25 New Reasons There’s Hope for Future in Israel

Human Rights Watch finally called Hamas’ firing on Israel a “war crime,”

however, a month after Operation Pillar of Defense,

 new rockets were launched toward Israel from Gaza that fell short.

As the year 2012 comes to an end, how about some good news?

Last week I got out of Jerusalem, Israel, and went south,

sign Gaza photo

    near the Gaza border, where the sign was only in Hebrew and Arabic.

Sign Kibbutz Alumim

Kinneret was kind enough to show me around Kibbutz Alumim,

field near GAza

whose fields are 4 kilometers from Gaza, which can be seen in the distance.

factory on kibbutz

Carrots from the fields are sorted in this factory,

bomb shelter

whose bomb shelter is at its entrance.

bomb shelter children playgournd

Another shelter is placed on the children’s playground

bomb shelter Israel

and all the housing has safe rooms added on.

cows photo

 Alumim also has cows and avocado trees,

sunset photo

and impressive sunsets.

Like a pearl that started from a grain of sand in the ocean,

in this seemingly unlikely place, and because of “the situation”

Mechinat Yonatan

a new program began called Southern Task Force-Yonatan

or Mechinat Yonatan, for Yoni Netanyahu.

Started last year by a few idealistic girls who found others on Facebook,

study group

this co-ed, religious group of 25 young people

are taking a year after high school to work on the kibbutz,

class room lesson

 study Torah, and volunteer in schools in nearby cities.

music photo

They get up early and work hard, but still find time to relax,

Israeli tank

and all of them plan to join the army next year.

With young leaders like these, I say we have 25 new reasons to hope

Mechinat Yonatan

 for a better future in Israel.

sunset

The young people I spoke with talked of wanting

to work the land, learn Torah, and make a difference.

As 2012 comes to an end, can you think of a better hope for the future?

To see more photos, click HERE.

Storm Clouds over Jerusalem

Tzeva Adom, Color Red, another rocket is headed to Beer Sheva,

it was actually quiet on the radio for a couple of hours, 

but the flood of rockets from Gaza into Israel continues.

Schools are closed in much of the south, two were hit today,

 children are kept home.

 Hamas wants to provoke Israeli soldiers to cross the border.

On day 6 of Operation Pillar of Defense,

Knesset in fog

the grey sky over the Knesset in the morning was eerie,

not like the regular fog.

storm clouds,

Storm clouds come and go over Jerusalem, Israel, but with no rain.

There was a siren Friday night that sent neighbors

running into their stairwells.

People are going about their routines,

trying to keep calm & keep going.

For those who would “like to do something” 

my friends at the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin

are in need of donations now to buy warm clothing

for lone soldiers who have been called up and are waiting.

Everyone is waiting, just not sure what we are waiting for or when.

Operation Pillar of Defense  goes to day 7.

Disengagement, Six Years Later

In 1976 Yitzhak Rabin’s government initiated the establishment of Gush Katif.

From 10 original families, Netzer Hazani became an Israeli town in 1977.

For 30 years, thousands of hard-working Israelis made the desert bloom.

Gush Katif grew to 23 communities…until August 15, 2005,

 when they became homeless and had to leave their fields behind:

 everything in Gush Katif was destroyed.

And today where are they?

Travel the highway from Jerusalem towards Ashkelon

and there is a new sign directing you to Netzer Hazani.

On the left side of the road is a welcome sign to Yesodot, a moshav founded in 1948.

On the right there is a gas station which is closed for the holy Sabbath.

A beautifully landscaped fountain greets visitors;

 the sign warns to look, but not to enter.

A blue security gate opens

 

  to the new

 Netzer Hazani.

Six years after being forced from their homes in Gush Katif,

one house is near completion, while many others are still being held up by red tape.

For many reasons, most home plans are much smaller than the original ones.

The main hall of the community center

is under construction.

This is its new kitchen.

Meanwhile, construction of the synagogue

has been stopped due to lack of money.

Afternoon tea hosted by Anita Tucker in her new home is quite a treat….

well… on the site of their new home.

Today these formerly productive people are still trying to re-establish,

some on the land bought from the religious Moshav Yesodot.

 Nahal Sorek, does not look like a river in summer, but if you follow the road

you will find a recycled water pond, which serves as a haven for migrating birds. 

The irrigation ditches for the new Netzer Hazani fields are in place

and the fields are being prepared for organic produce and new hot houses.

The infrastructure is ready,

with plans set for the first stage of 130 families to move in by August 2012.

This sign hangs at the entrance of the new Netzer Hazani,

it is a reproduction of one made and hung by their children in Gush Katif.

The sign proclaims a full belief in God.

After the ordeal of the last six years…that is an accomplishment.

Disengagement was supposed to bring peace…land for peace.

Instead, Israel has been bombarded by

 thousands and thousands of missiles and rockets from Gaza.

The “tent city” protest which began in Tel Aviv is entering its fourth week

with ‘”building crisis” and “social justice” as its headlines.

Bus loads of people are trying to spread the protest to the “periphery”.

How many think of the 9000 people left homeless by the disengagement?

How many of the tent protesters have even heard of Yamit?

 

For more information  see:   www.netzerhazani.org