins to realize the reality in which they live and attempts to differentiate between game and reality.
This soldier series represents Israel, a reminder everyone should hold onto, yet something everyone wishes to forget.
Creator: Shahar Kagan
Special credit: Sagi Moran, Aviram Eitiel, Naama Steinbock