It’s Not Just About Fear, Bibi, It’s About Hopelessness

Nomika Zion, with an introduction by Avishai Margalit
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Rina Castelnuovo/Contact Press Images
Israeli children sleeping in a shelter near the Gaza border during rocket attacks after the targeted killing of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari, November 14, 2012

The following statement was written during the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip in late November by Nomika Zion, a member of Migvan, an urban kibbutz in Sderot, the Israeli city about a mile from the Gaza Strip border that has been a primary target of rockets launched from Gaza since the second intifada started in 2000. In 2008, fifty rockets a day hit Sderot, and in late December 2008 Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, leading to three weeks of armed conflict in Gaza.

The Migvan urban kibbutz was founded in 1987 by a relatively small group, most of whose members had been raised in the agricultural kibbutz movement. The first wave of residents of Sderot, which now has more than 24,000 people, came in the 1950s and was largely made up of Moroccans. A second wave came in the 1990s from the Soviet Union and from Ethiopia.

The members of the urban kibbutz in Sderot lead a communal life, handing over their incomes to a common pool that is divided equally between the families, whatever their contribution. They run a successful business providing high-tech services; according to the members, they do this and other work because it is personally fulfilling, and financial profit is not a priority.

Nomika Zion, who was raised in a rural kibbutz, is the granddaughter of Ya’akov Hazan, a leader of Mapam, the United Workers Party. A well-known figure in the history of Israel’s labor movement, he was committed to the idea of the kibbutz as a rural way of life. Nomika Zion is one of the founders of Migvan and a member of Other Voice (2008), a grassroots organization of citizens from Sderot and the region who call for a nonviolent solution to the ongoing conflict. Her letter to Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu translated here was first posted on the Web.

—Avishai Margalit

Sderot, November 22, 2012

This wasn’t my war, Bibi, and neither was the previous cursed war: not in my name, and not in the cause of my security. Neither were the boastful, theatrical assassinations of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari in November, and Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi in 2004, and Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin, and Al-Kaysi, and Shahada and Ayash—wicked as they were—these were done neither on my behalf nor for my security. Neither was the litany of Israeli military operations, packaged in deceitful language in order to soften the depths of their destructiveness: not Rainbow (2004), or First Rain (2005), or Hot Winter (2008), or Summer Rain (2006), or Cast Lead (2009), or the recent Pillar of Cloud.1

Never have I felt an ounce of security or peace when our planes passed over the skies of…


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