Day After Ceasefire – November 22, 2012

Wednesday night,  November 14, was the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.

Today is Thursday, November 22nd, the first day after the Ceasefire pronounced yesterday evening at 9:00 PM our time.

A week of being directed to our Safe Rooms if we had them, or within 15 seconds distance of any possible Safe Room.  A week of being alerted to every little nuance of  daily life. No work. No school. Yes work. Yes kibbutz breakfast. No kibbutz dinner.  Store hours. Store closed suddenly. And so it went.

A facebook group kept English Speakers in constant touch. We fed one another’s anxieties and applauded our acts of heroism. Going out for a regular walk was cheered, or admonished (mostly admonished with incredulity). Walking dogs within proximity of  a shelter became a deed of courage that needed a motivational talk beforehand and a debriefing afterwards.

Interesting times we live in.

Some lived without.

Many residents left the area and still haven’t returned.

Eventually, things will come back to normal.

Normal awareness that we carry with us at all times will sit in our back pockets instead of fully planted in our frontal lobe.

Soon. My safe room will go back to being a safe haven of choice rather than necessity.

A safe room.

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Brilliant Photography: Ezra Tzahor

Ezra Tzahor, photographer, teacher at Nofei Habsor, kibbutznik who lives in Kibbutz Revivim, recently had a show at the White House, Nir-Oz.

Ezra Tzahor, at the White House, Nir-Oz

I spoke to Ezra about his work focusing on the Bedouin population and the desert environment that he loves.

Judih: Ezra, can you tell me something about the current Exhibit?

Ezra: I’m constantly biking around the area with my camera.  In the Revivim area, there’s a large Bedouin population.  And I endeavour to photograph what’s going on, within our population and around us. The Bedouin  have a very difficult life, without legal status or rights and they are angry to the degree of hatred.

Desert, Ezra Tzahor, October 2012

I try to capture the images of what is really going on, with the Jewish population and the Bedouin. At the same time, my intention is to be an agent, or go-between. I wish to mediate between two sides, two groups of human beings

Judih: Do you feel that you are being heard? Do people have questions? Are they taking an interest?

Ezra: People are listening. They get angry, but they listen. There are those who believe that I’m exaggerating on either sides. Yet I know that eventually what I’m saying will penetrate people’s consciousness.

Judih: Have any newspapers taken up your cause? Is there anything written?

Ezra: Very little. I say this: Over Tel Aviv, there’s an Iron Dome, impossible to penetrate.  You want to get through, but it’s impossible.

Judih: You can’t break that bubble.

Ezra: Exactly, even if you have something to say, something truly deserving to be heard,

Judih: Do you know if something has been written in the English press? Perhaps some response from out of the country?

Ezra: I don’t think so, but I’d like to find a way to spread the word to English-speakers.

Judih: Well, this blog might find a small audience, maybe 20 people or so!

Ezra: It doesn’t matter how many, even 20 people is good!

Judih: Is there something in particular you’d like readers outside of this immediate area to know?

Photo by Ezra Tzahor

Ezra: As I wrote  in my artist’s statement for this show, people find it very difficult to relate to the camera; as if the camera is an enemy. This is true for Jews as well as Bedouin. Apparently, they’ve got something to hide, and that is what I’m searching for, what lies underneath.  Both sides are the same, and essentially need to stop being foolish.

This week, for example, on our Kibbutz fence,there was a war between the Bedouin and the local councils. Highly unnerving. There I am biking around, and it’s not always with a good feeling.

Judih: or a feeling of safety.

Ezra: or safety. And after this week, I feel even more uncertain.

Judih: What exactly happened?

Ezra: Government officials came to issue demolition warrants on illegal housing and there was huge opposition.  The Bedouin threw stones and there was gunfire, right on our Kibbutz fence.  It’s terrible.

Revivim exists with that volatile fence and tunnels and trenches. It’s terrible.

Still I am trying to build relationships, but I’m only one man, a small force and it’s extremely difficult to encourage change.

Judih: Do you have any suggestions as to how to recruit support?

