Wanted: A shelter from the shelter
"Here lives, unhappily, Marina. She has no food or money. Please help her." Thus reads the sign on the migunit, a cement shelter against Qassam rocket attacks. The sign bears the signatures of 42-year-old Marina Bneiheim's neighbors in Ofakim.
Bneiheim has lived in the migunit for the past five days - not because she fears the rockets but because she is unable to pay rent. Bneiheim was evicted from her apartment on Wednesday because the owner, who lives in Moscow, had not paid the mortgage. Marina had paid the monthly NIS 1,500 rent to a relative each month, from a stipend she received from the state.
"I have no money for food. I have to ask the neighbors. I do not even have a few shekels for the bus fare to the municipality," Bneiheim says in tears.
She has not had a shower for five days and when she needs to go to the bathroom she knocks on one of the nearby doors and asks to use the toilet.
"She is a miserable woman. She came to us and asked for some food. We gave her whatever we could and even called the welfare services, but no one came to help her," said Yossi Nissim, one of the neighbors.
Bneiheim divorced three years ago and her underage son stayed with her. She sent him to stay with friends for now. Bneiheim asked her ex-husband for help, but says he refused.
Bneiheim was laid off from one of the factories in Ofakim two years ago and has been unemployed since. Last month, she had to be hospitalized in Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital.
The Ofakim municipality says a social worker met with Bneiheim and brought her food for the weekend, and that the welfare department will provide housing for her and her family.