About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view adeleraemer's profile
    Posted August 9, 2014 by
    Eshkol Region, Israel
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    New violence in Israel and West Bank

    More from adeleraemer

    Welcome Home - Part I


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Adele Raemer, an American by birth, lives on Israel's border with Gaza. She attended a dinner on Friday in Kibbutz Nirim on August 8 after 30-days of self-imposed exile. “People were so happy to see each other. [But] still sad that not everyone had returned yet,” she said. This dinner was days after Israel and Gaza ended their cease-fire agreement. There was a red alert, indicating incoming rockets just minutes before everyone was due to come to dinner, but they were able to enjoy their meal together. She says the situation in Israel is far from normal. “There is still shooting. So far today we have had two code red incoming alerts, and one mortar explosion,” she said. “It is still not a normal situation, but far from being the way it was during the hardest days."
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    I live on Kibbutz Nirim, less than a mile from the border with the Gaza Strip. Four hundred people usually live here.  The children of this community were moved to more secure places on July 9th, when the frequency of Hamas and Jihad rockets and mortars began falling at a rate that was just too dangerous to allow children to play outside safely. Indeed, it became dangerous for any of us to carry on with our normal life routines.

    After 30 days of self-imposed exile, the stage was set last night  - Friday evening - to welcome everyone home. A pool party was planned. Most of the time, the pool had been closed since swimming was an activity far too risky due to our mere10 second warning to take cover in case of rocketfire.Shirts were designed proudly stating “We won’t give up on Nirim!”, everyone pitched in to prepare food and plan the party.

    Then, the 72 hour ceasefire expired. And the Hamas resumed shooting.A pool party would be far too dangerous and exposed, so we changed our venue to a safer place, below our dining room, not completely safe, but at least less vulnerable.

    With the renewed firing, some of the families who had planned on returning, sadly changed their minds. It was simply not yet safe enough, in their minds, to return with their children. Everyone respected their decision, but other families chose to return. And despite the fact that there was a Code Red incoming missile alert, a mere 20 minutes before the festivities were set to begin, we came out in droves. The shirts will be distributed when the hostilities are truly behind us, but we went ahead with our collective Friday evening meal - happy to see neighbors whom we hadn’t seen in weeks.

    Note: If you look carefully at the first photo, we are almost (but not quite) back to normal. There ARE children playing on the swings again, but in the foreground of the picture, one of our residents is being interviewed by the online newspaper, Ynet. Not completely  back to normal, YET.

    To be continued…..

    Add your Story Add your Story