Adele Raemer
Life on the Border with the Gaza Strip

To help the hostages, make it personal

Every one of them is a universe. Don't let the individual get lost in the numbers. Do the research – tell their stories
Nirim people standing at the junction with others in Beersheva, every day from 5-6 pm.
Nirim people standing at the junction with others in Beersheva, every day from 5-6 pm.

My name is Adele. I have lived on Kibbutz Nirim, one mile from the border with the Gaza Strip, for the past 48 years. The only home I have ever known as an adult. It was there that I raised my children, buried my parents as well as my husband. It is where I celebrated the big joys and experienced the great sadnesses called “life”. Most recently, it was where I survived the October 7th massacre.

Today, together with the other members of the kibbutz, I am in Beersheva, refugees in our own land, until we can go home. Not all of the people from my kibbutz survived. Not all of them can be with us today in Beersheva. Many of my friends – people I know from Nirim as well as the wider Eshkol region of which we are a part – are still in terror-tunnel hell in Gaza.

I am not into the political protests – neither before Oct 7 nor now – not because of my political beliefs, but rather because I fear the divisions they cause. I do my bit in other ways. When I can, I go to stand at the junction in front of the Beersheva Theater, to hold the posters of our hostages – so that no one forgets. People stand there from 5-6 pm every weekday. I haven’t been able to join them often, but when I do, I do not just hold the poster. I talk to the commuters as they wait for the light to change. (As we say in Hebrew, “Ani choferet” “אני חופרת”.)

Since I know hostages personally, I tell the passersby about them. Last week I held Yagev Buchshtav’s poster. I told people how I watched him grow up since his parents are my neighbors from behind. I tell them how he is a talented musician and musical instrument maker. An artisan. I tell them about his love Rimon and how they are inseparable, how they were torn from their home on Nirim, their family, their beloved pets by the monsters on October 7th. I tell them how Yagev is still wallowing in the bowels of Gaza, and turned 35 there, alone, without his loved ones, in fear of death every day. People listened. They empathized. One man started crying and offered me sweets. They were all supportive.
Rimon Kirsht Buchshtav and Yagev Buchshtav were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Nirim (Courtesy)

Yesterday, I held Nadav Popplewell’s poster. I told people about Nadav, that I watched him grow since I came to Nirim – he must have been about 4 years old. I was his teacher in high school. I pulled a prank on him once, when he fell asleep during our lesson in the days when our students used to eat in the school dining room. When the time came to go have breakfast, I told everyone to get up quietly, so as not to wake him. (He DID wake up in the end, and had breakfast.).

Nadav Popplewell, abducted by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Nirim (Courtesy)

I told people how he and his mother, Channa, had been brutally abducted together on October 7th, just a few houses away from mine, while his brother Roey had been slaughtered on the other side of the kibbutz, how Chana had been released in late November after being with him for over 50 days, and is now waiting for his return together with her daughter, Ayelet. I showed the picture of the cake that Channa had made for Nadav’s 52nd birthday, which he marked yesterday in the terror tunnels of the Hamas. Under the picture, she wrote: “Darling Hang in there. I am waiting and missing you so much. Love from your Mum.”

“Darling Hang in there. I am waiting and missing you so much. Love from your Mum.”
Again, I got lots of support – mostly, aside from the guy who blamed “us people” for the fact that they are not coming home (apparently he is one of those who believes that the families should just be quiet, and not talk about them so that the Hamas will think we don’t really care). On the other hand, a Bedouin man behind the wheel told me that his brother had been murdered at the Nova on October 7th. I told him that we are sorry for his loss and that all of Israel are in this together. Our country mourns all the losses, regardless of religion, political background, or other personal orientations.

If you hold someone’s poster, make it personal. If you do not know anyone who has been kidnapped or murdered (and I hope you do not) learn about the person. Take ONE person and learn a bit of their story, so that you can share it with others, preferably not one of those who are high profile already, and help raise their voices. Because they can not. Because these people are so much more than statistics and names and pictures.

Because each person is a universe in him and herself, and we have 134 universes captive in Gaza, 179 days.

About the Author
The writer (aka "Zioness on the Border" on social media) is a mother and a grandmother who since 1975 has been living and raising her family on Kibbutz Nirim along the usually paradisiacal, sometimes hellishly volatile border with the Gaza Strip. She founded and moderates a 13K-strong Facebook group named "Life on the Border with Gaza". The writer blogs about the dreams and dramas that are part of border kibbutznik life. Until recently, she could often be found photographing her beloved region, which is exactly what she had planned to do at sunrise, October 7th. Fortunately, she did not go out that morning. As a result, she survived the murderous terror infiltrations of that tragic day, hunkering down in her safe room with her 33-year-old son for 11 terrifying hours. So many of her friends and neighbors, though, were not so lucky. More than she can even count. Adele was an educator for 38 years in her regional school, and has been one of the go-to voices of the Western Negev when escalations on the southern border have journalists looking for people on the ground. On October 7, her 95% Heaven transformed into 100% Hell. Since then she has given a multitude of interviews. She has gone on four missions abroad in support of Israel and as an advocate for her people. In addition to fighting the current wave of lies and blood libels about the Jewish state, she is raising money to help restore their Paradise so that members of her kibbutz can return to their homes on the border, where they can begin to heal. If you wish to learn more about how you can help her and her community return home, please feel free to drop her a line.
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