Living in a border community

Living in a border community:

  • is staring at the gates surrounding the Moshav and especially the new ones build with shiny glittery barbed wire on top.
  • is enjoying the best possible view with white sand dunes all bright in the sun and a blue sea simmering in the back.
  • is listening to the call of the Muezzin from Gaza and realizing that you are subconsciously using it as a time telling device.
  • is slowly getting to know more people in a small and real cool community and getting all giddy about it.
  • is seeing the soldiers in full gear and huge guns and all and, since you’re from Europe, trying to play it cool whilst you are desperately trying to suck your eyeballs back into their sockets.
  • is keep on making pictures from the awesome sunrises and sunsets and only when flipping through them on your camera you realize that they look a lot alike. Good to stay in awe of the same old same old.
  • is waking up to the hysterical barking of your little dog only to see a pack of huge Moshav dogs round the corner and come to your house because they spotted you and would like some attention.. not today guy’s. Not today.
  • is never and I mean NEVER getting enough of the abundance of colorful trees, various flowers and luscious fruit trees all over the Moshav.
  • is making sure that your kids are fine and continue to sleep when the code red hits.
  • is getting used to poisoned spiders (really ??) and scorpions and snakes and have one of those bite your dog, making your husband scramble for a night duty vet in Ashkelon.
  • is closing the curtains when it is getting dark because you are lucky enough to live near the top of the hill, with a wonderful view on the white dunes and the sea to the right and the apartment buildings and houses from Gaza to the left. If you can see them, they can see you and you do not want to become a focal point from a hamas member lying somewhere on a rooftop and aiming a rocket at that little light on the hill. If that is even possible? I wouldn’t know, but ain’t taking chances here.
  • is having your kids get back from school and be alone in the house for a while, knowing this is perfectly safe.
  • is seeing your kids running all over the place and having a ball and not have to worry about dangerous traffic.
  • is watching your kids walking with backpacks on their tiny backs to the bus stop whilst loud explosions are sounding from Gaza and they do not even stop bickering about who’s first for what event and so on, for a second.
  • is leaving for work and not bothering to lock your door.
  • is listening to the eerie sounding yapping concert of the jackals roaming the fields. Took me a while to figure out that those were actual jackals.
  • is walking the dog at six in the morning and hearing a sound check coming from Gaza which results in a rally at 6.30, amplified by loudspeakers in which I can clearly make out every word if only I spoke Arabic. Still… Yehudi and Israeli are comprehensible even in Arabic and so is the mocking song following that…
  • is seeing how a close community steps up the plate and helps out someone caught between a rock and a hard place. No questions asked, straight from the heart.
  • is watching the cars pile up on the street and driveway whenever someone passes away and everyone brings busloads of food, love and attention.
  • is getting pulled over by two soldiers at the gate, looking for a ride to Ashkelon. Watch, secretly, in awe as they fold themselves and huge bags and big ass guns into your tiny battered car. Only to find that one of them is American which enabled me to have a real nice fluent (!!) conversation during the ride…
  • is reading on facebook about “stray” bullets shot from a training camp from the hamas, hitting the Synagogue and breaking through the glass. You realize that those bullets have been passing quite some distance into the Moshav, passing houses and people on their way, to get to the center and hit the Synagogue.
  • is, not long after the Synagogue incident, get an alert to stay away from the windows, only to find out that another house, not to far from you, had bullets from the same hamas training camp, flying into their house whilst everyone was inside. No one got hurt, the young children scrambling to the shelter (and the children in this area are very good at that. Even the very small ones…), but this time Israel did retaliate. A warning strike at a site in the camp. Meanwhile, bullets through the window are added to the list in the back of your head
  • is having your children roaming the Moshav and especially your six-year-old son with a taste for the naughty. And when you do finally start to get worried because already dark and well past the “normal” coming home hour, you paste a message in the what’s app group from the mothers in the Moshav and within a minute you know exactly where your little boy is…
  • is leaving the window and safety shutters in the safe room open for fresh air because this is where two of your kids are sleeping. There is no time to wake up 3 kids and get them to the shelter in time when the red alert hits, so at least two already sleep there. Waking up in the middle of the night and run back to the kid’s room to close the window… rustling and scurrying sounds of the nightlife just outside your window making the hamas tunnels at the back of your head suddenly jump to the front of your consciousness in the dark of night.
  • is having your children eat candy for quite some time after Poerim because this wonderful lady brings all the candy she got to your house… almost enough to feed an army
  • is walking outside with flip flop’s and stopping every so now and then to pick  real nasty thorns, called kotsiem out of your soles… they go right through. Very matter of factly, exactly as your kids do when they stop mid play to pull them out…. and continue playing…
  • is welcoming springtime with the flowers and blooming trees and bushes accompanied with all the little bugs and ants suddenly appearing in your house out of nowhere.
  • is having a clear sight on the huge wall surrounding a neighborhood from the Moshav, to protect it from sniper fire and worse. Build after snipers from Gaza were aiming at the school bus that makes his route in that neighborhood.
  • is getting some yellow paper… with an incomprehensible notification and questions. After the landlord’s wife stops by, you learn that this is a questionnaire to make sure that your whereabouts are known when the next war will break out.
  • Is taking guests to a section of that big protective wall that is transformed into a peace proclamation with loads and loads of awesome ceramic little art pieces. Because such is the live in a border community: the longing for peace or the need for some kind of solution,is more “in your face” when you are facing (and hearing) Gaza on a daily basis. IMG_20150718_184714 IMG_20151123_230846 IMG_20151123_230611
About the Author
Jolanda Turgeman is married and has three kids ( 6, 7 and 9 years ). She is not Jewish but her husband is. Together they lived in Holland for some 8 years through our marriage before deciding to move to Israel. Love for Israel first hand from a newbie with no historical ties to this magical country.
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