Ezra: My dream is to establish a home, like Haim Perry has done with the White House on Nir-Oz,  between Revivim and Bir-Hadaj, their area. There I want to offer art activities for groups of Jews and Bedouin. That’s my dream.  With such activity, it’s possible to develop cooperation.

Judih: That sounds wonderful! Is it possible, is there some viable way to develop this project?

Ezra: Haim suggested something and I’ll start to work in that direction; perhaps the Peres Center for Peace.  And I need to find someone who can locate the resources for developing this idea.

Judih: Excellent.  Good luck and thank you.

Ezra at the White House, Nir-Oz

Ezra has an online gallery here.

To contact Ezra, feel free to write him @ ezrazahor@gmail.com

T’ai Chi! A talk with Amiram Shabelman

Interview with Amiram Shabelman

Amiram doing Chi Cong

Judih: I’m speaking with Amiram who is a participant in the T’ai Chi sessions conducted by teacher Doron Lavie. Please introduce yourself.

Amiram: Shalom. I’m Amiram from Kibbutz Nir-Itzhak. At the moment I work as the Kibbutz driver.

J: When did you discover T’ai Chi?

A: Actually I began by participating in a course in Martial Arts offered by the Eshkol Community Council, led by Moshe Galisko, about 15 years ago.  There were about 7 of us from my Kibbutz who came regularly, but after about a year, the course was no longer given.  So, we brought Galisko to the kibbutz and continued to practice for a few more years until that broke up as well.

One of us, Eran Florentyne, went to Kibbutz Nir-Oz, to try T’ai Chi with Doron Lavie.

After one time, he knew that he had to bring us all with him!

J: And what is it about T’ai Chi that grabbed you?

A: I liked the pleasant music and the soft, relaxed movements. In Karate, we were always working hard and my joints were aching.  With T’ai Chi this never happened! The opposite – by the end of the lesson, I was filled with energy, strength.  Never tired.  It offered a combination of sport, meditation and health!

J: When was this?
A: It was about 14 years ago.

J: What does T’ai Chi do for you?

A: First, I begin the morning by practicing Chi Cong and T’ai Chi. I wake up an hour before the children and practise outside in the summer months, or  indoors in the winter, and the day begins with relaxation. This has really improved my health.  While driving I practice my breathing. This brings me the inner quiet and the patience I need to deal with all kinds of people. It becomes integrated into my life – enabling me to serve others with courtesy.

J: Could you recommend T’ai Chi to everyone?

A: Yes, it suits every age at every level. Perhaps less with little children. I work with them during school vacations but they really need something which allows them to release their considerable energy. T’ai chi is fine for a few sessions but it might bore them to study it more seriously.

J: How old were the children?

A: Grades 1 -3. I work with quite a large group and they really enjoy it.  They always ask when we’re going to do T’ai Chi again.

J: Do you have any recommendations as to how best to work with children? What works well for them?

A: First, you have to stay relaxed, not excited at every child who tries to disrupt. You keep working and eventually that child will join in. For a few years, I have been working with a special needs child. At the beginning, he didn’t speak to me, not one word.  Today he chats with me about everything, he’s interested in so many subjects. During kibbutz holidays, he sits beside me, and I really enjoy his curiousity and interest.

J: And this is through T’ai Chi.

A: Yes, he tells me that T’ai Chi has really been a good influence, and that in school, before exams, he does some Chi Cong in order to relax. He can’t understand why his parents  don’t do it, as well!

J: You didn’t suggest it – he realized it by himself?

A: Yes, on his own.

I also have a group of pensioners and other adults.  I work with them once a week doing Chi Cong and then T’ai Chi. As soon as I receive my diploma, I plan to open up this group to others on the Kibbutz and in the area.

I am studying Chi Cong with Nira Rabinowitz on Broshim Campus, of the University of Tel Aviv and will be certified and am now studying Advanced Chi Cong for Healthy living. I hope to develop the practice in this area

J: Has the study influenced your food choices? Or other aspects of your life?

A: I’ve never gotten into health food. I eat moderately from all food choices.  But, in general, sport is very important to me.  For example, I have a home gym for more intense work-outs.

J: So what I hear is that Chi Cong and T’ai Chi give you the inner strength, the patience and energy to work with people who might present challenges.

