National Geographic : 1970 Sep
OLD FRIENDS AND NEW gather in the Abrams' kibbutz apartment on the occasion of the couple's fifth wedding an niversary-a celebration made doubly memorable by the arrival from Phoenix of Rabbi Moshe Tutnauer, who married them in 1964. Carol Abrams sits between him and her husband Al, here giving her a piece of anniversary cake. Soon after, the Abrams left Ha On to re turn to the States, feeling, they say, as if they had left behind a part of themselves. top quality. Arab merchants from Israeli occupied towns in Jordan now buy them at our co-op for their own markets!" As autumn ends, the dates and grapefruit are in, and the bananas gradually claim pri ority on our labor (pages 370-71). The work is heavy and hard, complicated by winter rains. But this is Ha On's most important crop, and so the banana harvest progresses in high spirits through the end of March. War keeps its claim on our attention. The army has ordered kibbutzim in the Jordan Valley to strengthen their defenses for the coming summer. At Ha On, prefabricated guard towers rise in strategic locations, bril liant floodlights encircle us, excavations for new shelters are begun, and we erect a perim eter security fence. When the northern area commander in spects the kibbutz, he focuses on the trees between the road and the fence: Infiltrators could use them for cover. Sheffy, our security chief, suggests that the trees be sacrificed. "No," declares the colonel. "This is a com munity of homes and families. Keep your trees. Cut their lower branches. And build a double fence." Women Accept Shelling Calmly The shelling from Jordan intensifies. For more than a week now we have spent part of every night and day in the shelters (pages 380-81). I notice that women adjust better than men to underground life, serenely knit ting, reading, talking, or sleeping. Men are more restless. Many remain outside much of the time, lingering near the command bunker. Shells scream in and explode among our new date trees; others rush overhead with the sound of slow-moving skyrockets and burst in the lake. Detonating, they remind me of huge boards crashing on a concrete floor, or a door slammed very hard. Occasionally, tracer bullets pierce the night, and aerial 390 flares create a spectral landscape aglow in reddish, spastic light. To the south, Kibbutz Tel Qazir loses some machinery and several cows in the dairy barn. Another kibbutz parts with an admin istration building. Farther down the valley, a children's house takes a direct hit. The young sters are safe, asleep in the shelters. A daytime alert finds me sitting with Shaul, the kibbutz philosopher. I wonder aloud how Ha On can live so calmly with such danger. "It's just a question of perspective," Shaul, a paratrooper, replies. "Certainly we're con cerned. You can see it each day when work stops for every newscast. Life has always been risky for our people. But now-after 2,000 years-we again have Jerusalem. Think of it, Al!" I think of it as we watch children playing tag nearby. Shaul adds, "This is our home, and we will not live in fear."