Gilad Sade
"The Kach people believe that the Palestinians are half human and the Jews supreme man, I was half."
  • Gilad Sade (1986) was born and raised in one of the hottest areas of the world map: He was born in Israel in Haifa and grew up in Hebron and Jerusalem. In other words, geopolitical conflict has crossed its life from the very beginning. Son of a single mother, Kach of Israel was educated in a community close to the ultra-right terrorist group, and his leaders and his environment led him to believe that his father was a Palestinian and that Kach rescued his mother and both from that abusive relationship. Sade, who became a prestigious name within the organization, was a member of Israel’s current Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir. After sewing his criminal history of years, he left the organization and made public that children were being used for criminal acts. He is now a journalist in various international conflicts, but not in his country of origin, he is threatened and cannot return to Israel. Berlin answers ARGIA questions.
Maria Ortega Zubiate @ortegazubiate 2023ko maiatzaren 02a
Gilad Sade (eskuinetik lehena) bere aitaordearen eta Baruj Goldstein mediku juduaren erretratuaren artean dago. Mediku horrek 29 palestinar hil zituen. Argazkia: Ilan Mizrahi.

Firstly, what is your situation at the moment? Can you return to Israel or are you threatened?
I left the organization in 2009 and then started making expeditions with the visitor groups: I was doing them in Israel and in neighbouring countries. I needed years to remake my life and recover my reputation, because I didn't have formal education, and I spent my adolescence with the police. I had to do a great job of fulfilling my dream and becoming an expedition chief and a journalist. It wasn't making all the gains from journalism, because it's not a very good way to make money; people do journalism because they believe in it. But now I can't arrange these kinds of excursions, because I don't say where I am at all times. Because I know the extreme right people want to catch an expedition and "fix" the problem they have with me.

As the extreme right has threatened me, I don't say where I am, I don't have a fixed residence, to believe that there are reasons why I try to come and search for myself. They've campaigned against me to end my reputation and to make far-right activists understand what they have to do if they see me. Itamar Ben Gvir himself has launched a series of campaigns against me, using government immunity, and he said that I am an activist paid by anti-Semitic groups and that I earn millions of euros, and that I also pay my news sources to tell fake stories. I am your most perverse dream, because I keep bringing your actions to light, and you are trying to destroy me.

Gilad Sade. Photo: Carlos Zurutuza

How did he integrate into such an organization?The avatars of
my life led me to grow up in one of the most extreme communities on the far right of Israel, closely linked to the terrorist organization Kach. As a curiosity: EE.UU. designated the same day this terrorist group and ETA in 1997.

Unlike many others, I did not agree to that decision, I was indoctrinated and manipulated from a very young age, because in my situation it was easy. My grandmother, who was a refugee, was not happy that I was the son of a single mother and asked her mother to talk to Rabbi Kahane. However, that rabbi was one of the leaders of the Kach movement, and along with other leaders saw a unique opportunity. They manipulated my mother, they asked her to hand me over for adoption because they thought I didn't get educated in religion. So we ended up in that community, because my mother didn't leave me.

You received him from home, but they don't treat you like one of them, right?
No. They believed they could do what they wanted with me as the son of a single mother. They didn't treat me as human beings, for them it was a tool. I remember that Ben Givr wanted an action against the international community and brought me into a UN base. He didn't care if he lost his life in that action. At that time, I thought I was half Palestinian, and I was told that without them I could not have a convincing life. That's why it was easy for them to do things like that; they believe that the Palestinians are not human, they are half human, and I was that. But also the Jew, who was the supreme man. So, I thought it was half.

It was very hard to live. When there were incidents with the police I was the first, when actions had to be taken (painting or breaking Palestinian cars) I was always there, I wanted to show them that they were the same, I didn't care about the risk. The orders Ben Givr gave us, he never did anything, sent us. When I was 14 years old, my best friends died in a bomb attack in Jerusalem.

How did you decide to leave the organization?
After growing up hating me, I would be about 20 years old when I left the organization and I joined forces to get away from them. It's hard to believe that you're a supreme human medium and a submarine environment, I felt that conflict inside. After I left the organization, I realized that I was manipulated, that I'm not a Palestinian half, that people invented that story to make an organizational campaign to get money. So I understood that they used their power to silence my mother and not bring this story to light.

But in the end I found another way. My life has changed a lot, I've traveled a lot, but they're also still against me. What can I do? I cannot return to my people and I really want it.