A: Also I get a lot of satisfaction when I see how others benefit from practicing Chi Cong and T’ai Chi.  Often after a session, they’ll come to me and tell me how good they feel.

J: Great! Is there anything that you would  like to add?

A: Yes! After the Jewish Holidays, I am intend to start a new Course in Chi Cong and it will open to people from all over the Eshkol area.  This way, I’ll be able to  work at my beloved hobby while bringing in some income to the Kibbutz.

J: Good luck and thank you very  much, Amiram.

Link: Amiram speaks in Hebrew here

Israel is 64 years old

Amazing, really. Sixty-four years old. That’s all. Only slightly older than me.

Just for example, I live in the desert. I walk through fields irrigated with recycled sea water. Orange orchards grow, while my feet tramp through sand. Communities of kibbutzim stalwartly plow, harvest, market. They raise chickens, beef cattle, dairy cattle. Flowers are cultivated in hothouses under the beating sun.  Industry is low-key, although on a windy day, we smell the chemicals from the kibbutz 20 kms away.

Our school has 900 students. The elementary school has another 300 or so.

Young people come, go. Older people keep working past retirement age.  Some of course don’t work and age is immaterial.

But here I am – on a kibbutz younger than me – 50 something.

People with a plan and determination and the ability to live together, support one another, can accomplish a reasonable lifestyle.

Amazing.

And optimism is easier to foster with a little music. Here’s Gadi Haggai playing a variation of To Be (Coltrane) at our Memorial Day Service on Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Gadi

So, what’s new?

So, what’s new?

After having completed another course sponsored by Yad Vashem on Holocaust Studies, I took off for the green land known as Canada. I was refreshed and delighted by sweet weather and my dear family and then it was time to come home to Kibbutz Nir-Oz.

Good to be back? Well, of course to hug my beloved children.

But in other news, as has been shown by ynet.com, it’s been a few days of constant listening. I carry out conversations in person, on the phone and in my head while  I periodically note booms and more booms. I await the call of the Red Alert from the regional system or from our Kibbutz located factory, and I carry on.

Newspaper reports don’t always acknowledge the rocketfire that goes on during the day. There are bigger rockets or more noteworthy landings near the big cities of Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva or even Ofakim. But those reports also engage my attention. There’s a kind of dual perception that sneaks into one’s life – the immediate engagements of the moment and the secondary reality of sporadic and possible danger.

Those with ADHD are the winners – those lucky folks gifted with multiple attention spans – no problem – they’re well rehearsed for these times.

Those who are more linear – who like their days piled neatly – are more shaken.

How do you categorize yourself? Could you keep the zen during these times?

Oh, and if you have facebook, perhaps you’d like to join my friend Adele’s new group: Life on the Border with Gaza, Things People May not Know (but should)

& may it be a peaceful weekend

-judih, August 26, 2011

Qassam lands in Eshkol; no injuries – Israel News, Ynetnews

 

 

 

 

Qassam lands in Eshkol; no injuries – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Qassam lands in Eshkol; no injuries

 

 

Escalation in south continues as terrorists launch two Qassam rockets from Gaza Strip late Friday night. One rocket hits house, while other lands in open area

Ilana Curiel

And over at facebook, an American friend asked how I was and I answered that all was quiet. I’m sitting in the Eshkol Municipality, in the study of my house in Kibbutz Nir-Oz, and I hadn’t heard the qassam that fell somewhere close by.

Some house in the area just went through trauma as I sit here digesting my Chai. Without the internet, I wouldn’t have known.

So when someone asks how I am, I will continue to answer, but the response if for this moment, this location, this particular state of mind.

Click onto the article for more details. May the rest of Saturday please be peaceful.

-judih

Interview with Doron Lavie, Teacher of T’ai Chi, Chi Cong, Zen Meditation and more

Doron Lavie

Doron Lavie, teacher of T’ai Chi, Chi Cong, Zen meditation, kung fu and practitioner of holistic healing has won championships in Tokyo in T’ai Chi, and has worked with many populations bringing the benefits of his knowledge and experience to a wide variety of populations. I, myself, have been studying with him since 1993 when he first began classes on Kibbutz Nir-Oz. I was fortunate that Doron agreed to be interviewed and am happy to share his answers to my questions.

