Kassam rockets at the Sderot Police Department

Gaza Border

Courage and Determination
along Israel's Gaza Border

This website is dedicated to those individuals who live in the Sderot, Israel, area, and are within range of the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza in the past several years.
 

February 16, 2008
Welcome to Kibbutz Nir-Am

In deciding to spend a month near Israel's border with Gaza, I looked at several possibilities. One was to stay in Sderot, the city struck by the most rockets. Another was to stay at Kibbutz Nir-Am, which is between Beit Hanun, the primary source of rocket fire, and Sderot, the target. Through the internet I contacted two people on Nir-Am, and set up the rental of a small and inexpensive apartment for one month.

But arriving here on the night of February 16, 2008, I quickly realized that the two people I contacted were a large portion of the people on the kibbutz fluent in English, and one of these two contacts was unavailable. So because my Hebrew is not good (an understatement) I thought I had made a mistake and was planning to move over to Sderot. That's when I was "rescued" by the family of Uzi and Marcell Bar-On.

Marcell, originally from South Africa, had made a speech in Chicago which I had read and which was part of the motivation for me to come to the Sderot area. And since I have arrived here, her family has graciously taken me in, included me in their Shabbat meals, let me go along on field trips, and overall made my trip a remarkable experience.

Their life seems so normal and happy that at times I forget that at any moment a rocket could fall into their house and explode.

Marcell and Maya
Mayan (left) and Marcell Bar-On. Within 24 hours of this photo being taken, a rocket fired from Gaza fell within 80 feet of their home. Another rocket has fallen within ten feet of their home while
their children slept inside.


kassam strike on Kibbutz Nir-Am
The Israeli military removes an exploded rocket which landed near homes in Kibbutz Nir-Am.
The photo at the top right of this page was taken March 1, 2008, around seven p.m. The next day, at around 5 p.m., a kassam
launched from Gaza landed within 80 feet of the Bar-On home, the second rocket to hit near them in the past two weeks.


kassam
This rocket hit and buried into the ground before exploding.
When it is not the rainy season which causes a softer ground,
the rockets explode on impact.


Kibbutz Nir-Am is a small community. With only about 200 residents, plus students from Sapir who get special discounted rental rates, Nir-Am does not have the wealth of many other kibbutzim. However, it does have extensive farmlands, and a factory which makes excellent cutlery.

Sderot is walking distance from Nir-Am, and can be reached in about 20 minutes walking, or a few minutes by car. This nearness to Sderot has been a mixed blessing, since when rockets fired at Sderot fall short they land on Nir-Am. Over ninety have fallen inside the housing area, and hundreds more have fallen in the fields.

This small kibbutz has several pleasant neighborhoods, and on days when the rockets are not falling, it is a comfortable and friendly environment.