As Rockets Fall, Kibbutz on Gaza Border Celebrates Purim

Even though a Grad missile and more than 20 rockets had fallen near Kibbutz Reim within an hour, Purim celebrations went ahead.

The Purim celebrations went ahead at Kibbutz Reim near the Gaza border over the weekend, despite the sound of rockets and sirens in the air. The locals weren't fazed, even though a Grad missile and more than 20 rockets had fallen near the kibbutz within an hour, and three people had just been injured by rocket fire at nearby Moshav Ein Habesor.

A large group in fancy dress showed up at the kibbutz dining room, saying the rockets had become part of their regular routine. A few members had stayed at home with their kids, to make sure they weren't frightened by the sound of the sirens, and some were also afraid to leave their children at home.

Kibbutz Reim March 11, 2012 (Eliyahu Hershkovitz)
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

One kibbutz member named Yuval acknowledged that everyone had a cell phone to hand, in order to know what was happening at home. But the kibbutz members turned out in force, explaining that they wanted a brief escape from the security situation.

"We have no fear," said Sikas Arsilin. "We have nowhere else to go. This is our home. They won't manage to break us," he vowed.

The security situation remained front and center in other ways at the party, with a comedy skit about relations between Israel and Iran that drew big laughs. The sketch also featured plastic missiles, in a reminder of the more immediate threat.

But they came to party, and the alcohol flowed. "With us, there is no escalation," said one member. "The situation here is constant, so we came to celebrate." Another member, named Rina, said rather than waiting at home to see what happens, it was better to celebrate the holiday: "They will continue to shoot and we will continue to party."