Features

The Shelter

Olga Kravets

Published on 20/09/11

© Olga Kravets

The pro­ject shows life of the kib­butzim loc­ated on the bor­der with Gaza strip. This is the area which prob­ably will become the real bor­der area of Israel in case on Septem­ber the Palestinian state­hood bid will be accep­ted by the United Nations. This is the ter­rit­ory where most of the Qas­sam rock­ets fired from Gaza strip fall.

Kib­butzim move­ment had star­ted in early XXth cen­tury with set­ting up col­lect­ive com­munit­ies around the areas sup­posed to become the bor­ders of the State of Israel. They were often roman­ti­cized as social­ist enclaves strong emphasis on justice, equal­ity and mor­al­ity. But at the same time, liv­ing at the bor­der­line had another mean­ing for these people and the state to be — they were the first to defend the bor­der, and thus any mem­ber of these ideo­lo­gical com­munit­ies had to be ready to fight any given moment.

How­ever, nowadays the kib­butz code of con­duct changed, not to say almost van­ished. Cur­rent gen­er­a­tion liv­ing there is approx­im­ately the last one still say­ing they live in a kib­butz. The col­lect­ive struc­ture fails to work in the same way as Com­mun­ism did. The new­comers move to Gaza bor­der in pur­suit for a cheaper place in the beau­ti­ful nature, but as a down­side, they have to live expect­ing rock­ets to
fall on them at any given moment and be trained to be able to reach the shel­ter in 15 seconds when the alarm goes off. At the same time, these com­munit­ies are far from the ordin­ary per­cep­tion of the war-torn/aftermath soci­ety — they have museums and even the zoos in the set­tle­ments, and on a peace­ful day it’s only kinder­gartens covered with lay­ers of con­crete that sug­gest the pres­ence of danger. While the major­ity of pho­to­graph­ers from all over the world con­cen­trate on cov­er­ing Palestine and Palestini­ans, or — when cov­er­ing the Israeli side, show sol­diers, my pur­suit to show only civil­ian life is an attempt for visual map­ping of both con­flict sides. What is going on in Gaza can­not be fully under­stood without under­stand­ing also of the Israeli realities.

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