Family Affair / The Dadons

Meet the Dadon family from Moshav Revaya.

The cast: Yossi (42), Adi (42), Hadas (17), Shira (14), Uriah (10) and Snir (5). Not in the photo: David (19), a soldier ("in an elite unit").

The Dadons

The home: The house is two stories with white walls and a red roof, with no fence in front and Mount Gilboa in the back, under a gray sharav sky. Midday. A hot concrete walkway leads to a stone-covered elevated entrance. To the right and left are Doric columns and between them a panoply of pennants from Independence Day. We enter. The peach-colored foyer ("I painted two floors in two days" - Yossi) is a sort of junction.

Junction: On the right is an "Italian salon" which begins with a picture of the kabbalist Baba Sali; on the left is a "cherry wood kitchen"; and straight ahead is a table (for eight) bedecked with a white tablecloth. Behind the table is a decorative stone wall, followed by a TV corner and two rooms, one of which belongs to David, the soldier (when he's home) and the other to the computer, on which Uriah is now playing. Nearby is a staircase with a marble banister ("I installed it by myself" - Yossi), which ascends to the bedrooms and to a balcony that offers a general view and a view of the family property, in particular.

The property: Ten dunams (2.5 acres) adjacent to the house, 18 dunams farther off and a few shared dunams, inherited from grandmother Aishah. Yossi designed and built the house in 1996 ("I did everything except for the skeleton and the tiling"). We continue on the tour.

The tour: The living room has two-layered curtains (velvet, muslin), red sofas with carved wood, similar armchairs and a matching table. Adi hung the curtains and the sofas (bought second-hand in Beit She'an) were recently upholstered in Barta'a, an Arab village in Wadi Ara ("An upholsterer in Zichron Yaakov asked for NIS 7,500, but Ashraf did it for NIS 1,700").

Upstairs: The second floor has four rooms and a balcony. The parents sleep in one room, Hadas in another, Shira in the third, and Uriah and Snir share the fourth. The master bedroom has a canopied bed built by Yossi ("I saw it in the movies") along with a padded bench. We go out to the balcony.

The balcony: To the west is Mount Gilboa, to the east the hills of Gilead, in the middle is property A, with a barn and four horses (for riding) and a lean-to for the Volvo (S40). We go back downstairs. The dining table fills up with mufleta ("With us it's not just for the Mimouna," they say about the pastry, which is served on the traditional Moroccan celebrations marking the end of the Pesach festival), baklava, fruit and a strawberry-banana drink.

Livelihoods and occupations: Yossi is currently unemployed. Until a few months ago he worked at the Zuriel dairy farm (at the foot of Mount Tabor) as a shift manager ("I was apparently overqualified"). He is looking for a job in one of the local industries ("at the managerial level"). In the meantime, he takes care of the horses, works in the house and does not feel pressured by his joblessness ("absolutely not"). He says he turned down a few offers ("as night-shift manager"), gets unemployment insurance, will not try his hand at farming ("It requires a very large initial investment, and that is scary"), and meanwhile holds two public jobs as a volunteer.

Public jobs: He is chairman of the Moshav Revaya committee ("The whole management of the moshav" - cooperative farming village - "is done from this house") and a member of the regional council executive. In the latter capacity he is involved in talks with the Agriculture Ministry about adding land to the village - property currently in the hands of kibbutzim ("We're entitled to it - and without the additions we will collapse"). The local moshavim, he says, dominate the growing of "green herbs for export" in Israel.

Adi's occupations: She is in charge of the infants in day-care center at Rotem ("an ecological community") in the Jordan Rift Valley and works a six-day week (7-3:30), commutes in her Skoda Octavia ("a quarter of an hour without traffic jams"). She is concurrently studying caregiving on Sunday afternoons (in the regional council building) and is thinking about opening a nursery school in the future. She is also the community's cultural coordinator and was in charge of the Lag Ba'omer and Shavuot celebrations. The moshav, she says, is enjoying a resurgence, with many young people returning. Yossi: "No more properties are being sold here."

The children: Hadas and Shira have just finished the 12th and 8th grades, respectively, in a religious high school in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. Hadas will enter the army next February ("I never thought to declare [that I am religiously observant]," which would entitle her to an exemption). She wants to be a squad commander. Uriah is in the fourth grade in a school run jointly by a number of communities in the area, and takes trumpet lessons in the afternoon. Snir goes to a kindergarten in the village, commuting on a bicycle; he likes to play computer games.

