"Dirty" warfare aimed specifically at civilians, like the type of terrorism Hamas is currently waging against us, in which civilians are forced to become soldiers and the homefront becomes the front line, creates a situation requiring resolve, faith in the justness of the cause and emotional strength from those accustomed to living their lives far from the field of battle.
In moments like these, in which the army is dependent on the home front's perseverance more than the homefront is dependent on the army, the leadership needs to instill in the public a sense of belief and determination. However, the public has other means, plentiful in our tiny country, from which to find strength and latch on to.
One of these is Kfar Darom, which no longer exists. The Israeli government erased it from the Earth with the rest of the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip during the injustice known as the "disengagement," which happened some seven years ago. The residents of Kiryat Malachi, Ashkelon and Ashdod can lean on the story of that wonderful place and its people, some of whom are sitting in bomb shelters today with the rest of Israel's south; in a community they built in the northern Negev.
Their story is so relevant to the million Israelis in bomb shelters right now because during its existence Kfar Darom became the unofficial capital of Gaza's Jewish community in Gush Katif. Its residents displayed and shared faith even when their brethren's sword of eviction was raised against them, and when, for years, their enemies rained mortars and Qassam rockets on them. Even when Kfar Darom was the most attacked community in Gush Katif its residents refused to evacuate, despite pleas from IDF officers.
Kfar Darom first fell during the War of Independence and was re-established in 1988. During the Oslo Accords it became an Israeli enclave in a territory that came under Palestinian Authority control. Ahmed Jabari and those of his ilk in other terrorist organizations made the Jewish enclave their top objective, making it a target of incessant terror attacks. In November of 2000 a school bus from Kfar Darom was attacked. The teachers, Miri Amitai and Gavriel Biton were killed. Three children, all from the Cohen family, needed to have their lower limbs amputated. Prior to that incident a farmer, Doron Shorshan, was murdered, and a little later the community's rabbi, Shimon Biran, was murdered along with Efi Ayoubi.
In Kfar Darom the terrorists exhausted, to their utmost abilities, the saying that Hamas has made part of its manifesto: "Knock on heaven's doors with the skulls of the Jews." Alas, their attempts were to no avail.
Why tell the story of Kfar Darom today? Because if you peruse Hamas' manifesto and records of statements made by its representatives, you will understand that in their view the State of Israel, all of it, is one large settlement, one big Kfar Darom. While the tinier Kfar Darom no longer exists, strength can still be gathered from its spirit.