09 October 2008

Kibbutz Nirim

In the south, we stayed with Roni, the brother of Esti (a distant relation but extremely close friend of Esther's family), in his kibbutz, Nirim. Nirim is a more traditional kibbutz, maintaining more collective ownership and activities than Yehiam in the north. A small but important example of this is the fact that the communal dining hall still serves several meals a day, though you now have to pay a nominal fee to eat there.

What is perhaps most striking about Nirim, however, is its proximity to the Gaza Strip and the security implications that that has on life in the kibbutz. At only two kilometers (just over one mile, you could walk the distance in less than 30 minutes), you can see the low skyline of the strip. The kibbutz is surrounded by concertina wire and has strong metal gates that remain closed all day long. In addition to the entrances to the underground shelters, there are also above-ground emergency shelters every hundred yards or so, should you ever hear incoming rockets. The kibbutz is typically not targeted for rocket attacks, however, as they are generally aimed at the larger town of Sderot.

Walking in the fields surrounding the kibbutz, outside of the perimeter fence, you have the impression that you are in a perfectly bucolic setting. Not even over the horizon, however, is the Gaza Strip and its choking population density, desperate economic conditions, and unstable political situation. Once again, Israel shows itself to be a land divided, a contradiction in the most complete sense.

Travels - Israel - Kibbutz Nirim

No comments:

Post a Comment