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.



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.

December 28th Update

It was a quiet night.

Though before the quiet night began we were offered beds in the protected Children’s Houses, at my friend’s house up north in Haifa and at another friend’s over in Meitar. We were also bombarded with text messages letting us know that all private kindergartens would be closed, that the Kibbutz kindergartens would be opened. We were told there’d be no bus service and then we were told there would be regular bus service.

In short, the text messages were coming fast and furious and for every new message, a litany of phone tones would come like a sing-song (All Along the Watchtower played by Jimi Hendrix on my son’s phone, Beyonce’s new song on my daughter’s phone, the theme from a fine old Australian series on my partner’s phone and my regulation nokia notification which is succinct enough to bring on adrenaline if the mood fits).

Not knowing what to expect next, we went to sleep wearing sufficient clothing to make a viable fast escape to the shelter outside across the path. However, when I woke up somewhere around 4:30 this morning, I was pleased to see that I was still tucked safely in my bed.

Now, reading the newspapers, I see that the army has been busy and I await some kind of sign that it’s good that I stayed at home instead of going to the English Teachers’ Conference in Be’er Sheva today.

I hope it’ll be great. Meanwhile, I think I’ll do some baking therapy and whip up some carob chocolate muffins. If they succeed, I’ll be back with a photo.

Good luck to all today.

update: 11:49 a.m.

Immediately after I thought about carob-chocolate muffins, we were told to go to the available shelters and stay there for about an hour. Then, came the signal to resume regular activities but to stay on alert.

The available shelter was once actively used as a rehearsal studio. There are a few chairs, a dusty couch and lots of egg cartons on the walls for soundproofing. I brought along my current reading book: The Devil’s Horn, the story of the saxophone written by Michael Segell, but I couldn’t get myself to sit down in that cold, dirty shelter.

Instead, I stood inside, close to the door, watching the green soccer field and listening for any sudden change in the birds regular patterns.

Back home, I muffin-ed

carob-chocolate muffins, (whole-wheat) by judih

carob-chocolate muffins, (whole-wheat) by judih

and resumed making my puppets (my large foam rubber spoken word faces).


foam rubber in process, judih

foam rubber in process, judih

puppet 1

puppet 1

puppet 2

puppet 2



December 28, 8:29 a.m.


update: 17:42

While walking outside the kibbutz today, we heard the “Tzeva Adom” call over Kibbutz Nirim. One qassam landed directly on a house; no injuries were incurred.

It remains quiet, but we’ve been told that Yuli Tamir, Education Minister, has instructed schools within a 20 kilometre strip of Aza to remain closed on Tuesday and till further notice.

Perhaps, we’ll be studying online. If so, I hope my students crank open their attention span to something larger than the regulation text message length.

Last night of Chanukah. May there be peace in our future.

Chanukah, 8th night, Chanukiah made by Zohar

Chanukah, 8th night, Chanukiah made by Zohar

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’aretz.com’ 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.