Lull ends, rocket fired from Gaza – Israel News, Ynetnews


A Qasam rocket landed in our area last night – the first since Passover in April.   We’re safe, here, but it landed near some friends on a nearby Moshav.

As the mayor, Haim Yelin says in the article: We’re not surprised – rather we were surprised by the relative quiet until now.





Lull ends, rocket fired from Gaza – Israel News, Ynetnews.

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.


Grad rockets land in western Negev, four treated for shock – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Grad rockets land in western Negev, four treated for shock – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.


This headline greeted me this morning. First thing this morning I heard a crack of thunder, a boom that resonated but so clearly wasn’t the boom of a qassam. Then, this headline. A qassam (rocket) was fired from Gaza last night, and mortar fire hit Netivot (where I was studying) and Ofakim, the city 15 minutes from here.

Peace is felt except for the moments which remind us that war is a constant undertone.

Check out the link for details.

– judih

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.

Kibbutz Nir Oz, January 4th update + evening update

Operation Cast Lead – Ground Forces enter

We were all told to prepare a bag. A bag to carry us for up to 48 hours in a bomb shelter. Our municipality website told us, our shelter rep called us and then we got a text message from the kibbutz head of security. So, I had a bag ready. What was in that bag? First I put in toothbrush and socks, then I put in wheat crackers and apples. A towel. What to have ready for a sudden leap to the shelter? Who knew.

Then we got a text message saying that we could hold off from jumping into the shelter just yet. Protected structures were enough.

So, we sat listening to the tune of boom, boom, boom in the distance – our tanks, our artillery, no Tzeva Adom so, we figured we weren’t hearing qassams. Eventually, we went to bed. Our daughter chose to sleep on the living room couch just outside our bedroom.

I fell asleep, then awoke. It was only 12 midnight. Grateful that I was still in bed, but listening to those never-ending booms never ending, my mind leaped to all of my last year’s Yod Bet (grade 12) students, possibly in the field now, with helmut and camouflaged face. I tried to relax.

 Boom. Boom.

I woke up again, peered at my cell phone – 1:00? G was awake, so he tried his luck in the dark and came up with 4:00 a.m. Far better. We’d almost made it through the night. On a regular day, he’d already have been at work, but today is different. There are far fewer people on the kibbutz and the amount of food to be prepared today would not require such an early start.

It’s now 5:23, and I’m about to drink the coffee I wanted back at midnight. The house shakes with the booms, but the news says nothing about what’s going on in this immediate area. TV news will be renewed only at 6:00 and I don’t want to listen to the radio for fear of waking up my daughter.

I’ll check in later. I’m safe. Hope you’re safe.

Judih, 5:30 a.m.

Evening Update: 17:08

The morning was peacefully sunny. I could hear the occasional boom, with no Tzeva Adom, which meant that it came from the Israeli forces, or that it was mortar fire (for which there is no warning system) or that it was a qassam and the warning system didn’t work.

In any case, it was quieter than usual for which I was grateful.

Telephone Circuit

On the telephone circuit, I dealt with my friend staying in Yafo, wanting desperately to come back home to the neighbouring kibbutz, but not knowing if it was the right time. She was mulling it over.

Relief comes in bizarre guises

Another friend was noticeably relieved that the ground forces had entered and that she no longer had to worry about when they would do so. The worry, the fear, the dread can take a sane person and push them towards the freak-out point.  Reality, no matter how dire, can often prove easier than one’s imagination.

Can’t Live There, Can’t Stand not Living There

A third friend, located in Jerusalem, was sympathetic, wanting to hear how I was coping. Her children, having lived here till last summer, were pulled in two, happy to be away from the area while longing to be with their friends to make sure they were safe.

Bomb Shelter Life

My parents called to find out how long I’d been sleeping in a bomb shelter. As the News puts things, that people in the South have been ‘living in bomb shelters’, so a friend of theirs decided that I, too,  as an Otef Aza dweller was living in a bomb shelter for most of the past year. Well, first I have no bomb shelter in my house. If I had, I imagine I would have popped in and out of it quite a bit, but the fact is that last night was the first night ever that people on Nir-Oz were told to be prepared to go into the community shelters if word came from the Army.

