Sapper handling Qassam remains in western Negev
Photo: Amir Cohen
From Gaza to rocket-battered kibbutz
Gaza resident Raif Dula refused to leave his wife's side when she was hospitalized in Israel. Now a guest at Kibbutz Mefalsim, he too is under constant Qassam bombardment

In the first days of the increased Qassam rocket attacks from Gaza, the IDF targeted a building operated by Hamas, killing several people and wounding others.


Among those wounded were Raif Dula and his wife Amal, who was seriously wounded and eventually evacuated to an Israeli hospital in Ashkelon for intensive treatment.


But Raif, who himself sustained a leg wound in the attack, refused to leave her there alone and sought to stay by her side in Israel.


Years ago Raif used to work as an electrician at Kibbutz Mefalsim, located just south of the city of Sderot and like all communities neighboring Gaza, a daily victim of Qassam attacks.


Raif contacted the kibbutz and Sha'ar Hanegev council chairman Alon Shuster and asked for their help in obtaining a permit to stay. Remembering his history with them, the kibbutz made a collective effort to help Raif and secured the necessary authorizations for him from the State.


Now when he's not in the hospital Raif comes back to the kibbutz where he is staying with Rachel and Hanan Brouda, members of the kibbutz's founding generation who volunteered to serve as Raif's "adoptive family" during his stay.


"I dream that one day there will be peace and then I can come back to Israel and spend time with my friends, like it used to be," said Raif.


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