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“We want to live”: What I learned last year at a kibbutz that this week was attacked

Just a thousand yards from the permitter fence holding back terrorists from Israel is Kibbutz Nirim.  I visited the kibbutz and their lovely residents while attending the annual Chrisitan Media Summit in December 2022.

It was one of those attacked by Hamas and its residents murdered last Saturday. Terrorists lay siege to the community for nine hours until driven out by the IDF. By then many had been butchered – even burned alive in their homes.

Our group tours Kibbutz Nirim. This week, its homes and sidewalks were strewn with the bodies of its residents.

One of the residents we met was Adele Reamer.  Through her Facebook page.  Life on the border with Gaza – things people may not know (but should), she and other Israelis that live on kibbutz share their experience. I was quite taken by her strength and resolve and mesmerized by her discussion with our group. She told us living in the kibbutz was 95% heaven.

Adelle after having been rescued with other residents.

So if it is 95% Heaven, what about the other 5%?

Last week the other 5% happened. 

The residents of all Israeli communities along borders with their neighbors go through training. From the youngest to the oldest, they know the drill should the sirens sound alerting residents of incoming missiles. They know they have 15 seconds to get to strategically-placed safe rooms.

They were not prepared for what was coming on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Adele was in the Kibbutz that Saturday. I’m blessed to report she was one of the lucky ones that survived. She was eventually evacuated from the kibbutz but only after experiencing terror. (I’m working on finding out who survived.)

Our panel. Other than Adelle, I don’t know who survived.

During that cool December evening we listened to a panel of kibbutz members.  I have three quotes recorded in my notes:

1.  We need to be able to raise the next generation to respect their neighbors, not fear them.

2.  We do not want to win—we want to live.  If we must go to war, we will do it.

3.  Another said, “I will never apologize for defending myself.”


Terrorist burned this house, containing a family in the kibbutz. Photo: IDF.

The kibbutzniks reflected that the key to their resilience living with danger along the Gaza perimeter fence was that they knew they were not alone.


We cannot let them down.

–Anita Widaman is publisher of Metro Voice Newspaper and director of VisionIsrael.org

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