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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Our Little Corner of the World

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

Well, things are heating up and the intensity is spreading like wildfire here in Israel. I heard from many people in the US back in the fall last year that they were looking to escape to Israel because of all that was happening there. Now I hear many people looking for ways to escape Israel because of the tyranny that's happening in our Holy Land by the hands of our government. So it goes that we are all looking for a place to find refuge and the walls are closing in.

If you want to move away from the insanity, but don't want to leave Israel, moving out of the cities would be the first move. Where ever you are, it's the cities that are usually hit first. Many people in a small area, easier to implement mandates, laws, fivegee towers, people policing people etc. So my first advice, no matter where you are in the world, would be to move out of the cities. It's harder to enforce tyranny out in the "boondocks".

I grew up in a version of the "boondocks" in the states. It wasn't easy being the only kid who lived far away from all my other friends, but my parents felt the best way to raise kids is a step away from the suburbs (I think they were right). Now that I own my own farmland in the desert, I see that raising kids in the open fresh air away from car fumes and crowded apartment buildings has been an incredible journey. I'm not mocking city life. I know many people love it, but what we recognized early on is that there is so much more for health and raising kids when they have freedom to explore their natural world.

Many people have contacted me recently to ask about availability in our area because they no longer feel safe in the cities. So now that we've been out here for 20+ years and are well settled with most of our kids raised, I thought I would share some information about living out here in the SW Negev desert . I would like to provide an idea of what it's like far away from the madness of crowded cities, so that if you do want to explore other possibilities you will have an idea of what to expect here: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:

1. We live in a truly rural area. Lots of farming, land and open spaces. Crops like passionfruit, tomatoes, pineapple, bananas, wheat, potatoes, carrots and many others are grown here.

2. We have space available for rent or buy, house with land.

3. We live 7 km from the borders of both Gaza and Egypt. So from 10 am until 10 pm the breeze comes from the ocean. From 10 pm to 10 am our wind comes from the desert.

4. The people who live here came from Yammit back in the 80's, but they are still left leaning and liberal. So they leave me alone and I leave them alone (so far).

5. We have a farm raising gardens, animals and children. Anyone can do this. I would be lovely to have a community of like minded people, but so far they haven't come.

6. We live on the edge of a desert wilderness, so our horse riding and motorcycle riding is what we do outside of our moshav.

7. I built a small pool and use it as a pool and mikve. Anyone can do this.

8. We homeschool and welcome other families to do the same. We live in a place which can be explored and used as a classroom.

9. The two stores we have in the area require masks, but I made a deal with one of them that I will only come before closing time without a mask. So far so good.

10. It's harder to enforce laws out here because there aren't police patrols, cameras or crowded areas. So unless people go in stores, no one wears a mask.

11. Kids play outside . we have soccer , basketball fields in each moshav and play grounds.

12. We have different communities in the area, both secular and religious depending on the ishuv . We have a large religious community from Gush Qatif.

13. We have a modern defense system. "Code Red" alarm system, Iron Dome , safe rooms and structures all over the area.

14. Great mild weather (similar to southern California)

15. Great land for growing vegetables and grazing animals (in the winter/spring).

16. We came here for cheap land and we found it.

17. Even though we are the desert, we have a eucalyptus forest.

18. We have "The Salad Trail" which brings in tourists from all over Israel and the world .

19. We are close to the Rope Bridge, Habsor River, Park Eshkol, and red poppy fields in the spring.

20. We don't have a lot, so there is a lot of opportunity to start things.

21. We are 30 minutes from Ofakim, 45 minutes from Netivot and 45 minutes from Beer Sheva. Some people work in the center and it takes about 1 1/2- 2 hours to get to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

22. We have a bus station about 15 minutes away where the school is located. You can find a bus to almost anywhere from there.

23. We have a local post office about 10 minutes away.

The Bad:

Although we live in a rural area that used to be made up of a small community, it has expanded a lot these last 17 years or so.

1. With growth comes larger roads, more traffic (not compared to cities), more building, more accidents on our single road leading in.

2. We live 7 km to Gaza so we have all the terrorism that comes with that: incendiary kites and balloons, terror tunnels, kassam rockets and terrorist infiltrations.

3. We are considered the "Alabama of Israel", simple people.

4. We share the area with four or five kibbutzim and they run the moatza and therefore the characteristic of the area, which is a very socialist mentality. Our children share the schools with the kibbutzim children, but they are treated differently with special privileges.

5. If you're not in the socialist club, you're out. If you're like them, you're accepted into the club.

6. We have a chemical factory (on a kibbutz) which sits close to the main road. It gives off a bad sweet smell when you pass by. It is technically illegal, but because it is a kibbutz, no one bothers them.

7. I have raised my kids here all these years without finding any other family to be close with. The kids find friends, but we are not close with their families because of this socialist mentality.

8. The local governments are run by corrupt people. But that's the same all over the country.

9. We are next to a desert wilderness which was used by the army as a shooting range for many years, but it has been opened up to the public and sadly the bedouin have begun moving in and settling their tents and herds. No one has done anything , so they are growing larger.

10. Things are more expensive in our area because the two local stores take advantage of the rural situation. So once a week I go to Ofakim (the closest town ) to go to the shuk (when it hasn't been closed) . Other people order from grocery stores and have it delivered to their house once a week.

11. The single local school is on Kibbutz land and it is very socialist. I don't like my kids to go there, but others might like it.

12. The trucks that drive from the port to Gaza, drive on our road. They caused many accidents, then they widened the road and it remains to be seen if that helped.

13. Nothing is less expensive just because we live here.

14. We don't have any banks or services. They are only in Ofakim or other city.

The Ugly:

1. We are far from everything.

2. We are close to Gaza terror.

3. Work is hard to find, unless you work independently.

4. We are very independent, because we have no one else to rely on.

5. The local municipality makes it very hard to open businesses. (You have to do it secretly)

6. The corruption is all over.

7. There are new towers in the area, I don't know if they are fivegee or not yet.

8. No "alternative" community.

9. No close friends.

Ultimately, land was our number one priority. We weren't picky when we bought here. It has paid off tenfold, but we've had to give up a lot and we are ok with that. Each person or family needs to decide what's most important for them and know that life out here is both beautiful and painful. It makes you tough, independent and appreciative of many things.

We don't know what the future will bring, but we know which direction it is going. This might be the best place in the country or the worst in terms of our borders and our distance from everything else. Who knows? But if you want to grow our own vegetables, raise our own animals like we do, this might be an awesome place to begin a new community.

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