J: What is T’ai Chi, Doron?

Doron: A Chinese Martial Art, definitely martial arts combined with awareness. It works on our quality of life: how to use the body, the mind and  how to use them well.

J: What are its origins?

D. In early Chinese history, there evolved the idea that the world  and its processes work according to the principle of yin and yang. The I Ching developed at the same time, according to the same principles.  Everything is balanced. This balance of power controls everything in the world.

These two principles are not opposite as some may think, but rather they complement each other. It is our task to find the balance between them and in all areas of life, we need to maintain that balance. Along with that, we endeavour to learn more about our bodies in accordance with the same principles and rules.  The Chinese, who originated this point of view, realized that the cosmos and the body work in the same way: the body being a microcosmos of the same guiding principles.

This philosophy led to the development of different branches. Some were religious, as happens in all cultures, some were mental processes, such as meditation, without a religious element, some were physical exercises or sports, and eventually developed therapeutic branches such as chi cong, acupuncture, etc.

T’ai chi fits combines physical movement with awareness.

J: Who can benefit from t’ai chi?

D: Everybody! Everybody who truly cares for him/herself, who values their quality of life can benefit.

J: How often does one have to practice it?

D: There are many people who practice once or twice a week, but the more the better, in accordance with one’s schedule, time and how long one can invest. As in most things, people who are attracted to t’ai chi and see results from their practice, tend to practise and develop a regular routine.

Eliyahu and Doron doing Sword Cutta

Background: Full Name: Doron Lavie 

Place of Birth: Jerusalem 

Current Residence: Lehavim, Community Settlement

Favourite Childhood memory: There are many to choose from. When I was growing up, I was surrounded by nature. That is what I remember, that and my family life – which was very strong, very enjoyable. I loved our family trips into nature.

 J:  When did you first become interested in T’ai Chi?

It’s hard to say directly. Not specifically T’ai Chi, but, at a young age, I was interested in seeking something “more”. As an adolescent, it didn’t seem right that there was just daily life and nothing beyond it. I always looked for something more. At first, I tried looking for it in religion and I went in that direction. Up till today, I’m connected to it. I’m not orthodox,  nor do I keep Shabbat in the religious sense, but I feel religious. I say the Kiddush (Kaddish) and I live my daily life in a ‘God-awareness’; that there’s no such thing as randomness, but rather there exists some kind of larger order. While on this search, I found many things. Yoga was good for me, and I discovered meditation which I continued while in the army and afterwards. Then a friend invited me to observe t’ai chi and I’d never seen anything like that before. I was enchanted and I went again and again and continued. And that was that. That was my connection. I connected to my teacher, who was very special. He combined mental/spiritual/meditation work with exercise. He taught the total concept of doing holistic work.

J:  Who were your first teachers?

First teacher? Tzvi Weisberg, an American, who wanted to immigrate to Israel. He was the first to make tofu in Israel; he would sit and prepare it as it is done in a monastery. He was also one of the first to bring the practice of zazen to Israel.

J: When did you first go out east?

We went at the end of 1985- We (Irit and I) got married and went. I had thought it wouldn’t be for a long time, but Tzvi had always told me to leave this place and not to hang around him. I wanted to be with him, I was sure that it would take a lifetime to learn all that he had to teach, but he urged me to go out into the world and look at other things. My wife also strongly encouraged me to go look at other things. And that’s what we did.

J:  What would you say were the most important elements that you found while you were in Japan and  China?

I learned about processes. It’s hard to speak of specific elements. The first thing was how to learn. What it is to seriously learn. It influenced me deeply in  how I saw things. I learned I could see things differently, I could do things that I’d thought were impossible. I learned that it is possible, there is a way, the mind has a lot of strength  if used properly.  This would be the most important thing.

I also got acquainted with chi – I felt the sensation of chi. Before that,  I hadn’t really known what it was. But in the east, it was very clear – I knew when Chi emerged. It was more than a feeling of the flow. I knew chi, beyond all doubt, very clearly. Especially in a group exercise, when others had the same experience and we all felt it. It was obvious that we were not imagining or fantasizing, but that it was real.

