KIBBUTZ KFAR AZA, ISRAEL —
Israelis in communities lying close to the boundary with Gaza are trying to recover from the month-long conflict in which more than 3,000 rockets have been fired into Israel. Some have returned home, but they say they live in fear.
Workers at Kfar Aza repair a roof damaged by a rocket from Gaza. No one was hurt. Most families evacuated when the conflict started, leaving only a few to care for the place.
This community of 800 people was hit 15 times during the recent conflict. One man, the head of a local college, was wounded coming home from work. He heard the warning but did not have time to take cover.
Teacher Orit Tsadikevitch said when the siren sounds she has almost no time to get her four children into the safe room.
“In the middle of the night there is an alarm and I have 15 seconds, 15 seconds, to run to a shelter place, to the safety room, which is built out of concrete," said Tsadikevitch. "And I have to choose which children I’m going to take first.”
Nearby Sderot has been hard-hit since Hamas seized power in Gaza -- as can be seen by the rockets on display at the police station. Many residents are angry with the government, according to former mayor Eli Moyale.
“Because somehow people in this place are believing [that] probably the Israeli government cannot provide the security needed here,” said Moyale.
Meanwhile, back at Kfar Aza, workers continue the clean-up, one from a mortar shell.
Tsadikevitch was born in this community founded by her parents more than 50 years ago. She has lived here all her life.
“Now, it’s the first time in my whole 43 years that I live here in this kibbutz that I am thinking about leaving this place,” she said.
Tsadikevitch said this is the third war in six years, and that her children are showing the effects of the constant stress.
“We just don't know, and it's really sad to live life like this. So even if you see that nobody got killed, you get killed inside, every time, every alarm, every day. It’s not quiet. It’s killing us,” she said.
Community leaders also worry that the kibbutz production of farm and plastic goods could be affected if the cycle of violence continues.