Since the Gaza summer conflict, 20 families have left the rocket-battered kibbutz of Nahal Oz, two new families have moved in, and another is in the process of relocating to the Israeli community which saw some of the heaviest fire during the 50-day campaign, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.
Before the operation, the kibbutz was home to some 350 people, such that the departure of 20 families dramatically reduced the southern community’s population.
Meanwhile, dozens of families, primarily from central Israel, have expressed interest in moving to kibbutzim on the southern border, citing considerations of “secular Zionism.”
A tour organized by the Or Movement for the development of the Negev on Tuesday was overwhelmed by the turnout of some 100 families, a coordinator said, many of whom were “young secular families with small children, which isn’t insignificant.”
“I know it’s a little bit scary, but we are so proud of being Israeli,” Ophira Graji of Ma’ale Adumim told the TV station.
Many of the participating families hailed from Ma’ale Adumim, Rishon Lezion, Be’er Ya’akov, Yavne, Ashkelon, and Modiin.
Several of the participants, while noting their interest in the kibbutz, indicated that they were concerned about their safety due to the proximity to the volatile coastal enclave and fears of undetected cross-border tunnels.
“We live in Ashkelon. We’re considering moving further south to improve our quality of life,” Leonardo Kobel said. His wife, Zohar, chimed in: “If I do it, it will be with a heavy heart,” and added jokingly that should they move, “we would need to take a shooting course or something.”
Nahal Oz was home to 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, who was killed on August 22 by a mortar shell. Following his death, his parents said they would not return to the Gaza border kibbutz.
On July 28, a squad of Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel near Nahal Oz and killed five IDF soldiers. Six more soldiers were killed in other attacks launched through the tunnels.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.