Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Bombs from my Backyard

Aharon Granot

Ten years ago this week, the residents of Gush Katif lived through a second Tishah B’Av as they were wrenched from their land in a drastic, controversial operation that was supposed to bring peace and calm to the Gaza region. Last summer, dozens of young people traumatized by the expulsion found themselves back — this time as soldiers fighting the terrorists who launched missiles and dug tunnels from the ruins of their former homes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It was Friday evening last summer in the Gaza Strip, and the echoes of explosions were replaced by the tense silence of yet another humanitarian ceasefire — the nervous quiet of uncertainty. As the setting sun painted the houses of Khan Yunis a golden orange, an IDF reservist named Chagai Locks sat in his tank at the outskirts of the town, hoping for a few hours of respite and to finally be able to contemplate his surroundings without (he hoped) fear of sniper fire or booby-trapped bombs. He’d grown up here, on the sand dunes of Gush Katif — was it really nine years since he and his family had been expelled, shoved onto buses before the bulldozers came and flattened their homes, their shul, and life as they had known it? Last summer during Operation Protective Edge, he returned for the first time — this time in an IDF uniform driving a tank, in the forefront of a military operation aimed at eradicating Hamas’s deadly tunnel infrastructure. Darkness descended over the Gaza Strip, as Chagai sat in his tank with challah rolls and a makeshift Shabbos meal and began singing “Kah Ribon Olam.” “Perok yas anach mipum aryevasa — Save Your flock from the lion’s jaws, and bring Your people out of exile,” he began translating for his nonreligious tank partner. “The zemer was composed right here in Gaza hundreds of years ago byRavYisraelNajarah,” Chagai explains a year after the war, and ten years to the week since the expulsion from Gush Katif. “As I looked out past the dim lights of the city, I could imagine my own childhood home just beyond, hearing the Friday night melodies wafting through all the open windows in a huge chorus. A decade later, it’s still mind-boggling to think how it all disappeared.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without