Just a day prior to when the first light of Hanukkah (Dec 18th) was due to illuminate the Israeli cities with reminders on Sovereignty, Freedoms and Civic Rights, a burning activism task, begging a much more potent, then oil or candle fuel, has been required
as to banish the political darkness web, that has engulfed the country, endangering its democracy.
A demonstration in which we participated, and which was held by the Movement for the Quality of Government (MQG) in Tel Aviv's Habima square, (by where we reside)
was attended on Saturday evening, (Dec 17th) only by about 2000 protestors,
Hopefully it will gain a much more voluminous tracking,
The civilized demonstration targeted the in-coming corrupt, thuggish, eligiously messianic right-wing government coalition, and especially party leaders:
Deri, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich. and their legislative blitz to pass a slew of controversial laws, among them the “Deri Law” which would enable the kleptomaniac Shas chairman - Arye Deri to serve as a Treasury Minister, despite his past conviction of tax offenses.
Head of the Movement for the Quality of Government Dr. Eliad Shraga who held a keynote speech, former IDF chief of staff and politician Moshe (“Boogie”) Ya’alon and former IDF general and outgoing MK Yair Golan, were not sufficient fuel ammunition
to enrapture the paralyzed, dazed and confused public, into an effective activism motion, to save the country from its despondent future.
Although representatives of few service and economic key sectors- the Legal , Education and Hi-Tech - finally started waking up, as to fight back, the Mafia style thuggery blitz, yet, the majority of the public that has been deceived and numbed, by the twisted use of invented political terminology, are left clueless and passive.
Taken out of Totalitarian regime typical text-books, the deceptive verbiage, and incremental legislation to be passed, mean to deliberately conceal the impact of the regime's real intentions from the public, up to the point of too-late and no-return.
Further more, so far the media, along with other Central powerful sectors, let alone
the liberal segment at the Likud party itself, have been catatonic, and miserably failed to enlighten the public, on what await the country, at the pipe-line of this devious zany coalition.
Half of the country's secular population is obligated to work, provide the funding and defense, while the other half is committed to religious parasitic existence, an insane formula which mathematically is unsustainable!
A Sunday day trip (Dec 18th) during this summary-hot sunshine weather in the midst of an alleged winter, with our dear friends Chani and Kobi to the periphery town of NETIVOT (meaning "path") to the south-part of the country, only further illuminated, how this in coming coalition Gov, gallops like a mad locomotive, off its tracks...
On the Road
On the way down South , Kobi cruised us through the beautiful town of Ashkelon
Once a philistine oldest and largest seaport in Canaan, Ashkelon was also known for its agricultural scallion growing (thus the name) in ancient time.
This coastal city, only 50 km from Tel-Aviv and 13 km north of the border with the Gaza Strip, has developed, despite of being badly hit by rockets from Gaza, into a thriving largest third city of the Southern district, with over 150,00o inhabitants
A large tract of land was handed over to the trusteeship of the South African Zionist Federation, which established in 1953 the neighborhood of Afridar.
Plans for the city were drawn up in South Africa according to the garden city model.
The coastal neighborhood of Afridar majorly influenced the beautiful architectural and rapid development of the town.
There has been a boom in the City’s development, which has evolved in accordance with modern urban planning progresses. It has absorbed new residents and has maintained a central position in the development of the southern region of Israel.
It is considered a city of the future. While maintaining its unique character, its modern high-rises, fantastic long seashore promenade, and wide white sea beach strip, make the town very attractive, to its residents, visitors and the business sector, as well as do its advanced education, culture and transportation systems. many public facilities, museums, well-kept, green gardens parks, and antiquities.
Ashkelon is the northern terminus for the Trans-Israel pipeline, which brings petroleum products from Eilat to an oil terminal at the port. The Ashkelon seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant is the largest in the world.
Since 1992, Israel Beer Breweries has been operating in Ashkelon, brewing Carlsberg and Tuborg beer for the Israeli market.
All these that offers such a pleasant living peripheral environment, and a high quality of life, thanks to a secular liberal economy investments, and despite the closeness to Gaza, can be all curtailed, not due to the shelling, but due to the legislative blitz of a corrupt, ideologically fanatic, regressed government, that seriously can compromise, the social, legal and economic fabric of the country,
This pastoral kibbutz in the South (close to Shderot) - is an oasis of nature reserve.
From a hilly vantage lookout point, near its water Reservoir, excellent scenic views
of the Gaza Strip, not even 4 km away, and especially of Jabalia, are revealed vividly,
on a bright clear day like today.
