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Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 11:05:44 PM

New Olim Caught in the Crossfire

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Published On: Dec 11, 2012

At the Absorption center in Ashdod, a lull in the rocket attacks is the perfect time for a lecture on the history of the conflict with Hamas.

 The new immigrants to Israel spend a lot of time lately in their bomb shelter. Many, like Merav from France, refuse to move to other absorption centers outside of rocket range even though they are offered. Merav said she doesn’t want to run every time Hamas decides to fire. She’s not alone, some 100 of the 250 new immigrants at this center preferred to stay where they are, in Ashdod.

Esther from Brazil says she likes Ashdod and doesn’t want to leave. However, many like Michael from Russia say their families abroad are very worried, calling several times a day. Ben Tsion and Rakefet moved to Israel from the U.S. three months ago, straight to Beer Sheva. They dreamed of coming to Israel for years, but never imagined they’d be heading straight into a war zone.

But they say they don’t regret it for an instant. Rakefet says she is a little afraid, but this is the Jewish State she says and we belong here. Ben Tsion reminds of the terrible storms like Sandy and Katrina, which hit the states, saying there’s danger everywhere. They insist they are not going back. Some 20 thousand olim chadashim came to Israel last year. For many, it is their first taste of war. Hopefully, it will be their last. v

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