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Adele Raemer
Life on the Border with the Gaza Strip
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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
Born in the USA, Adele has lived in a Kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip since 1975. She is a mother and a grandmother living and raising her family on the usually paradisaical, sometimes hellishly volatile border. She moderates a FB group named "Life on the Border". https://goo.gl/xcwZT1 Adele recently retired after 38 years as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, as well as a teacher trainer and counselor for the Israeli MoE for EFL and a Tech Integration Coach. She blogs here about both Life on the Border, as well as about digital pedagogy, in "Digitally yours, @dele". She is a YouTuber, mostly on the topic of digital stuff. (https://goo.gl/iBVMEG) Her personal channel covers other issues close to her heart (medical clowning, Life on the Border, etc.) (https://goo.gl/uLP6D3) In addition, she is a trained medical clown and, although on COVID hiatus, until allowed back into hospitals, she clowns as often as she can in the pediatric ward in the hospital in Ashkelon. As a result of her activity as an advocate for her region, she was included among the Ha'aretz "Ten Jewish Faces who made Waves in 2018" https://goo.gl/UrjCNB. In November 2018 she was invited to Geneva by an independent investigative committee for the UN to bear witness to the border situation, and in December 2019 addressed the UN Security Council at the request of the US ambassador to the UN.
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