How was the process of abandoning the organization?
The goal of the first attacks was to dehumanize me, sometimes even attempts at physical aggression, told me it was worthless and they spread lies about me. I was told I had no chance of a normal life. And I think they had reasons for that. First of all, many of them saw in me the future leader of the movement. I'm not proudly saying that, and I regret everything I did, but I liked a lot of people. For example, when I was in jail, I was making protests abroad to cheer me up.

So, they spent a lot of time making me believe that it was worthless outside the organization. And I also had to face that: I didn't have official education, by the time I turned 13, I was in jail, with a long history of racist and criminal, fighting in the calle.Ademas, society outside the organization didn't accept me for my past. It wasn't easy to walk outside of them. And it wasn't easy for them to go out there either, because I knew I had a lot of information about them and I could give it to them.

I also became a refuge for people who wanted to leave the organization. I would spend people talking bad about me with their friends, but then I would call at night and tell me that they wanted to leave that life and they didn't know how. They told me they didn't want to become me.

Gilad Sade (blank) with Ben Gvir on your right. Photo: Ilan Mizrahi

When did you take the leap to make your story public?
I left the organization, and after a while I wrote the documentary Ilan Mizrahir asking him for help in remaking my life. We became friends and I proposed to him to create a film about my process. My intention was to make visible the hard road that young people who leave the organization must walk. To do so, Mizrahi went to an extreme right-wing event where a video of my childhood was projected. That video that they recorded around 1990, to get money, I was three years old and I was in the arms of the rabbi who ran the organization. He said they rescued me from a Palestinian people. From there I started researching the details of this video and Mizrahi ended up with a movie called Best Unkept Secret. When the film was premiered, a campaign was launched against me and I had to leave Israel, because I didn't feel safe. They feared more people would speak up and confronted former peers so they wouldn't speak out.

Not being anyone's has focused your life. You come from a family of Jewish Kurds and you were educated in an Israeli family on the far right.
The mother's family came from Kurdistan from Iraq. My Kurdistan family had to leave the country, members of the Iraqi Government came home and told them they had to leave, that or they would kill him. They toured the Israeli refugee camps until their settlement. As a result of the manipulations of the tip of the right, I was afraid to ask my mother about my father, but when I assumed that being half Palestinian is not bad, I asked my mother and she told me that it is not Palestinian, that is, they were lies I had said for many years, and I also believed them. I met my father in 2019 and we're still in touch.

When she left the organization, she started telling stories, preparing journalism and expeditions. Why? The
reason for the expeditions was that I could tell a story, and that's what I want to do, and that's been my dream since I was a little kid. Now I'm a photographer, but I'm also a radio announcer; media journalist in general. I want to tell complex stories that haven't been told. In Israeli journals, for example, the only information available about Euskal Herria is about eating or ETA. They don't talk about culture or the complexity of the country, and that's because they don't know the scope. The media is looking for it, they don't want to tell what actually happens. I work as a journalist to write stories beyond what we know. I say this on my website. “Here I am to collect stories of unknown and forgotten destinations, adventures and many people.”

You are in Europe, what does the situation in Israel look like?
I believe that in Europe there is a double perspective when we talk about global conflicts, and around the conflict in Israel and Palestine there is a very wrong picture, and it is normal, there are many new faces in this respect. Hammas or Kach do not represent the majority of society, they are extremists and terrorists, who hide their plans in the elections. In Kach, for example, many do not believe in Israel, believe in Judea, in the kingdom, but they do not say it públicamente.Se talks about conflict with generalities, and that has also happened in Euskal Herria: it is widespread that Basque citizens are terrorists, but most are against the violencia.Lo easier is to mark people like this. But no, most Israelis and Palestinians are not fundamentalists.

Moreover, they often say that Israel is an occupied territory and that it has no right to exist, but whoever says it knows nothing about history. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders have much to do in order to distribute justice to the two peoples. The situation in Gaza is not good and needs to be resolved, but it is not right to blame Israel alone. As in many other countries, there are things to change in Israel and we need a solution to the conflict, because, whether we want or not, we all live here. When we accept reality we will be closer to the solution. This question of states based on religion is very old.

He has said many times that Israel is a trap, not only for the Palestinians, but for anyone who thinks diferente.El of the present government, loaded with fundamentalists and the far right, has turned Israel into a
dangerous knot for the Palestinians and for anyone who might think differently. Netanyahu has just said that they will create a kind of civil guard under the orders of Ben Givr, some twenty civilians with weapons. When I see this, I understand that it's going to be a personal militia for the far right, that they're going to have weapons and power to use against anyone. In this situation, the country is becoming a danger to anyone who disagrees with them, but I do not believe that the country is, I hope that this government will withdraw from power as soon as possible.