J: What do you try to impart to your students?

First of all, I would be very happy if I could awaken within them an inner curiousity. And with that, a broader look at the world around them.  If a connection can be made in those two realms,  a person is taken to a better place where every day is a little better than the day before. There is an underlying feeling that everything is okay.

Ruti, Eliyahu, Miki, Bracha - T'ai Chi in Nir-Oz

J: Can anyone do t’ai chi? Everybody can do it

J: What about Chi Cong.  Can you explain what it is?

It is similar to T’ai Chi, but it emphasizes the energetic side, teaching us to learn to recognize it and to control it. Someone who is strong in Chi Cong can truly help others.

Peter Green

J: There are different forms of Chi Cong that you teach. Could you briefly mention a few and explain them?

There are many series of Chi Cong. Most of them work on improving posture, balance, to remedy disease or unbalanced emotions. They all work to increase chi and its balance. That’s the most important aim.

There are some very static forms and others dynamic, some very dynamic like shaolin. One form, for example, used in almost all schools is The Five Elements, or Five Postures (as called by the Chinese).

These are static positions which are held, then changed, from position to position, relating to the Chinese five elements and addressing the five pairs of organs in the body. This is a little different to what we know in the West.

The elements relate to the natural cycle of energy that flows between these five pairs of bodily organs.

The Five Elements balances the mental, emotional, hormonal energies within the organs, themselves,  and in their relationship with one another.

Another series is called the Eight Pieces of Brocade. It is also one of the ancient series, getting its name from the lace from which the Caesars’ robes were made, a  very expensive cloth. The Eight Pieces do major work on all aspects of health; one on cartilage, another on the skeleton and others on the seven emotions (joy-anger, happiness-sadness, etc).

One works on the nervous system, another on the immune system. It does thorough work.

Another series of Chi Cong is the Wild Goose, which develops the body and awareness through movement. It is one of the few Chi Cong cutta –(a dynamic series of movements). Most are static.

Because it’s not too technical and fairly easy to do, it improves coordination, orientation, and body awareness in general. There are a few forms of the Wild Goose. They all open up energetic channels, providing a good base for other movement or awareness work, no matter what it might be.

It works specifically on the immune system.

Doing almost any form of Chi Cong will relax the body, relieve tiredness, awaken the body. It can dissolve negative emotions including anger. People feel good afterwards  and don’t think of negativity.

J: Would you say that t’ai chi has changed you?

In many ways.

First, when I was young, I would get angry quickly, and I was easily frustrated. At times, I even got violent. My attitudes about life were set and inflexible. All these things changed. I was suddenly able to relax, through my own control, something I never could have done before. I could deal with my frustration in a kind of dialogue.  I learned (perhaps by myself) that the world was nicer than I had thought. Of course, there’s no shortage of things to fix and I wish that things were different but it’s not as bad as we think.  There are many issues in the world, whether individual or on a universal scale that I once assumed were lost causes, beyond anything I could do. Now I think I can influence things, by every positive action that I take.

J:  Do you see T’ai chi making a change in your students?

Yes, certainly.

I have many students, thank god, everyone different, in personality, in their reasons for coming. I can see where it doesn’t work. Not everyone is ready or open to doing t’ai chi. But definitely, as they become more aware of their movements and improve, I can see how it also influences their approach to themselves and to the world. I have seen self-deprecating people who suddenly recognize their own abilities to do things. And for some, it’s a true discovery, allowing them to explore totally new things in their lives. Tai chi is a vehicle to self-awareness.

J:  You have a very gentle way of teaching. You target one particular point for a student to work on and help them focus on observation and correction. Is this a method that other teachers use, or is it your own particular technique?

Yes. This is one of the things I learned with Tzvi, and in Japan or China, but mostly in Japan, during a very intensive period. When I arrived there to do T’ai Chi, I  searched for something similar to what I had been doing with Tzvi. But, I couldn’t find the same style. There were many styles, of course, but due to my own state, I was unable to adapt. Nothing seemed to suit me. Also I had no criteria with which to judge what was good or not. Then a friend of mine who was studying acupuncture invited me to a monastery to watch a T’ai Chi class. I went there and suddenly, it didn’t matter about the style:  I saw the teacher, a woman, and how she moved, her very being, her aura and I wanted her to help me get to her level. Wherever she was, I wanted to be there.

