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Aug 19, 2007

Adventures in Eretz Yisrael: Kfar Maimon

Kfar Maimon.

A little village south of Sderot very close to the Gaza border.

The location of the three day protest 2 years ago. The big one. The one with 50,000 people camping out in every available spot in Kfar Maimon waiting to make the move into Gaza to thwart the disengagement.

I went back to Kfar Maimon this past Friday. Not for anythign so dramatic as the protest that took place 2 years ago. A friend of mine was sitting shiva in Kfar Maimon. He grew up there and his parents still lived there. His father died and he was sitting shiva. I went Friday morning to pay a shiva call.

I was joking around with people, and I told my friend, that I would have to leave extra early to get there (it is about an hour and a quarter drive from where I live) because I only know the way cutting through the fields.

2 years ago, the Yesha Council called for a protest against the disengagement. They decided to make a big one and they made a three day protest that was meant to culminate in a mass move on the Gaza border.

The government tried to limit the numbers of people who could go and participate in the protest. So they declared the whole area a closed military zone. They only partially enforced it though. They did not let anybody openly go to Kfar Maimon or anywhere near the border with Gaza. However, they mostly turned a blind eye to people going when they went via alternative routes. By alternative routes I mean driving or hiking through the surrounding fields.

I went with a group of guys down for the third of the three day protest. We had a fearless driver with a "company car". After being turned away on a number of routes, we drove through a number of fields until we finally made it to Kfar Maimon.

What happened happened and what did not happen did not happen. That is history.

So my joke was that the only way I know to get to Kfar Maimon is via the fields and not via the roads, so I would need some extra time to get there...

Going there on Friday was a totally different experience.

2 years ago the place was a wreck. People were covering every inch of the little settlement. Local residents gave up everything of themselves and their lives for three days to spearhead the protest against the disengagement. The aesthetics of the yishuv had been destroyed by the masses of people sleeping everywhere and hanging out and eating, etc. The authorities had limited the entry of basic necessities, so there had been no garbage collection for a number of days. You can imagine the havoc an additional 50,000 people would cause to a sleepy town of 200 or so people.

Now it is just a sleepy, quiet village with working people. They work in the fields and as educators. It is a simple place with simple, salt of the earth people. The place is quiet and clean.

It must have taken them a long time to clean the place up when it was all over and get back to living their lives again normally.

Kfar Maimon placed a marker stone at the entrance to the settlement to commemorate the historic event. The marker tells, briefly, of the events of 2 years ago.

3 comments:

  1. That's a great story, and an interesting view of the protest.

    Shiva calls are always sad. I hope your friend found some comfort in your visit.

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  2. Kfar maimon will go down in history for sure.. but in the sad history of a nation that sat for 3 days and followed blindly.

    ReplyDelete

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