Kfar Darom / `In any event, we won'
The infant Amihai Yisrael became, at the time of his birth 18 months ago, the symbol of Kfar Darom. He was born to Hannah Barat one day after Ariel Sharon's announcement of the disengagement plan. The birth was defined at the time as a "medical miracle": Barat gave birth to Amihai, her eighth child, after sustaining a spinal injury in a terror attack on the Kissufim road. She became paralyzed and has had to use a wheelchair ever since. Her daughter was also wounded, and has recovered. Another member of Gush Katif, Etty Fahima, was killed in the attack.
The terrorist who made Barat an invalid continued to fire for several long minutes until an Israel Defense Forces officer, Imad Fares, arrived and killed him. Today Colonel Fares is the deputy of Brigadier General Gershon Hacohen, commander of the Israel Defense Forces' evacuation division. Several days ago the two came to Kfar Darom. Scores of people circled them. Some of the tires on their car were punctured. A great ruckus started, until Hannah Barat arrived and in her hushed voice began to speak harsh words. Fares, who knows Barat well, preferred to move away. Gershon Hacohen remained and listened silently.
Barat appealed to Hacohen, by asking, "How does your Jewish heart allow you to commit such a crime and such an immoral wrong? To expel Jews from their homes? We came here on a mission of the governments of Israel. We built homes, lucrative industries; we made greenhouses bloom, we raised wonderful youth. We stood while mortar shells and Qassams and bullets showered on us, and bombs went off - and we didn't run away. Now you are turning us into refugees in our own land, and completing the work that the terrorists began and were unable to complete. You, Gershon Hacohen, are a courageous commander with many merits in the IDF, which is our army, but your true bravery will be if you tell your commanders: I will not participate in this wrongdoing, and give your keys back to the IDF."
A few days after this charged encounter, in her home and more relaxed, Barat says that the soldiers and policemen who come to evacuate her with her eight children will not encounter any violence. "They will encounter only spiritual powers, and determined people. They will see the power in spirit, but we won't show them corporal power. We will not employ physical violence, but I promise that anyone who dares enter this house will emerge mortally wounded in his heart and soul, and until his last day, his conscience will rebuke him and give him no rest."
Barat hasn't packed a thing. In her home, which was built to accommodate her disability, with large doorways and halls, business goes on as usual. She knows that the prayers and fierce faith of her and her friends may not be answered: "I'm not sure that God Almighty will do what seems right to us. As humans, our vision is limited. Sometimes God with his vision knows there are things that seem unreasonable to us, but in the long term, and with the hindsight of generations, they have rhyme and reason. In any case, we have proved to God that we have kept the commandment: "[And you shall love the Lord your God] With all your soul, and with all your might. With all our soul - many souls were hurt or killed here. With all your might - even with all our wealth. We have proved to God that money doesn't blind our eyes and we trust in him and cleave to him."
"In any event, we won," she says. "It wasn't terror that drove us out of our homes, and we didn't break down in face of the psychological warfare and delegitimization that [Ariel] Sharon's government tried to effect."
Five Kfar Darom residents were killed over the past 13 years in terror attacks: Doron Shorshan, Ephraim Ayoubi (near Kiryat Arba,) Miriam Amitai and Gabi Biton in the attack against the school bus, and Rabbi Shimon Biran, the settlement's rabbi. Dozens of others were wounded, the most famous of which were the Cohen children who lost their legs and returned to Kfar Darom after a long convalescence, to a home especially designed for their needs.
All of Kfar Darom's resident are facing the unknown. Behind the scenes an outside party is inquiring into options for resettling, but in the case of the Cohens and Barat - the uncertainty is double: both regarding where they will live, and the special arrangements they require to continue to function.