Monday, May 3, 2010

Kassams over Tkuma

Getting back to Israeli Independence Day...We were invited to a BBQ at a cousin's cattle farm in Tkuma, a small religious moshav about 5 files from the northern Gaza Strip. The town's only road is laid out in the form of a rectangle with the homes fronting the road and the farm land behind. It's about a 90 minute drive north east from Mitzpe Ramon. Yom Haatzmaut is a holiday where most Israelis stay home to celebrate with their families, so there was little traffic the entire day as we drove to and from the farm.

Tkuma, road and farm land

Not everyone who lives in Tkuma farms now, so some of the farm land has been sold off by residents to the farmers who remain.
Tkuma, located at "A" just right of center, about 5 miles from the Gaza Strip

 There is an old guard tower located near the town center, but its use was abandoned, except for a Chanukah Menorah, after the behemas in Gaza were put behind fences, like on Skull Island. Nevertheless, the town has been hit numerous times by random rocket fire from Gaza, and the main road into town has a memorial plaque for a young boy who was killed there by the rocket fire.

The old guard tower in Tkuma

 The home of our host was hit by rocket fire and a corner of it destroyed by a Grad rocket, one of the larger rockets with a range of about 10 miles.

 The facing corner of this house was hit and destroyed by a Grad rocket. It has since been rebuilt.

Opposite this house, a distance of about 50 feet, is a shed where the rocket sprayed its shrapnel, the holes still remain.

Shrapnel peppers the side of a shed at the farm of our host.

B"H, our host and family were in their bomb shelter at the time the rocket hit, but there is less than a minute to take cover once the alarm sounds.

Residents collect other rockets that have fallen on the area. Over 4000 have been shot into Israel since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2005.

A smaller Kassam rocket, but still big enough to kill

 Shrapnel from the Grad rocket that struck and destroyed a corner of our hosts' home

I was looking forward to getting closer to Gaza to moon the Gazans as an expression of my peace platform: "Kish mir in tuchas", but my wife never lets me have any fun.

Being at the farm with reminders of war so close by during Yom Haatzmaut was a memento mori that Israel still has to fight every day to secure its existence, surrounded by enemies whose idea of peace is the end of Israel and the Jewish people, aided and abetted by a cowardly, feckless and hostile world who would as easily acquiesce to the end of the State of the Jews as it did to the end of European Jewry.

But enough of this heavy political philosophizing, none of which we engaged in at our Tkuma BBQ. Our host had built his own rotisserie, as is the wont of those who live on the land, and delicious meats were roasting nearby.

Our host and his home made BBQ rotisserie

 Not the end of the BBQ, just the end of the first round. Our cousin on the right.

After we finished eating we walked across the street to get a tour of the cattle farm. Ironically, none of the BBQ meat came from the farm, which ships its meat to markets in Argentina. I knew this was going to be a great farm when we walked in and were greeted by this magnificent collection of old farm junk just hanging around.
The junk collection at the entrance to the farm

 The bulls are kept separate from the cows, and this one is known as "meshuga" (crazy) because he paws the ground and lowers his head to challenge anyone who comes near.

"Meshuga" the crazy bull at the farm. I wish Israel's prime minister had a pair like this.

 Cows eating on the farm.

Black Angus were just added to the herd this year.
One heck of alot of carrots used for feeding the cows.

A tractor that predates the birth of our cousin by many years. Still in good working order.

 ...and so we bid farewell to the farm with its bounty and head back to the barren desert...

...until next year...or perhaps sooner to moon the Gazans.

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