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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A million protesters for social justice? – Israel News, Ynetnews

 

 

 

 

 

A million protesters for social justice? – Israel News, Ynetnews.

 

 

A million protesters for social justice?

Police forces prepare for Saturday night’s mass social rallies across Israel, as organizers hope 1,000,000 protesters will show up

Ynet Reporters click the link for the story as preparation is being made for the protest at Kikar haMedina this evening, Saturday September 3, 2011.

Carmel fire fully extinguished – Israel News, Ynetnews

Carmel fire fully extinguished – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Firefighting service declare biggest fire in Israel’s history over, 82 hours after it broke out. Forces to remain at scene to prevent blaze from re-erupting. Ynet brings you summary of national disaster, which claimed lives of 41 people

Israel might have been able to prevent Carmel fire, reports show – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Israel might have been able to prevent Carmel fire, reports show – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Along with casting blame for arson, the facts of the inadequate resources of Israel’s firefighting agencies are being discussed throughout the country.

Click onto the link for the article which appears in this morning’s “Ha’aretz”; Ilan Lior reports:

It was well-known long before last week that the firefighting service in Israel had serious deficiencies. Nonetheless a succession of government agencies, prime ministers and ministers of the interior and of finance failed to deal with the situation. A review of state comptroller reports, recommendations from professional investigative committees, deliberations by Knesset committees and correspondence among agencies all testify to the fact everyone foresaw such a catastrophe, but very little was done to head it off.

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

Seven solar technologies from Israel that could change our planet

This is a new article from Israel 21C, by Karin Loostermann, October 27/09.

Solar technologies create a cleaner environment and break our dependence on oil. ISRAEL21c takes a look at the top seven solar technologies being developed in Israel.

Fixed link – thank you Linda!

http://www.israel21c.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7290:seven-solar-technologies-from-israel-that-could-change-our-planet&catid=58:environment&Itemid=101

News from Ynet.co.il: Livni says won’t join Netanyahu-led government

The following article is taken from ynet.co.il, Feb 27/09 (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3678490,00.html)

The article speaks of Tzipi Livni’s meeting with Bibi Netanyahu.

photo by Yaron Brener:

Tzipi Livni meets with Benyamin Netanyahu, Feb 27/09

Tzipi Livni meets with Benyamin Netanyahu, Feb 27/09

“Two states (one for the Israelis and one of the Palestinians) is not an empty slogan,” Livni said as she left the meeting. “Unity is not just sitting in a government together. It also means sharing a way.”

 

The two officials met at a Tel Aviv hotel for about two hours.

 

“I came to meet with the Likud chairman for a second time in order to hear about his vision and the way he wishes to implement. Israel is facing challenges. I told him Kadima would support any right moves by the government.

 

“In order to deal with the challenges I wanted three fundamental things which you are aware of,” she said. “Two states is not an empty slogan. It’s the only way Israel can remain Jewish and fight terror. It’s a matter of principle.

 

“We discussed the issues. I didn’t see any commitment on Bibi’s part to these issues. The meeting ended without any understandings, and we cannot be part of Netanyahu’s government,” Livni stated, vowing to act as “a responsible opposition”.

The Likud leader’s associates made it clear before the meeting that he would not accept the “two states for two people” formula. Senior Kadima officials clarified that Netanyahu’s commitment to a peace process was insufficient, stressing that the world now views the Annapolis process as the foundation of any negotiations.

 

“There is no other process apart from this one, and the saying that Netanyahu supports a diplomatic process is insufficient and will not serve as a basis for Kadima’s inclusion in the government instead of an explicit statement addressing the process’ nature,” one of the Kadima officials said.

 

Knesset Member Tzachi Hangebi, one of Kadima’s senior members, told Ynet before the meeting, “We are heading to the opposition, for certain. Something really dramatic will have to take place for this to change.”

 

Various sources who have spoken to Netanyahu this week found it difficult to determine whether he was optimistic ahead of his meeting with Livni. One of them stated, however, that “it appears that he plans to make more compromises. He really wants Kadima to join the government and to establish a wide government.”

December 29th, Update from Kibbutz Nir-Oz

What’s new?

Again a quiet night. On the way to Be’er Sheva this morning, I heard from people from Kibbutz Nirim about the direct hit they suffered yesterday. At home, talking, friends stepped outside for a minute and boom, the qassam landed where they’d been a moment before.

People in Be’er Sheva were advised that the Public Shelters had all been opened for them. So, I didn’t know what to expect when heading into Soroka Hospital’s Out-Patient zone. While waiting for my turn for a mammogram, the clinic TV was showing the residents of Ashkelon running for cover in the wake of rocket and mortar fire.

