Kibbutzim suffer substantial losses and trauma

A poster produced in honor of the 40th anniversary of Kibbutz Be’eri, 1986, with the silhouettes of the members of the kibbutz (from the collection of posters from the Yad Tabenkin archives)

Dear ICSA members,

Yad Tabenkin wishes to share with you the current painful dilemmas that the kibbutz community is facing right now. These are difficult questions about a community's continued existence and its ability to deal with an unimaginable event:

How can a community deal with the fact that 1 out of every 4 of its members has been killed, wounded or taken prisoner?

How can a community hold 100 funerals one after the other, when everyone knows all 100 dead?

If the community survives, how will it continue if all the young people from the neighborhood of young people have been killed? There is no next generation.

How will the community continue to exist when it currently has nowhere to return to?

If it is possible to return, how will the community return to a place where in every corner there is a memory of someone tortured, burned or murdered?

How does the individual in the community deal with the fact that eight of his family members are no longer in the community?

How do you treat an entire community that is in trauma?

How do the survivors come to terms with the guilt of surviving when surrounded by those that have lost loved ones?

Today we are facing these questions, and many more, after a terrorist attack the likes of which has never been seen before. Babies with their heads cut off, children and adults with their limbs cut off – tortured in cold blood, girls and women raped, babies and old people taken hostage, a quarter of the community that has disappeared and a physical place that has been completely destroyed.

We don't have the answers, but we are looking for a way.

We know that the kibbutzim on the Gaza border established exceptional cooperative societies, employing many workers from Gaza, who arrived every day, members who would regularly drive Palestinians to hospitals in Israel for critical medical care. The kibbutzim developed agriculture in the desert, built a unique culture and a liberal and democratic society.

Our hearts go out to the families of the dead, wounded, injured, kidnapped and missing from the brutal terrorist attack in the communities surrounding Gaza.

Our thoughts are also with all innocent lives affected, on both sides of the border.

As per Yad Tabenkin's mission, we will continue to tell the unique and extraordinary story of the kibbutzim and moshavim that for years have blossomed, dedicating their lives to contribution and meaning, and ultimately defending with their bodies the Hamas terror from the Gaza Strip.

We are asking for donations and support for the affected kibbutz communities through the Emergency Fund to Support Kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip.

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