The Border (1961)

Between October 1959 and mid-1962 I was a member of Kibbutz Nirim, a collective settlement in the Western Negev that has been in the news lately because of how it was (& is still being) impacted by the recent warfare between the State of Israel and the Gaza Strip. I’d come there as one of a group of members of the Socialist-Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair in Melbourne who settled in Nirim, some of whom are still living there.

While looking this week thru an album of photos and texts that I sent to my mother in Australia a couple of years after I’d left the kibbutz & was living in Tel Aviv, I found a page with a poem & this photo I took while working in the fields in Nirim, near the border (marked there at that time only by a plowed furrow) between the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip & the territory included in the State of Israel – and here, between the fields of Kibbutz Nirim and those of Khan Younis. Along this border UN forces were stationed in small booths several kilometers apart, generally not effectively enough to prevent Fedayeen or other infiltrators from occasionally crossing for various purposes that could endanger the lives of kibbutz members or the property of settlements in this region. I wrote the poem soon after taking the photo. Here they are together in one picture (you can click on it enlarge it).

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