Israel · Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · Middle East · Nir-oz · Sderot

August 7th, 2014 – Real-time, no ceasefire

As jet lags slows down my body and brain processes, I begin to sense that the war is far from over. Hamas won’t agree to a Ceasefire and the jubilation screened on Channel 10 news from our neighbouring kibbutz Be’eri was premature.

“hadashot 10” News Channel 10

Tunnels, rocketfire, Iranian big brother support for the folks who would wipe us dead – these are not things that comprise a good morning wake-up call.

five a.m.

quick check in ynet

no more sleepy time

I had an illusion yesterday. All would be well. I’d take the train from Sderot to Tel Aviv. I’d meet with those who wait to spread the Class Relax meditation movement. I’d meet with my UX designer in Meitar. I’d meet with my daughter, and my cousin! I’d check out the Tel Aviv Museum and re-stock my mind with ideas of art and creativity.

That was yesterday. Today I see grey.

sunflower droops

under dew-laden clouds

more espresso please


August 6th

Israel · Living in Otef Azza · Sderot

BREAKING: Katyusha Launches on Sderot; IDF Speaks Out

BREAKING: Katyusha Launches on Sderot; IDF Speaks Out.

Virtual Jerusalem reports in English what was heard tonight on the News in Israel:

“IDF soldiers have spoken out about their experience when boarding the Flotilla ship. burnt flag

The world media has skipped over the fact that Israel repeatedly told the Flotilla not to proceed with their plan of breaking the Gaza blockade. Israel offered the boat safe passage to Ashdod where they would be free to break apart their cargo under Israeli supervision, and then could take the humanitarian aid they promised into Gaza with no further problem.

They refused.

Even at the last minute, before the Israeli forces boarded the boat, once more they asked the captain to change his route. Again, they refused.

One IDF soldier who was wounded and seen jumping from the ship on video recounts his story:

When I landed on the ship, I passed terrorists, everyone had knives and weapons… I held my weapon up when a knife came at me and I shot one shot. Then there were about 20 people surrounding me on all sides, pushing me down and as soon as I hit the floor I felt a strong stabbing pain in my stomach. I saw it was a knife, I removed it and at one point we just went out and another fighter and I jumped into the water, and a third fighter who was hit on the head lost his consciousness and fell.”

What they found:
While some humanitarian aid was found dispersed around the ship, the IDF also found weapons, gas masks and night vision aids. The IDF stated that if they knew that there would be these kind of materials aboard the ship, the operation would have been conducted quite differently.

The Rachel Corrie
, a flotilla that left Ireland and is already en route to Gaza, is believed to be a true humanitarian ship, but it is unclear now as to whether Israel will allow it to pass into port.”

go to the link to read what Turkey is doing to show kinship with the Arab world.

More from the same article:

Katyusha’s falling:

Meanwhile two Katyushka rockets are reported to have fallen in Sderot this evening with Hamas and Hizbollah promising that more are on their way.

Protests are being staged at intersections and in cities across Israel both in support and against Israel’s movements on the flotilla.

An emergency cabinet meeting held in Jerusalem tonight concluded with no clear decision as to whether or not Israel will allow Turkish planes to return the wounded to Turkey, or whether they will be tried in an Israeli court. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the meeting will reconvene tomorrow.

Israel · Living in Otef Azza · Sderot News – Gaza Flotilla Not What it Seems News – Gaza Flotilla Not What it Seems.

by Jacob Shrybman

The next rocket escalation will be wrongly legitimized by events like this Gaza Flotilla just as the second intifada full of suicide bombings on public buses was legitimized by a mere visit to the Jewish Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon in 2000.

Weapons on the Mavi Mamara Flotilla Ship (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Sitting in Sderot today, a working day, is quieter than Shabbat. No one is walking around outside as an entire population fears bombardment by now more publicly legitimized rockets. According to Sderot’s Security office, no schoolchildren were allowed outside today as the city fears imminent attack.

Please continue reading here.

Israel · Living in Otef Azza · Sderot News – Why Gaza aid flotilla a media success News – Why Gaza aid flotilla a media success.

by Anat Silverman of  Sderot Media

It was exactly the kind of coverage that pro-Palestinian activists behind the Gaza aid flotilla were aiming for: “Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship.” Associated Press, BBC, Fox News, CNN and countless other media outlets across the world and even in Israel, carried such headlines, reporting the ensuing diplomatic crisis and worldwide condemnation that quickly followed.

Not surprisingly, this typical knee-jerk reaction by the media and international community to such Mideast confrontations, failed to report the outside circumstances that lead to the unfolding events at sea.

First, allowing the illegal flotilla to reach Hamas would have opened another corridor of weapons smuggling into Gaza, a strategy already in full operation thanks to the tunnel infrastructure between Gaza and Egypt where arms, many originating from Iran, are smuggled through intensively. Under international law, Israel has taken measures to defend its civilians from Hamas terrorism by placing a maritime blockade off the coast of Gaza to prevent such arms smuggling to Palestinian terror groups by sea route.

Indeed, the term ‘peace-activists’ which was used to describe those on board the Gaza aid flotilla fleet, was a strategic guise for those planning to employ violence against the Israeli soldiers once the fleet was stopped. Similar to Hamas’s mode of human shield tactics, where terrorists will fire against Israeli troops while hiding among women, children, and civilian populated areas, the pro-Palestinian protesters also brought along small children on the boats.

Please go to the link to read the rest.

Art · Creativity is the answer · Living in Otef Azza · Sderot News – Artists 4 Israel bring some color to Sderot

Artists 4 Israel bring some color to Sderot

By • Ron Friedman,The Jerusalem Post

Int’l artists beautify city’s bomb shelters. “Unfortunately, people here have to live with bomb shelters. We’re here doing a little something to bring some color to something that’s here for an ugly reason,” said American graffiti artist Cycle, summing up perfectly the aim of the Artists 4 Israel mission to Israel.