So,  how did these phone conversations end?

One friend will remain in Yafo. Another enjoyed her second wind till she found out that one soldier has been killed and another critically wounded, the very thing of which she was most fearful. The third friend’s children will have a chance to re-meet their kibbutz friends as the Otef Aza kids will be taking a break in Jerusalem for the next few days. And, finally, my parents now know that I’ve yet to sleep in a bomb shelter.

Watching the qassams

While walking, G and I saw some qassams take off, pre-empting the  Tzeva Adom alarm, first from Nir-Lat and then from the separate Nir-Oz  system. We then heard the whirling propeller of the rocket and saw it land within the gates of the Kibbutz.

Not a great thing to witness, but there we were. When outside and faced with the Tzeva Adom alert, one is advised to lie down with hands over your head. This prevents injury from flying shrapnel if the rocket should land close by. However, if able to watch the sky to see where the rocket is landing, you get a far safer feeling than being inside, unable to see, blindly counting the seconds after the Tzeva Adom alarm is sounded.  I’m not recommending rocket hunting, I’m just stating a truth. It’s an incarcerating experience to be shut into a small space waiting to see if the boom comes close by.

Sometimes, it’s better to look. We were quite far from the explosion but seeing it’s landing location, we were able to advise the Kibbutz Security Head of where to look.

update: The qassam we witnessed landed just outside of our chicken house. One man was wounded lightly by shrapnel. Further update: Another man was wounded as well. The two of them crouched down in place when they heard the Tzeva Adom warning. A third man lay flat out and suffered no injuries. Again, following the orders of Pikud HaOref  (Homefront Command) is the best thing to do in times of emergency.

We’re going to the Kibbutz Dining Room.

Dinner’s at 6:53 p.m. tonight. Tomato soup. We’ll bring along some of our home-made bread to eat with avocado.  There will probably be very few diners this evening. Our kids are off the kibbutz. The workers who are building the new Ma’ale Habsor/Habsor High School have stopped sleeping on the kibbutz since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead. And the volunteers also were encouraged to go.

So, I’m wishing you a good evening. Hoping you’re safe.

Massive rains this week in the Negev

It was all summer all the time:

Construction reaching soccer field

Construction reaching soccer field

Eshkol teams still practise here

Eshkol teams still practise here

Lots of rain for a few days

Huge downpours knocked out my telephone line for a while, but didn’t stop the construction at Ma’ale Habsor.

Some new shots:

Walls are growing

Walls are growing

One five p.m. shot

One five p.m. shot

What’s new?

  • Sederot has been qassamed once more.  There was no damage reported.
  • American elections are rocking the thought waves. What’s going to happen November 4th? We’ll all stay tuned
  • Music was the main event at InDNegev – a lot of English was being heard, as I was told English is the sound of ‘indie’. The Giraffot are a fine exception and sang to the full capacity crowd in Hebrew.
  • Let me know if you were there. What did you think?
  • Excuse the lack of posts recently but a back to school brain has left me a little drained.

Will return. Have a good weekend, all.

judih – oct 30/08

An Interview with Avital Shalev, student and artist

Look up

no problemsafe

Pictured above is an art installation, the final art project of a student at Ma’ale Habsor Regional High School. I asked her if I could interview her about her work.

An Interview with Avital Shalev

Judih: Avital, hi. I’d like to interview you about your art project installed in Ma’ale Habsor High School.

First, how old are you?

Avital: Almost 18

J: Where do you live?

A: Kibbutz Be’eri

J: Tell me about your art project. How would you describe it?

A: The physical description? Okay, to begin, the foundation is a kind of protective shelter, which has drawings on it.  And on top are colourful umbrellas.

J: How did you get the material to do it?

A: The shelter was already there. And to get umbrellas,  I put up notices on the bulletin board in Kibbutz Be’eri and in the Youth Clubhouse, asking for people to donate old, broken ones.  I had a basket ready to collect whatever might come. I got most of the umbrellas from my kibbutz. Some I got from school and then I had to buy  about five umbrellas,  but only five!

J: How did you get the idea?  

