At least one imperiled Israeli town is now inviting the public to learn about life on the frontlines at the farm community, Nativ HaAsara. This Moshav (a collective farm with privately owned homes) is right on the northern Gaza border, besieged with terror from above (rockets) and below (tunnels).
|Gaza City from Moshav Nativ HaAsara|
Up until 14 years ago, the farm employed Gazans, and Nativ Ashara residents traveled less than a mile to Gaza City for shopping and dinner. Since then, thousands of rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel. The moshav kindergarten is “rocket-proof,” bus stops serve as bomb shelters, and children go to school in blast-resistant buildings. When the alarm sounds, residents have three seconds to find shelter.
Though unsettling, the Moshav encourages the public to come and learn what it’s like to be barraged by up to thirty rockets per day (it’s been quiet since October, 2014 – a good thing). To add to the terror, rockets are packed with ball bearings to maximize injury, and one particularly chilling weapon was stamped with he phrase, “Shalom First Grade." “Where else in the world do kids think rockets are a normal part of life? Our life is all about running,” laments one resident. “A Mortar can hurt you even if it doesn’t hit you. It kills your soul. What’s it like for a child to be under 14 years of fire?”
|"We are simple farmers. We just want to live a normal life."|
Now, Terror Tunnels from Gaza; sophisticated, ventilated, electrified and some large enough to drive through are the new threat. The Israeli Defense Forces uncovered a plot to kidnap school age children from this Moshav as hostages. “They found syringes and rope in the tunnels.”
|Bus/Bomb Shelter: Three Seconds from rocket launch to impact|
There is a feeling that most people on both side of the conflict just want to be left alone in peace. To that end, one community artist began to decorate the “horrible wall that not only surrounds Gaza but surrounds us” with a beautiful “Path to Peace” Mural. One can only hope.
|Art on Security Wall: "Path To Peace"|