Kibbutzim Provide Shelter to Those in Range of Rockets

The Kibbutz Movement has implemented a plan to host families from 26 kibbutzim within rocket range of the Gaza Strip. Most of the host kibbutzim are in northern Israel.

The movement has asked kibbutzim to host families and individuals, noting that the hosting plan was successfully carried out during the Second Lebanon War when residents of kibbutzim in the Upper Galilee were evacuated southward out of Katyusha range.

By the weekend a number of families from Kibbutz Kfar Aza had been moved to kibbutzim Nir David and Ma'aleh Hahamisha. Some 80 teens from kibbutzim Zikim, Carmiya and Yad Mordechai arrived yesterday at a boarding school at Kibbutz Mishmar Ha'emek where they are to stay for two nights.

Over the weekend a group of HaShomer Hatzair World Movement youth participating in a program at Kibbutz Holit were also being hosted at Kibbutz Mishmar Ha'emek.

Seven volunteers from Kibbutz Nir Oz and Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha were also among those who sought a place out of rocket range.

Other kibbutzim hosting kibbutz families from the south included Shefayim, Geva, Merom Golan, Maoz Haim, Sdot-Yam and Barkai. The kibbutzim of the Jordan Valley were also preparing to take in dozens of families.

Shlomo Glazer, the secretary of Kibbutz Nir David, said: "This is one of the times when we are tested. Now it's our turn to help."

Eran Glick, head of tourism at Kibbutz Merom Golan, called the hosting of people from the south "an expression of Israeli solidarity."

According to Yael Bargil-Bezner, secretary of Kibbutz Mishmar Ha'emek, "We are ready to host families even in members' homes. We put up an announcement and the response was heart-warming. This is the kibbutz at its best, people really want to help." Meanwhile, Bargil-Bezner says 22 families have volunteered to help but only one family in need has arrived.

Ze'ev Shor, secretary of the Kibbutz Movement, said there is constant communication between the kibbutzim in rocket and mortar range and those who have "adopted" them, with the latter ready to step in whenever the need arises.

"We believe that the comradeship among kibbutzim shown by the hosting of kibbutz members in range of the Hezbollah enemy in the north and Hamas in the south will come to the fore again if needed," Shor said.