A: Okay, that’s the funniest part. I was in my art history lesson and it was mid-winter. And I saw my teacher’s umbrella in the corner of the room. I looked at it and rdecided I really wanted to do something with umbrellas.

I started to brainstorm on paper about umbrellas: what they meant for me, their purpose and how they protect us from the rain. I jumped to the concept of protection against qassams and how the protective shelter and the umbrella were very similar in that they both help shield us.   And then I thought about protecting the roof of the shelter (which is open to the sky). The idea of the  falling umbrellas came as I started the actual work.

J: When did you start creating it?

A: Around February, 2008

J: How did you feel while you were making it?

A:  It was hard. Physically it was very hard to execute the idea . I had to get to the top of the shelter, holding the umbrellas, using a ladder that wasn’t high enough.

And also it was difficult to connect the umbrellas. At the beginning I didn’t know how to go about doing it. Finally I joined them on the ground and lifted up the whole thing. That was the hardest part, I think. But friends from the art department helped me.

The project is located  right beside the Grade 9 classrooms and the kids were always asking me questions, some of which that I, myself, didn’t know how to answer.

J: Can you think of any examples of questions they asked?

A: For example, a  girl asked me how my project would help the situation. I didn’t know what to say

and right at the beginning, one student asked me how I was going to do it. I couldn’t answer that, either! The kids were very sweet. 

Someone asked me why  all the umbrellas weren’t red, and I said it was because they were similar to people, small, big, light, dark, decorated with pictures or plain, and if I had chosen all red ones,  I would have lost that added meaning.

The use of naïve colours, that was also important to me. That choice was part of my statement.

J: How did you feel about the result, how it looked at the end?

A:  I was very satisfied. The responses of people made all the hard work worthwhile. It didn’t come out the way I imagined, it was more striking than I’d thought.

J: How did other people react?

A: I did the project before there was the Jerusalem demonstration of Otef Azza  dwellers. They used red umbrellas to demonstrate their point, so after that, people asked me why I hadn’t done them red.  But, as I’ve said, I chose my  colours for a reason.

And there were many other responses. That made me realize that the academic grade I might get for my work was not as important as people’s reactions. 

J: Can you remember any special reaction?

A: An art graduate came to our exhibit and told me and one of the teachers that my work was the one she loved the most.

J: Now, today, when you look at your project, after time has gone by and the colours have faded, what do you think?

A: Actually, in general, I was supposed to have taken it down, but then I spoke with my art teacher, Gladys, and we decided that we’d leave it up until they tear down the school* (scheduled to happen this summer) because they don’t bother anyone. So meanwhile they’ll protect the shelter.

J: And do you think the idea is any less relevant, today?

A: It’s still relevant. The work is very political. For example, the problem with qassams reallly has no solution and my work continues to show that nothing has changed.  There’s also added relevance in that there’s still no solution for Gilad Shalit.

J: Avital, do you think expressing yourself through the art has helped you to deal with things? 

A: Maybe. During the time that I was working on it, there were many qassams. I think doing this work helped me deal with that. But this particular piece is not about dealing with things but rather expressing a political statement about our reality.

J: Anything else you want to add?

A: I don’t think so.

J: Okay, thanks so much Avital.

A: Thanks, Judih.


*Ma’ale Habsor Regional School is being torn down this year and re-built according to the safety regulations needed for Otef Azza. The school will be united with Habsor High School (which is for residents of the Moshavim in our area.) As a result, the art studio will be demolished along with Avital’s installation.

Additional note from Judih

Avital lives in a kibbutz that has experienced a few direct hits of qassams. Her kibbutz, Be’eri, was the first of all the kibbutzim in the Ma’ale Habsor district that had qassams falling in residential areas last year and continuing this year, causing injuries, physical and certainly psychological. One such example can be found here.

Avital, herself, is also one of the most sensitive students I’ve ever taught, who’s come to know herself as she’s matured. Her artwork is especially dramatic in light of her personality and environment.

This particular piece of artwork has caused others to stop, look and experience something in a new way – a true measure of art, in my opinion.

If you’d like to contact Avital, herself, you may do so at her e-mail address:

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.




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

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