The teaching was very gentle, very harmonious. People were never reprimanded. Sometimes, I missed that, sometimes I felt as if I needed to be hit on the head. In China, they would do things like that to awaken awareness. When required,   I sometimes use that technique, but afterwards I feel badly for doing it.

In Japan, however, they were very gentle, focusing on one thing. When I was an assistant-teacher, I used to show a person everything that needed adjustment. But it’s impossible to remember so many corrections, and I learned to look for the most central thing. People are able to work on one thing, and if central enough,  other things will be corrected as well. And that will open up the possibility of working on something else. The issue for the teacher is to locate the center of the problem. When I look at a person, I look for what is being done right, and I emphasize the positive. That way I can see more clearly where the interference might be coming from. In getting to that central thing, you solve more than one area.

J: You give several T’ai Chi classes in the Negev area, including kibbutzim and the University. Do you find  any noticeable difference in the classroom atmosphere?

Yes, every community has a separate personality, making it special.  I work in different sorts of communities and the atmosphere is very different in each.

Eran, Razia and Doron

For example, I work with the elderly and I work with a younger group of pensioners.  With one group, I am not expecting them to be t’ai chi masters, not at all, but we work with the here and now, what is possible in the lesson and what will remain with each person after they leave the class. What is unique in working with that group is that there is a very harmonious feeling in the room. With the slightly younger pensioners, on the other hand, there can erupt some rather angry dialogues, in the middle of the lesson. It’s very interesting that the lesson sets the stage for such discussions. I am not a part of the particular stories, but since it happens in my lesson, I have to deal with it. I can either ignore it or relate to it. The fact that I can dissolve any negativity that might develop is very satisfying. Sometimes, I can deal with it in a joking manner and that can transform the entire situation. So although such things are not directly connected to t’ai chi, they can constitute a major part of the lesson.

J:  Are there any other questions you wish I had asked, or any comments you’d like to add?

Yes, I have a question: I often find myself wanting to give more than students apparently want. When I first came back to Israel, society in general tended to be more attracted to holistic practices but, in recent years, that has lessened. The fact is that I don’t understand why people don’t gravitate more to t’ai chi. Or to yoga or meditation. Why aren’t more people doing these things?

We are at a period in society where most people are good people, clever people trying to live well. But they focus on the external. They devote attention to their car’s colour, its radio, its GPS, but not to the engine or the gear. This is why they work extra hours, make one more deal. Even nurses will take care of one more patient, instead of going home, instead of paying attention to the time or to themselves. They themselves could be sick, but they don’t offer themselves the attention they give so freely to others. Why must an actual illness force people to finally pay attention,  when it can so easily be prevented.

It takes awareness to maintain the body. More people need to make a connection to themselves.

This brings back the point I made earlier. The essential thing is to arouse a true curiousity in the self and when that happens, a person will be able to see what is required, aware of what’s important in life.

Is it really necessary to have a better looking car, a larger TV, or is it more important to feel healthier, better nourished inside?

If one’s priorities are in order, one feels inner contentment and nothing external can change that feeling.

If you are happy, you are happyl Receiving a gift is always nice,  but it all starts on the inside. That’s the place to start.

Doron

 

Thank you, Doron.

Doron Lavie : T’ai Chi and Chi Cong classes are given from Sunday to Friday. For inquiries about classes in t’ai chi, chi cong, zen meditation and kung fu, contact Doron. Email: idl@bezeqint.net   Telephone: 08-651-2636

Doron has been teaching Chi Cong and T’ai Chi on Kibbutz Nir-Oz  since 1993, on Tuesday nights from 20:30 – 22:00. For information about classes given on Kibbutz Nir-Oz, e-mail: thisjudih@gmail.com

Doron offers clarification

 

Watch a short clip of Doron illustrating a point in ‘Wave Hands Like Clouds’ (Hebrew spoken, but useful to watch)

Update – Jan 8, 2011

First major rain down here on Nir-Oz. Started around dinner time, Friday night and kept on till Saturday morning. Will it mean more than 3 mm of rain? Hope so. Our za’atar (hyssop) pots are overflowing and the snails are surfing the sidewalk.

