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Safety, or would that it were true

3 New protective structures on the kibbutzYes! We’ve got 3 new protective structures on Kibbutz Nir-Oz.

One is beside our communal laundry/clothing facility (The Communa),

another is beside the basketball court and this is good because this is where T’ai Chi instruction occurs every Tuesday evening,

and a third is beside the only Children’s House that till now has been unprotected by a huge concrete and steel roof.

We received these structures almost a week ago, and I beg your indulgence for not having reported this sooner. I’ve been busy with end of year Matriculation Exams, but now, here I am to report that they are in place. We are safer.

How safe do I feel?

Well, truthfully, after last Friday’s Red Alert and again another one last night, I have once again realized that it’s either hiding under the 88 piano keys in my living room (the safest place in the house) or continuing sitting where I am at the moment and counting 15 seconds after the Alert to wait for the Boom.  Last night, I counted to 45 before I heard it. The boom sounded like it fell in the field. You can tell these things.

I live at least 2 minutes from the nearest shelter, so I’m not feeling much improvement. Also notably, last night’s Alert came after we heard there’s about to be a truce with Hamas.

Safety is not exactly overflowing.

Some of the younger kibbutzniks are in favour of leaving. Most of us are not in such a hurry to turn our backs on our home. The situation has not really changed for the past 7 years, in fact.

Except for one small detail. A man has been killed by mortar fire. The qassam fire that impotently fell on open fields for so long has been displaced by one hit that struck down a human life here at home.

Yet, life goes on. I continue to walk in the fields. I continue to hear helicopters, like right now, for instance. I drink coffee. I bake bread. The swimming pool is filled with those cooling down from the heat wave.

I, like you, perhaps, check the newspapers to see what has transpired during the night and what is going on in other kibbutzim, cities and settlements. I seldom see the facts spelled out till much later. But safety? I’ll be safe on Tuesday if a Red Alert is called while we’re doing Chi Cong. I’ll be safe if I happen to be by the Laundry or the Brosh Children’s House. Meanwhile, it’s going to be to flatten out if I’m on the road outside, or perhaps look into my daughter’s eyes as we crouch beneath the piano keys.

(I can hear my mother say: “So this is why I paid for 6 years of piano lessons?”)

And what’s going on in Nirlat paint factory (the target of two incidents of mortar fire, one fatal)? Walking by the factory last evening, we heard the orders: “All into the protected shelters“.  After a few minutes, new orders resounded: “All back to work“. And a few minutes after that, ‘All into the protected shelters” and so it goes as the workers do their shifts.

Imagine for yourself how this must be.

Safety? At least they have protective shelters and a voice to give them an alert. This wasn’t the case the day that mortar struck down Amnon Rosenberg.

But here I am to say that we have 3 new Shelters and the promise that each house will receive a protected room. I’ll be back to report how that’s going.  The truce with Hamas has gone into effect as of 6 a.m. this morning, June 19th, 2008.

Let’s give truce a chance.

Here’s hoping you all have a peaceful weekend. And don’t forget to write. We all have our anxieties and our release mechanisms. May writing ease the pressure.


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