Running for cover is new for them and they were visibly in that other zone, where alertness, adrenaline and caution govern one’s mind. One day, we should discuss that other mindedness that occurs in conditions of super-reality.

In Be’er Sheva, it was a gorgeous sunny day. “Where is the nearest shelter,” I asked the technician at the clinic. “Right here,” she said. “My lucky day,” I replied,  “that is, aside from the discomfort of the mammogram itself, I am safe and sound.” (Luck!)

The weather outside changed within seconds to cold and overcast. We hit the Negev Mall, Canion haNegev, which was not terribly busy.  While doing some clothes shopping, the kids and I were receiving text messages constantly. The highway was closed, the highway was re-opened. The bus schedule had been resumed. We heard that families from Kibbutz Be’eri had decided to take a mini-vacation at Ein Gedi. We were told that other kibbutzim had a dearth of kids and Children’s Houses were empty. My daughter was being asked to come hang out at the Children’s House in Nir-Oz. My son was being asked for his whereabouts.

Soon enough, back on Nir-Oz, we were welcomed to warm, sunny weather. We’d missed some rainfall and very little else, apparently.

For the past hour or so, there have been some booms, but the exact location isn’t clear. Qassams are being aimed towards the Eshkol area, both audibly and verifiably via TV reporters.

This is today’s reality, something somewhat easier to  handle than the slow guesswork of the past few years.  Yet, we wait, wondering what’s in store.

School isn’t resuming tomorrow. We’re awaiting further instructions as to when we’ll begin again.

I apologize for this rather sparse report, but that’s what I’ve got, so far. For details about Ashkelon, Netivot and Sderot, check out YNet http://www.ynet.co.il  or Ha’aretz: http://www.haaretz.com

Judih

Kibbutz Nir-Oz

Let My People Know!

Intro – who, where, what, when

Hi. My name’s Judih and I live and teach school in an area east of the Gaza strip. The kibbutzim and settlements in this zone of Israel make up the area called “Otef Azza” – “Surrounding Gaza” as you could loosely translate.

For awhile now, we’ve been experiencing sniper bullets aimed at our field workers and qassams landing in our fields and sometimes on the kibbutz, itself.  Our Children’s Houses have been ‘protected’ by huge concrete roofs and only this past week, we’ve received a protective shelter located near our bus stop (within a 15 second run from our communal Dining Room and beside the bus stop where our children wait for the schoolbus from Sunday – Friday). The rest of the kibbutz, however, remains unprotected.

We live in a time of constant listening for falling qassams, tuning in to our Official website for updates, clicking into news reports on radio and internet. We hope that the victims are not loved ones, we breathe out in relief when they’re not, but we soon hear a cry from someone close by who knew them. We’ve all been affected.

Why this blog, suddenly?

On Wednesday, May 14th, I was called upon to go to Sha’ar HaNegev High School, in order to test some Grade 12 students who were scheduled to undergo their Oral Matriculation Exam.  Those who were scheduled to come test them backed out at the last minute. You see, the school has been in the news for years now as a frequent recipient of qassams. Only one week ago, last Saturday, when no one was around, 3 qassams hit the school, just outside a classroom. No one was injured because it was Shabbat, a no-school day, but on Sunday, when kids showed up, they saw the shattered windows and they each thought, what if…. We all thought ‘what if’, including teachers who were scheduled to come to the school to test the graduating class.

So, along with 3 other teachers and our regional Inspector,  I went to examine over 20 Grade 12 students and during those 5 hours, I heard stories that filled me with awe. Near death, relocations, running to shelters, sleeping in shelters, they have gone through so much anguish just to live their lives and to keep to a school routine. Their teachers unfailingly offered strength, optimism and determination to help them make their way as normally as possible through the fear and reality of qassams. The all-too familiar 15 second warning of ‘Red Alert’ (Tzeva Adom) signalled too many dashes to the nearest shelter. School life during these past years was like no other location in Israel.

And often, when students go home, there is more of the same. Those who live in Sderot have little opportunity to relax these days.

This blog is to relay some of this information.

That day, I heard stories that opened my eyes and heart. I live so close, and yet none of my students have had such constant threat hanging over their heads. What those students live through, none of us can guess.

More of us in Israel and outside of Israel need to know what is going on in this generation of students. We need to care for them now and to help them mature with minimal trauma. We need to know.

This blog is to get those stories out. We all need to know.

Those who wish to contribute – students, teachers, parents are welcome. In the place labeled “comments” – write your name and e-mail and I’ll send you information.

All comments are welcome.

I hope that this blog will grow and be a community effort, a way for each of us to let our people know!

over fields towards Azza