Tiyul to the South



Yesterday we went with the Moadon on a Tiyul to the South. First, we stopped for breakfast, then continued on to Kibbutz Nir Am located in the Negev a few kilometers from Gaza. From a hill on the kibbutz we could see Gaza houses clearly, easily distinguish their colors and shapes. Nir Am might be known to readers as the kibbutz Hamas terrorists tried to infiltrate through tunnels they built. Ten terrorists exited a tunnel that led into the gardens of Nir Am.  Waiting for them were Israeli soldiers who killed them all.

We returned to the bus and went on to The Black Arrow Site.

This Site was created to honor the memories of the boys and girls who were murdered by feyadeen during a three year period in the 1950s, and as an everlasting memorial to the soldiers who gave their lives to end the attacks. From the end of the War of Independence in 1948 to the outbreak of the Sinai campaign in 1956 hundreds of Israelis were killed and more than one thousand wounded in terrorist attacks inside the State of Israel.

Reading those numbers made me sad. Young boys and girls who had come home to Israel to live the Zionist dream.

“And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land; …” (Ezekiel 34:13).

”… And gather together the scattered of Judah/From the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)

I thought of my class at the Moadon. My teacher is from Russia. The women are from Yemen, Iraq, Canada, Iran. I’m from the United States. My husband has a friend from the Amazon in Peru. I met friends of my grandsons who are from Ethiopia. We’re from the four corners of the earth. We lead everyday lives but we’re fulfilling Biblical prophesy.

During last summer’s war, a facebook friend who I like very much chided me about the ‘poor Palestinian babies’ as if we were responsible for their deaths and not the Islamic terrorists who put guns and rockets in their bedrooms. Why didn’t she see it and say, “How horrible they are to put guns under babies beds?” Then there was the fellow who informed me that not enough Israelis had died.

Maybe it’s too much to expect strangers to understand that we’ve been fighting for the right to live quietly in our own land for 100 years. Maybe I should just throw myself on the ground and bury my head in the red calaniot (anemones).

Then it was on to Kibbutz Dorot, where we ate lunch and where they grow garlic and carrots.

Next we drove to the cemetery where Ariel and Lili Sharon are buried.

The walk to the gravesite is up a steep path. but Malka, who walked with her walker and I agreed that it was a once in a lifetime. We probably wouldn’t be coming this way again. The graves are simple with large rock headstones with the names of the husband and wife. Surrounding the graves are wild flowers and cacti and a wooden fence on the outer rim.

“The road is muddy, be careful,” one of the madriachs said to me on the walk down. Little stones and pieces of red clay helped but I dug my feet into the ground anyway and concentrated on the walk. I didn’t notice the golden retriever walking beside me until we were at the bottom of the hill. “That dog was at your side the whole walk down the hill,” one of the women who’d remained on the bus said to me. And I hadn’t even petted him. I felt sorry. When the dog left me he walked to the bus in front of ours. He watched the people descending as if he was waiting for someone. Why had he walked with me, I wondered. Then I remembered Little Bear, the Labrador Retriever we had in our early days in Israel. He was a stray. When we got him he didn’t bark. After a few days I noticed he was hoarse. So I boiled water, put a towel over his head and made him breathe in the steam. His bark came back. After that he was devoted to me. Was this dog sent by him?

Back on the bus the women began singing. Some speeches were made and then we rolled into Tel Aviv before it got dark.

moadon – senior citizens center, tiyul – trip, calaniot – anemone, feyadin – terrorists in the 1950s, madriah – social worker

About the Author
Born in the U.S., Lois Michal Unger made aliya in 1982. She is a well known poet in Israel and internationally. She is the author of 7 books including, White Rain in Jerusalem, The Glass Lies Shattered All Around and How Country Music Helped Me to Make Aliya, a novella. Her poems have been published in The Jerusalem Post as well as many literary magazines throughout the world. Her work and has been translated into Hebrew, Italian, Russian and Hungarian. Before making aliya she wrote a recipe column for the Chronicle newspaper in Vermont. Her latest book Back to Back: Two Poets Living Under One Roof is co-authored with her husband Elazar.