Other news: heard tank shots this morning.

Probably a continuation of yesterday’s infiltration near the fence of Kibbutz Nirim (our neighbour) and the tragic shooting by “friendly fire” of Israeli soldiers.

Story here:

IDF soldier killed by friendly fire on Gaza border

Sergeant Natav Rotenberg, 20, killed during exchanges of fire with terrorists approaching security fence; another soldier moderately wounded, three more lightly hurt when mortar fired by IDF force accidentally hits them

Hanan Greenberg

Cleared for publication:

An IDF soldier was killed by friendly fire during a clash with terrorists Friday evening along the Gaza border, near Kibbiutz Nirim.

Another soldier sustained moderate wounds in the incident, while three others were lightly wounded. The army said all of the soldiers were hit by friendly fire.

The soldier who was killed in the incident has been identified as Sergeant Natav Rotenberg, 20, from Ramot Hashavim.

The incident began when Palestinian terrorists approached the security fence separating Israel form the Hamas-ruled territory and opened fire on the Israeli troops using automatic weapons. Five soldiers belonging to Battalion 202 of the Paratroopers Brigade were injured in the clash, and one of them later succumbed to his wounds.

 

IDF troops kill two Palestinian infiltrators on Gaza border – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

IDF troops kill two Palestinian infiltrators on Gaza border – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Early Friday around 3 a.m. this morning, we heard a huge boom, that sounded like it landed on the kibbutz. Then the sound of planes could be heard.

The first people at work this morning (mostly those who prepare the food and those who like to gather with them)  shared how they were awakened by the noise and wondered what had transpired. Me? I slept through it. But later on as I went through my day, I heard a boom that got the peacocks shrieking. Just like the old days * (*Last December/January in Operation Cast Lead)

Today we were messaged to stay indoors as there was an infiltration.  About an hour later, we were given the all-clear.

Here’s the article in Ha’aretz about what happened:

  • Published 03:30 21.05.10
  • Latest update 15:30 21.05.10

Israel jets strike Gaza in response to Qassam attack; IDF: Planes hit tunnel intended to facilitate a terror attack against Israeli citizens.

Independence Day on Kibbutz Nir-Oz

On Kibbutz Nir-Ozקיבוץ ניר-עוז)we are celebrating 100 years of the Kibbutz Experience. One hundred years which started out forging strangers into communities, banding intellectuals and labourers to commence the urgent work of draining swamps and clearing rocks,  resting in the evenings to dance and discuss ideologies.

One hundred years of communal clothing, Children’s Houses, defending borders, working together to survive.

Last night’s ceremony on Nir-Oz was modest, quaint, not a huge cultural success, but still a coming together to speak, to sing and then to watch Independence Day fireworks.

Many will be barbecuing today, sharing pita and hummus. It’s the tradition all over the country.

Me? A day to ponder, to gather my thoughts.  As usual, I wonder how much to print, what is politically correct. I love the lifestyle of kibbutz. It offers natural environments, green pastoral views, birdsong and spaces. I have a roof over my head, food for my children. We are still mid-process of procuring security rooms in case of Red Alerts or mortar fire.  But, more than that, I have a genuine love of kibbutz which keeps me here, even as I sadly acknowledge that capitalism is grabbing hold of the old ideals and tossing them aside.

Every day there is a see-saw effect going on. Some want the old form of kibbutz with its communal logistics. Others want a personal salary and the freedom to disengage from the social experiment that has lasted this long.

This blog has never been a place for me to air my own opinions. It is intended as a safe place for the stories of all in this community.  There will be more stories to come!

Interviews are slated for this spot. Stay tuned!

And Happy 62nd Independence Day to allץ  May this year show a widening of true talks and negotiation for peace. Soon as possible, people. Let’s get this show on the road.

(below, photo of fireworks in Haifa, 2010, moran mayan)

photo moran mayan for ha'aretz