As the instability in the South is causing some residents to pack their bags, a group of newcomers to the area have recently settled there as part of a bid to strengthen the local communities.
One of the 36 families to move to Beersheba, Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat and Sderot are the Bernsteins, who left their home in the southern Hebron Hills settlement of Karmel to join a group of religious families in Ashdod, which as part of the Keren Kehilot Foundation for Community Revival in Israel, offers different informal services to the residents of the city.RELATED
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The Bernsteins entered their new home last Sunday, before the latest escalation of attacks on the area, but knew exactly where they were going, said Avi. The decision to relocate to a part of the country with a more challenging social situation, he explained, was a result of the couple’s resolution to contribute to the Israeli society at whole.
“I’ve been working a lot with families from Gush Katif, as a family and couples therapist,” he said, “and really had the feeling that one of the things [we can learn] from what happened there is the importance for us to be in touch with all the different kinds of people in the Jewish State.”
As for the new security risks of the South, painfully acute from the
past few days, “we knew that it could happen,” he said. While Avi and
his wife were prepared for the possibility of spending time dodging
projectiles in bomb shelters, their six children, the oldest of them,
aged 14, have been having a challenging time adjusting to the new
reality, despite growing up in an area considered by many to be
“Our children weren’t used to missiles, so they were pretty freaked out,
and actually said to us – why did you take us from such a safe place to
such a dangerous one?” said Avi with a smile.
But at the same time, “My wife and I felt strongly that it’s important
to settle the land, and not important where. Anywhere, anything can
Avi, and other members of the other such groups, about 40 nationwide,
will be partaking in the group’s activities to the extent they choose,
primarily in involvement in the local welfare, education and religious
projects set up with the local residents and municipalities.