Daniel Meir is the Ravshatz (Coordinator of Community Security) of my kibbutz. Just four days ago, Red Alert incoming rocket sirens were keeping us running to our saferooms because of over 700 rockets that exploded throughout southern Israel, and our community, which is just two kilometers from the border. But Life on the Border is sometimes like a manic roller coaster ride, and since the 48-hour war ended a few days ago, we were able to celebrate Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror, and Independence Day, in the way we have done for the past 50 years in my community: by lighting a torch in our kibbutz’s original site of Dangur (near today’s Kerem Shalom border crossing) and running, biking, riding the 18 kms north to where Nirim of today is situated, just opposite Abbasan Al Kabir, Gaza.
Since things were still quiet, I caught him this morning, Independence Day morning, lending a hand in clearing up after last night’s festivities. I asked him a question:
Me: “The fact that this whole celebration was able to take place, is someting of a miracle, wouldn’t you say?”
Daniel: “Totally! And I have to admit, last night, during the fireworks, I was more than a little tense.”
“I wasn’t worried about the ceremony in Dangur or the torch run (despite all odds, there were masses of people running and biking parallel to the border).”
“We had IDF protection — over and above what we always had. Nor was I concerned about the festive dinner with live music that we had on the lawn, afterwards (there were at least 400 people). But the fireworks we had, less than 2 kms from the border…. that had me really concerned. This day, which for us is our marking of the miracle of the birth of our nation, in our homeland, for them (the Palestinians) is their tragedy, their trauma. Those fireworks, which are a celebration for us, are probably seen as a provocation on the other side of the border, and I couldn’t wait for it to finish already. Only then, could I breathe.”
He continued to explain to me that he believes with all his heart that Nirim is the safest place in the country. (Yep!!! You read right!!!)
“We have the IDF protecting us 24/7/365. We now have Iron Dome which destroys 99% of the rockets that are launched at us.” He then pointed to his biceps: “If someone is going to hit me, I want them to hit me here. This muscle is us, as opposed to the soft stomach of the rest of the country (Tel Aviv, other cities).”
Daniel’s predecessor in the job was Zeevik Etzion z”l, who was killed by a rocket, together with Shachar Melamed z”l, on the last day of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, while trying to reinstate electricity to our community which had been knocked out by an earlier rocket barrage on the morning of the 26th of August. Daniel was there that day, as well. He can be a controversial character, but when the sh*t hits the fan, I am more than grateful that he is in the ring with me. This guy is #myhero, for more reasons that just this. But even just this, is enough.