Tuesday was the group’s third day in Sderot, where urban artists from the United States, Spain, Mexico and Israel have been busy beautifying the bombarded city’s public bomb shelters.

The “Murality Project” is all about sending a message of support to the residents of Sderot.

Read the rest of the article here

Living in Otef Azza · Sderot · Theatre News – SMC Theater therapy program changes lives of Sderot’s traumatized girls

Sderot Media Center (SMC) Community Treatment Theater Program put on a therapeutic performance last October 14th, 2009.

It is this continuing drama therapy that we first saw in our Mustache Theatre of the Eshkol Region that affirms that we can be proactive in remediating post-traumatic stress disorder.

Read the article. Support those who are working to support themselves.

Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · Sderot

Jan 28, 2009

It’s been a week of noisy nights.

We’ve had a few Tzeva Adom alerts in the area. Just this afternoon, Kibbutz Nir Itzhak had a flashback alert at four p.m. The qassam landed somewhere close by. One day this week, we were surprised by a huge boom just beside us as an old forgotten weapon ‘slick’ was discovered in Kibbutz Nirim and evacuated to open fields for safe detonation.

Yet, today while walking , I had the pleasure of seeing quiet fields and a serene horizon over Aza. Life changes from moment to moment, as we all know.

Benji Davis writes about his experience in Sderot

I read a very good article that appears in Sderot Media Centre. Perhaps, you’d enjoy taking a look.

Here’s an excerpt:

From 90210 to Sderot: Get the Story Right!

By Benji Davis                                                                      Tue Jan 26 2009  06:29:08

I just returned from a two week visit to Israel. I spent my last weekend in Sderot and the Western Negev. One year out from volunteering in Sderot, I have written this piece on the international media’s lack of context in covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Hundreds of journalists from all over the world just left Sderot and the surrounding areas covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Where were they one year ago? Where were they four years ago, eight years ago? I spent six weeks volunteering in Sderot exactly one year ago, and I can tell you, the journalists were nowhere to be found.

Unfortunately for Israel, it took eight years for the international community to understand that innocent civilians in a western democracy live daily under the current threat of rocket fire. During this time, the range of the threat expanded from a tens of thousands to over one million innocent Jewish and Muslim Israeli citizens.

In these eight years, has the UN Security Council ever condemned nearly a decade of rocket fire on innocent civilians of one of its member states, Hamas’ use of human shields, and its use of schools, hospitals, and mosques to store and launch rockets at Israel?

Read the rest of the article here:

In other news

Calaniot or Anemone are beginning to bloom. This is a shot taken by Dekel, in the beautiful fields near Kibbutz Be’eri. Soon, very soon, there’ll be carpets of red.

First calaniot or anemone, by Dekel
First calaniot or anemone, by Dekel

I’ll be back. Hopefully with more flowers and less news of the other sort.


Jan 28/09








I’d like to devote this post to NATAL,

Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War

NATAL Homepage.

Q: First, what is trauma?

A: ” A traumatic event is when a person experiences a combination of:

  a) A sense of immediate threat to the physical and/or emotional well-being of himself or another.
  b) Flooded by emotions of the helplessness or fear.”

Click here. for full response.

Q: How can PTSD ( Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) be treated?

A: ” Professional treatment for post trauma: the first step is not easy.
Although entering appropriate professional treatment is very important for victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.), the process is not as simple as it might appear at first glance. First, the victim must acknowledge the need for professional assistance. Many people, including trauma victims, do not hurry to seek professional psychological treatment because psychological therapy is still accompanied by a negative social stigma, because they consider beginning therapy an admission of weakness, because the uncertainty inherent in therapy causes anxiety or because beginning therapy means taking a step in the opposite direction from the avoidance they have been using until now.

In addition, it is not always easy to find a professional who understands the issue of trauma and the accompanying phenomena nor is it easy to develop closeness with and trust in a stranger.”

Click here.

Q: Tell me more about NATAL’s services.

A: Have a look at this page with a short youtube clip.

Q: Who is Dr. Roni Berger?

A: Dr. Berger is clinical psychologist who developed the Mobile Trauma Unit in Sderot. He explains its conception and how it functions with its group of psychologists and therapists who go into the community to treat trauma victims.


There’s nothing new in Sderot

More than eighteen months ago, I reached the realization that Sderot had, for many years, been taken captive by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I decided to do something to support the city’s residents in a permanent, on-going manner. The shortage of professional personnel in the city, the fear of venturing out for psychological therapy in public institutions (some are unprotected), discomfort because of the stigma and the desire to treat family units as a whole combined to give birth to the idea of the Mobile Unit: experienced professionals who specialize in trauma, visit families suffering from anxiety at least once a week, in coordination with the Welfare Department, and treat them according to a special therapeutic model, developed specifically for this purpose. Despite concerns that residents of the city would not be receptive to this service, the natural suspicion of some local institutions providing psychological services and the opposition of conservative professionals, who thought the Mobile Unit broke through boundaries that characterize the therapeutic process, the Unit quickly became a tremendous success.

Full link here.

Listening to Dr. Roni Berger yesterday at the NATAL conference yesterday in Sheffayim, I could only hope that everyone would be fortunate enough to have someone like him around in case of utter trauma. His voice, his presence, his calm manner instills immediate trust.

We’re lucky to have him, someone who’s used his skills with trauma victims all over the world, from the Tsunami victims to those in Katrina and Mumbai.

Please have a look at the work that NATAL is doing.

Judih, Jan 9/09