At this same observatory point a memorial was erected to Assaf Siboni , a native of Nir Am, who was a warrior in the Nahal Brigade, and was killed (with other 73 IDF soldiers) in the 1997 Helicopter disaster, when 2 Yasur helicopter collided on their way to the IDF posts in a Southern Lebanon' security strip.
20 wind flutes memorial installation - each flute represents a year in Assaf Siboni’s life, hangs in the center of the observatory. They resonate when the wind blows and their music spreads over the top of the hill. . The railing in front of the reservoir is studded with ceramic plates, showing drawings of birds typical of the reservoir.
Kibbutz Nir-Am was established in 1943 by immigrants from Bessarabia who were members of the Gordonia youth movement, including Zvi Guershoni, later a member of the Knesset. Later the kibbutz has also absorbed immigrants from Argentina, France and South Africa.
The kibbutz has also suffered for years from the murderous shelling from Gaza, yet has kept its striving and innovative economy, which has been based on variety of fields – dairy barn, field crops, an orchard, kibbutz country lodge and a local pub called the Green Pub. Furthermore, kibbutz’s factory, “Michsaf” (Made of Silver), is known for its produces cutlery and a variety of pots, gastronomes and kitchen utensils.
The kibbutz old dining hall, now called Southup, received a facelift, and became a shared, designed, modern and pampering work open space for innovative work, offering offices for rent to entrepreneurs , start-ups, and small companies in high-tech
The "Museum of Water and Security in the Negev" is also located at Nir Am, next to Mekorot's Nir Am Reservoir.
While visiting there, on this calm day , the only commotion was by Belgian shepherd dogs. A bunch of Dog Trainers of Nature Reservation Society, let the dogs run loose, in the area, in search-sheaf of planted poisoned substances.
Apparently, the trainers told us, farmers from the nearby villages take the law into their own hands and plant poison in the fields, against wiled predators like wolves to prevent them from attacking owned herds and property., while the Society works at preserving nature's ecosystems.
Founded in 1956, this periphery Southern town which is located between Beersheba and Gaza, has immensely grown, to my surprise, from less then 30,000 inhabitants prior to 2015 to over 45,000 by 2022.
At the entrance to the older part of town, next to a huge Youth Community Center building, which was funded by the National Lottery Service, (as are many more other erected public structures, that are not proportionate in footage and quantity, to this town's small size) the looming old Water Tower and a Bronze Memorial, immediately capture the eye.
The "Oslo Children Memorial"
known also as the Hurum air disaster,
a story I new nothing about, until kobi and Chani brought us to the memorial site.
An Aero Holland plane crashed in Hurum southwest of Oslo, Norway when a Douglas DC-3 which was carrying Jewish children from Tunisia who were to transit through Norway while immigrating to Israel, crashed as it was approaching Fornebu Airport on
20 November 1949, killing 34 people, including 27 children.
In 1949, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, signed an agreement with the Norwegian Ministry of Welfarem under which 200 places in a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients were to be evacuated, so as to be made available for Jewish children from North Africa in the process of immigrating .
In April 1949, about 200 children from Morocco transited through the facility on their way to Israel, and this was to be followed by a group of Tunisian Jewish children.
On the 1949 disaster date, two DC-3 planes of the Aero Holland company took off from an airport near Tunis. One made it safely to its destination. The other plane, stopped at Brussels-Zaventem Airport to repair the radio before setting off for Oslo.
On board that plane were 28 children, most of them 8 to 12 years old, and seven escorts and crew. As the DC-3 approached Oslo, the pilot encountered heavy fog, and lowered the plane while still in mountainous terrain. Near Hurum, one of the plane's wings hit a tree. The plane continued another 60 meters and crashed into a mountain
The force of the collision overturned the plane, blew most of the passengers out, and ignited the fuel tanks, causing the front of the plane to burst into flames.
Of the 35 people on board, 34 were killed. The only survivor was 12-year-old Isac Allal. who set at the back tail of the plane, and was miraculously saved, and warmed my the burning plane heat in the freezing weather, while his sister and 2 brothers were killed in the crash.
What an amazing story not widely known by many....
Housing in the town's old part
Initially a ma'abara, it was later transformed into a development town. and although since 2008, Netivot has been a target of Grad missileattacks from Gaza. 13 km away ) the town has benefited since 2000 from a social and economic flourishing, positive migration and huge Gov funding, which activated a building boom, and has transformed the town into a major regional center for the villages around and beyond, while also turning it into a major educational religious center.
