Nadav Mishali founded the cinematheque in the southern Israeli city of Ofakim. His personal story is bound up with that of the city itself and its brave and exceptional residents. Mishali has now taken on an even bigger mission – to document the stories of hardship and heroism that took place in Ofakim on Saturday, October 7, 2023
After spending long hours hiding in their safe rooms, with the local civilian security team and members of the Border Guard bravely fighting armed terrorists seeking to break into the kibbutz, the residents of Yad Mordechai were evacuated from their homes until further notice. Many might describe this as a “once in a lifetime” experience – but for some kibbutz veterans, this was not the first time they left their home behind without knowing when, or if, they would ever return.
We at the NLI felt we needed to help people around the world realize that the hostages held in Gaza are human beings, not just numbers and faces on a poster. We wanted to illustrate how there is an entire life behind each of these faces, each of these men, women and children. To do this, we decided to make use of the books that fill our library…
In 1948, 3-year-old Yigal Cohen was smuggled out of Kibbutz Nir Am at the outbreak of the War of Independence. He later returned to the kibbutz, grew up, and started a family. 75 years later, on October 7, the kibbutz was attacked again. Residents evacuated, among them 78-year-old Yigal, who was doing this for the second time in his life…
The morning of Simchat Torah 2023 was supposed to be a day of celebration – marking 70 years of Kibbutz Nahal Oz. But with chilling similarity to another event that took place just three years after Nahal Oz was founded, this day ended entirely differently – in unimaginable tragedy. Is this what life is like for those whose homes are the border itself?
When the bulldozers came to knock down the houses of Netiv Ha’Asarah in the Sinai Peninsula, the residents experienced real trauma. They could have moved to the center of the country, far away from any danger, but their pioneering spirit led them to resettle just a few feet from the Gaza Strip.
For over seventy years, Be’eri Printers – Kibbutz Be’eri’s famous printing press – has touched the lives of all of us in Israel. On October 7, many dozens of Be’eri’s sons and daughters were murdered. Despite this disaster, the printing press was back in operation less than ten days later. This is the story of a pioneering project that has risen from the ashes, like a phoenix.
For the community of Nahal Oz on the Israel-Gaza border, the events of the past few days have had a shocking, shattering effect. For decades, life in this region was often calm, restful and full of the wonders of nature, despite the ever-present dangers. The people of the border region are strong and resilient, and will prevail through this challenging time, as they have done so many times before.
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