Adi's bio: She was born in 1969 on Moshav Ahuzam in the Lachish region, the sixth of 10 children in the Ivgi family; they are a traditionalist family of Moroccan origin, which raised sheep for a living. She attended primary school and junior high on Moshav Even Shmuel, high school at Mikveh Yisrael ("in the religious section"), and an agricultural boarding school. She has fond memories of school and says it wasn't a problem to leave home ("My brothers and sisters also went there"). She did her military service as a wiring specialist in a navy electronics lab, lived in the Women's League House in Bat Galim, Haifa, where the base is located, and after her discharge got married.

 Yossi's bio: He was born on Revaya in 1968, the second of seven children. His parents are from Morocco, his paternal grandmother (Aishah) was the head of the household (her husband died before they immigrated to Israel) and she ran the family farm until the age of 80. His father, David, now retired, managed the village orchard; his mother, Masuda, still works at Beit She'an Regional Industries. He spent his childhood amid turkey coops and hothouses, and doesn't remember the War of Attrition ("I was very young"). After sixth grade attended a school in the religious youth village Kfar Hasidim, and completed his senior year in Kfar Sitrin, a technical yeshiva south of Haifa ("computerization and control"). He served in the navy as a radar technician and met Adi.

The meeting: They were both stationed in Bat Galim, he as a radar technician, she as a wiring specialist. It took them half a year to check each other out ("We were in the same social group"), and in the end "it all flowed." Adi: "His mother said that if I hadn't started up with him nothing would have happened." They folk danced at the Technion and went to movies (Chen Cinema). After her discharge she remained in Haifa, working for an electronics firm, while he returned to Revaya. Subsequently, with her father's blessing, she moved in with him ("Dad said, 'Go and live with your boyfriend'") and there was a wedding.

The wedding: It took place in November 1990, at the Yonatan Banquet Hall in the Beit She'an industrial area, with 600 guests ("My mother was the 'project manager'" - Yossi). Adi wore an "opaque dress" with a long train from Rosy's Salon in Tiberias, Yossi was in a black suit from Beit She'an ("which I've never worn since, other than when the council delegation went to Cleveland"); they got to the hall in a rented Subaru and spent their first night as a married couple in the Caesar Hotel in Tiberias. They then returned to the moshav for Shabbat hatan (when the groom is called to the Torah).

The births: All the children were born in Haemek Hospital in Afula, without epidural: Adi was fearful of side effects ("I preferred to suffer").

Daily routine: The Dadons get up at 6 A.M. Yossi prays at home ("The shift work took me out of the synagogue") and afterward is exclusively responsible for Snir (until he leaves for kindergarten ). In between he has a cup of tea (2 1/2 sugars). Adi washes, prays, goes to the grocery store for rolls and makes sandwiches with omelets, tuna and chocolate spread. She leaves at 7. During the school year, they all skip breakfast, except for Snir, who has to have dry cereal before setting out (on his bike). Hadas, Shira and Uriah have busing (separately) between 7 and 7:15.

Lunch: The children eat at school ("catering from Kibbutz Ein Gev with a magnetic card"), Adi eats with the teachers in the kindergarten's kitchen, Yossi heats up dishes prepared the evening before by Adi (couscous, patties, schnitzel, rice).

Evening: They have a dairy supper (pizza, pasta). The children go to sleep late (10-11 P.M.) and until then run around outside or are wired to the computer; Adi and Yossi are not concerned that they will surf forbidden sites.

TV: The program they all like best is "Survivor." Yossi and Adi retire at midnight and sleep well. The job situation is not giving Yossi sleepless nights.

Dreams: "A trip to Morocco with the children" - Yossi and Adi; "to be an architect in Jerusalem" - Hadas; "to be a doctor or nurse" - Shira; "to be a karate instructor" - Uriah; "to have a dragon to fly with" - Snir.

Household chores: Adi washes the floors, cooks and bakes; there's no maid, the girls help out. Yossi abstains ("but fixes everything without being prompted"). The horses (Keshet, Yam, Dolly and Dora) are tended by him, Adi and David ("the riders") and a little by Uriah ("who is learning"). The girls are not into it.

Peace agreement: "I won't give up a centimeter," Yossi says. "Respect them, but don't expect anything in return - that's from personal acquaintance."

Personal acquaintance: "You know what, on the other hand, only the Arabs cried when I was fired."

Summation: "In the end it will be what the Americans want." He does not plan to protest.

Happiness quotient (scale of 1-10): Hadas and Shir - 9; Yossi and Uriah - 10: Adi - 10 plus ("the social situation in the moshav lowers the grade"); Snir - 20.

The place

Revaya - A moshav affiliated with the national religious Hapoel Hamizrachi movement, located about 6 kilometers south of Beit She'an, and established in 1952 by immigrants from Iraq and Morocco.