Sometimes you have to get out of Jerusalem, Israel, to appreciate the view.
All this rain we have been having may dampen our spirits, but it is fabulous for making the countryside green.
From the roads leading out of Jerusalem the valley is at its best.
Once on the road south, you see flat land and wires stretched across it.
Farmers working between the rain storms along the way.
February and March, and southern Israel is famous for its red flower festival.
However, once again southern Israel has red alerts, not flowers.
The sign at Kibbutz Alumim was the same as on our previous visit in December 2012.
The electric security fence was opened carefully for our arrival.
The green fields of the agricultural kibbutz stretched into the distance.
But it you turned around, another sign warned of the Gaza border ahead.
From the fields of Kibbutz Alumim, the Gaza border and buildings beyond are clearly in view.
Because of missiles and rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel, these bomb shelters are situated next to the factory. Workers have seconds to get inside to safety when a red alert warns of an oncoming projectile.
Alumim has two Iron Domes positioned for protection from Hamas and its rockets.
Why live in southern Israel? It’s beautiful. Israelis have made the desert bloom.
When Hamas is not firing these missiles, it is a wonderful place.
Long time resident Esther took time to share with us a bit of her story.
Rafi’s house, and every home, has a bomb shelter bedroom. Sealed rooms have again become a necessity with nightly rockets from Gaza.
Twenty years living under fire from Gaza. Esther and others try to keep a positive attitude, to make music chimes from missiles.
Kibbutz Alumim had no red alerts when we were there last week, after a night of terror when a house in Sderot was hit. However, the newest round of red alerts included Alumim. The residents of southern Israel are weary, tired of red alerts, and want to go back to being known for their red flowers.