The Ashkelon–Beersheba railway, a new railway line inaugurated in 2015. which connected Netivot with Tel Aviv and Beersheba, majorly assisted in the town's growth.
Brand new residential neighborhoods, elegant spacious housing, 3 large commercial centers, 24 plants and factories, 400 businesses located in a nearby industrial park, large sport complex and religious cultural venues, have attracted a large segment of mainly the religious population in need of more affordable housing..
There are also many most equipped playgrounds for the very many children born there
Thus the city's landscape is noticeably freckled by tens of religious institutions .
Schools differentiated by gender, and ethnicity, Synagogues, Mikvehes and Yeshivas. are all over and keeps popping up.
Burial sites and activism of famous Rabbis who lived in town contributed to the place transforming into a religious hub.
"Miriam Well" Girls' School Djerba Synagogue modeled after the Tunisian one
A major landmark is the tomb of the Baba Sali (1889–1984), a Moroccan-born kabbalist who is buried in town.
The Baba Sali Moroccan style Tomb Shrine, which we entered, out of sheer curiosity, via the Women side, is a magnet to thousands of followers who congregate from all over the country, to celebrate, place their wishes and get some healing advise, blessings and amulets for any malady/hardships.
The very Haredi and religious residents who comprise a majority , coexist for now, peacefully, (unlike the antagonistic existence at Beit Shemesh religious town). side by side, next to the secular minority, in this very ethnic town, made up mostly of North African Jews., The first residents were immigrants from Morocco and Tunisia,.who later were joined in the 1990 by immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia.
The town is also known for its many successful/prominent Real Estate Developers and contractors. One of the most successful and largest is the Entrepreneurship and construction company for residential, employment and trade, focusing on the southern regions of the country, the center and the lowlands called:
" Negev Ceders" (a tree that doesn't grow in the dry Negev but connotes with the moist mountainous Lebanon).
The Company was founded and has been run since 2002 by the millionaire
Odedd Shriki who at beginning of his career, worked as a professional and handyman and later, as a subcontractor for construction companies and entrepreneurs.
A self made talented entrepreneur, he developed in Netivot's many neighborhood, and the
Paris Shrike Commercial Center ,in a French neoclassical style,
We had a good lunch at this only decent "Taam Haemek" restaurant at the center.
Refined culinary culture has not yet reach these developing town...
Also his own lavish private villa is designed in a French neoclassical, style, and it stands out in its flashiness, even among the many other new flashy private villas, at this Netivot's new development
A row of most expensive cars, lined up parked behind glass doors garage, can be seen through the tall iron gate, Apparently there are many more cars, not in view, parked at the lower garage level, as we were told by Yigal - the kind house maintenance guy, we were lucky to encounter, when we passed by and stopped to observe this structure, out of sink with the desert environment.
Recently, Shriki has been offering upscale housing in a new development project , for at least 300,000 cheaper in its value then is offered by the competitors in the same Netivot market, . It will probably attract many more of the religious sector to town.
Across from the Shriki's villa, a nother new Synagogue has been being built, by this wiz developer, in honor of his late father Yosef
The culture of religious/spiritual life is definitely on a steroid rise in town.
However movie theaters and night clubs, which operated in the city until about 20 years ago, had all closed down. and vanished.
There are no concert halls. Only one museum of "Hebrew Music
"So we know which "way" Netivot is directed.. and now with the new Gov the regressed process will only be accelerated.
"Aaron Love" Synagogue "Elyahoo Heart" Synagogue "A Rose to David" Synagouge
It will be interesting to find out what will the fate of the only Cinimateque which was built in 2011 and which the municipality in collaboration with the Public Lottery Service funded for 13th Million Nis .
A municipality member also serves on on the Lottery Service board. So it is definitely beneficial to have good friends in high ranking money making machine places... thus so many huge and extravagant public buildings carrying the Lottery name, can be spotted, in this relatively small town.
The visit to town was a culture shock. Netivot is part of Israel culture and its Israeli residents communicate in the same Hebrew language,
However that culture and the one of the "state of Tel-Aviv" are worlds apart. and I can not phantom the rest of the country completely following the "way" of Netivot, as is the ideological vision of the regressive right wing forces of the current coalition Gov
The soothing agriculture landscape when leaving the city behind
And as it is a festive time of the year
Wishing you all a very Happy Hanukkah, Merry Xmas and a Joyful New Year
We will need here all the LIGHT we can get..