Resilience Amidst Ruins: A Journey Through the Gaza Envelope

I visited the Gaza envelope recently. My visit included a tour inside Kibbutz Be’eri. The events of October 7 have marked all Israelis. This visit left a profound imprint on my soul.

 

The extent of carnage and destruction was overwhelming. Standing there, I heard what could only be interpreted as echoes of a pogrom. In Be’eri, 100 houses—25% of the residences—were burnt to the ground, necessitating complete reconstruction. Another 100 homes suffered severe damage, requiring extensive renovation. Currently, the community resides in a hotel at the Dead Sea, unable to return to their kibbutz until their homes are restored. Understandably, no one desires to return to a place where death lurks at every corner.

 

Meanwhile, they will reside at a temporary site built from caravans in Kibbutz Hazerim near Be’er Sheva. Who will provide the hundreds of millions needed to restore their community? Unwilling to wait, they are actively raising funds, commuting to their businesses and farms daily to sustain what was built before October 7.

 

J., a member of the Kibbutz, was away when the attack occurred. Both he and his brother were part of the tactical response team. J. survived. His brother saved many lives. Then, he was murdered by Hamas terrorists. J. shared this without a waver. What can one possibly say in response?

 

At the end of our visit, a reporter inquired if J. believed there was hope for peace with the Palestinians. Worlds apart.

 

Recently, I recognized a familiar face on the news—a friend who served with me in the IDF. We had conducted stakeouts in Lebanon together. We lost touch over the years. His Kibbutz, Kfar Aza, close to Be’eri, also faced a brutal attack. His wife was shot, and together with their two children, they barricaded themselves in a safe room. They managed to keep the terrorists out. In the saferoom their children witnessed their mother die. They were trapped with her body until the IDF arrived 24 hours later. In Gaza, there were celebrations over the “successful attack” against Israeli civilians. 70% of the people of Gaza still support Hamas.

 

Recent polls indicate a sharp decline in support for Israel, with persistent calls for a ceasefire. Israel is experiencing a loss of international support. For obscure reasons, the people of Gaza gained global sympathy.

 

This attack has profoundly impacted the residents of the Gaza envelope and Israeli society at large. It represents an assault on the free, peace-loving Western world. The critical question is whether the Western world will recognize this in time.

 

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