Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · Nir-oz

IAF strikes two targets in southern Gaza Strip – Haaretz – Israel News

Yesterday, March 11, 2010,

a friend from neighbouring Kibbutz Nirim called me to report that a qassam had hit the kibbutz.

There were no injuries, he reported. A few minutes later,  I received a text message from another friend from Nirim. The kibbutz is 3 kilometres away from us, but I didn’t hear their “Tzeva Adom” (red alert) and the boom that I did hear wasn’t louder than a lot of other booms we’ve been periodically hearing.

This particular qassam fell within the kibbutz but nobody was injured. Pure luck. Pure chance that the ill-aimed qassam managed to land where it did.

The difference now is that both Kibbutz Nirim and Nir-Oz are mid-process of receiving security rooms. Theoretically, within a few months, we’ll have a ‘safe’ place to protect us in the event of receiving the ‘Tzeva Adom’ alert.

Meanwhile, the security rooms are far from finished, and during the process, the workers (both Arab and Chinese) are living on the kibbutz itself, some leaving the kibbutz on the weekend.

It’s discomforting living with so many strangers within the intimacy of a closed community.  It’s clear that their only purpose is to earn a living, while our purpose is to try to pretend that everything is normal, pastoral

and digestible.

It’s not. It’s living with continued interruptions, daring not to leave a door unlocked, or items outside, for fear that they won’t be there upon our return from work.

But here we are. The Security Ministry has ordered these structures to be built, and with the continued atmosphere of periodic qassams and perhaps worse, we await the moment when our lives can pick up out of the ever-present dust and pruned tree branches, noise of drills, saws and tractors, and get back to the idyllic peace and quiet and simple smell of cow and chicken manure that we call home.

More news was available when the Air Force struck weapons facilities in Gaza. Read the article below:

IAF strikes two targets in southern Gaza Strip – Haaretz – Israel News.

Living in Otef Azza

Update: Brief acknowledgement of June 5/08 – Mortar attack on Nir-Lat

Saturday Evening, June 7th, 2008
Further to prior comments on Mortar Attack, June 5/08.
The death of Amnon Rosenberg, who was working in a paint warehouse outside of the main  Nirlat factory, has been covered in the press. He was most certainly killed on the spot, instantaneous, as much as can be determined.
His funeral on Friday was attended by hundreds. He was a well-loved member of Kibbutz Nirim and his absence will be sorely missed by his family and his community.
What hasn’t been spoken about is the identity of the four wounded.
These four wounded by the shrapnel were Bedouin workers. The driver of a truck is suffering from an extremely serious leg wound, but I haven’t any further details at the moment.
The foreman of the Bedouin crew was driving into the kibbutz in order to bring his workers home when the mortars fell.
He later came into the Kibbutz Dining Room in shock. The cooks did what they could to support him, attending to him, attentive to his words. When I arrived back from school, an hour or two later, and walked through the small smoking room annexed to the Dining Room, I saw him and two other Bedouin workers still shaken. 
The identities of these wounded haven’t been reported, nor had I read that they were Bedouin, so after having found this out today, I thought I’d post it here. – judih.
June 5/08
A neighbour of mine on the kibbutz, who works in the quality control lab of Nir-Lat, told me that Amnon Rosenberg had just called one of her co-workers to agree on a lunch hour, and that was that. She couldn’t believe she’d never see him again. He was always one of the first to greet her each day.
He is a beloved member of his kibbutz NIrim and also well-known to students at Ma’ale Habsor Regional School where he taught the Tractor Course.
There had been no ‘Red Alert’ warning. The ‘Tzeva Adom’ system generally  gives a 15 second warning before the landing of qassam rockets but doesn’t work with other forms of projectiles, though this is changing as we speak.
From ‘Ha’’ June 5/08:
Olmert hints major Gaza operation is imminent
Ehud Barak came to examine the factory soon after the attack. He offered promise that the warning system would be enhanced and that further protection would be forthcoming.
Today, Friday, June 6th, there is not much to add. The kibbutz was offering assistance to those feeling post-traumatic stress to any degree. Mostly, people are living their lives, back to normal.
This is not a new situation. Here and in this area, we’ve had qassams, mostly hitting open fields, and sniper shots at our field workers. All the settlements in Otef Azza are facing the same daily situations.
The only solution as I see it is to bring this area to a Peace Agreement. Death gets us nowhere.
–  Judih, June 6/08
Despite IDF operations in Gaza which killed a Hamas gunman early Friday and the looming possibility of a large scale IDF raid on the Strip, Palestinian terrorists persisted with their rocket and mortar shell attacks on southern Israel.
On Friday afternoon, a Kassam rocket landed near Sderot’s Sapir College, damaging six cars. A second rocket landed in the town, one hit an open area and a fourth apparently landed in the Eshkol region, although it was yet to be found. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Earlier, nine mortar shells slammed into the western Negev, one damaging a building near a kibbutz in the Sderot area. No one was wounded in the attacks.

The barrages came moments after Amnon Rozenberg, who was killed Thursday by a Gaza shell that hit the Nirlat paint factory at Kibbutz Nir Oz, was laid to rest at the kibbutz cemetery.


May we have a quiet weekend and a Happy Shavuot.




Living in Otef Azza

Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day in Otef Azza, by Esther Revivo Yerushalayim in Azor Otef Azza

by Esther Revivo,

Sunday eve., June 1/08


Life is made up of cycles, whether it be the seasons of the year, or less pleasant things. Take today, erev Yom Yerushalayim: Last year, our Ulpana bussed our Sederot pupils to our school’s evening celebration. Ten minutes before the girls boarded the bus, (they were milling about around the area, about 15 meters away,) the siren ‘color red’ sounded. The hysterical girls did what they had been taught NOT to do. Instead of running to to crouch by the nearest building, they all ran onto the bus screaming and lay down. The kassam landed EXACTLY where they had been standing seconds before!!
On the way home after the program, once again the dreaded siren went off. The already traumatized girls had to get off the bus and stood near the wall next to the town’s swimming pool into which another Kassam landed, just meters away. Thankfully the cement wall they stood behind shielded them from shrapnel. Needless to say, these girls’ fathers all said the ‘Ha’gomel’ prayer (that one says when his life is saved) the following Shabbat.
Today, exactly one year later, these girls had a miserable morning. For, until now, our Sederot pupils have seen  the 5-8 school hours spent at Ulpanat Tzvia Sedot Negev as a break from the tension filled hours they know at home. At about 8.30 during morning prayers, I was with my 8th graders, half of whom live in Sederot proper. The sirens in Netivot went off as they did last Shabbat. ALL the pupils were hysterical, but the girls from Sederot more than others. It broke my heart.
 We all crouched down under the tables, and I was yelling out a perek of Tehillim. In the end, one rocket landed in Netivot and the other (for the first time,) landed in Moshav Ma’agalim. These rockets are steadily creeping to the south towards Beer Sheva. It took a long time for the girls to calm down, as this was a sad milestone. The end of safety during at least part of their day to day lives.
Esther Revivo
Ulpanat Tzvia
Sedot Negev