Moira Dror, left, is being squeezed by the government, the Palestinians and her own conscience
“Do I look like I need therapy?” Moira Dror snaps in an Israeli-Scottish accent when I ask the psychologist sitting next to her if she would mind showing us how she would help Dror deal with her stress.
In an attempt to avoid a libel suit, the Fundermentalist will not say yes. But the graying Dror, who moved to Israel 35 years ago from Glasgow, is certainly extremely stressed.
She’s been living on Moshav Netiva Sarah, which is closer to Gaza than Sderot is, for 26 years. The government strategically placed her on the Moshav, which produces and sells internationally agricultural seeds.
But now she is infuriated by the government that has put her on the front line. The army has pulled back soldiers from Netivah Sarah after deciding that it was too dangerous for them to be stationed there. Yet, they have encouraged her to stay. And that makes her angry.
She is angry that she has only a few seconds to prepare when Kassams and mortar shells are fired at her home. She has a radio antenna on top of her house that she says is a target.
Her home is so close to the border that she does not need a “Tzeva Adom” – the “Red Alert” siren that is sounded when a Kassam is fired from Gaza. In Sderot, the siren gives about a 20-second warning to residents to run for a bomb shelter. In Machon Oz, where I slept Tuesday night, it gives about five seconds. In Netiva Sarah it is worthless, Dror said. She hears the whiz of the rocket being fired and it lands before the alert can sound.
At times, Dror has been told that she is crazy.
A rocket recently was fired and landed less than 10 meters away from her. It did not detonate, but it buried itself into the sand in front of her house. She called a bomb squad after the incident, and they could not find the Kassam at first because it had buried itself so deep into the earth. They told her she was nuts. Until they found it.
That made her angry.
The psychologist who sits next to her preaches primarily that those who are put in stress by the rockets must above all maintain their normal routines. They must not let the fear and stress of being in the line of fire debilitate them.
At the incredulity of that idea, Dror is angry.
Beyond that, she is angry at the situation because it is turning her into a right-winger.
Dror speaks fondly of the times she used to spend in Gaza, before the first Intifada. She had close friends there. She used to shop there regularly, go there and buy ice cream and bicycles.
She said that she even understood when some of her Gazan friends voted for Hamas. And Dror said that she knows that “life on the other side is 1,000 times worse.”
But she is fed up. “I would cry for those on the other side, but I don’t care. I have gotten cold,” Dror said. “If they hit us with a Kassam, we should send them right back.”
She is angry because the government missed its opportunity to really strike back. Just after Israel disengaged from Gaza, it had international public opinion on its side. When the first rocket was fired then, Israel should have struck back unmercifully, she says. And the world would have understood. But the government did not.
And now the former peacenik is on the front line, an unarmed target with no soldiers to protect her, bomb squad police who think she is crazy, a government that has failed her, an ideology that was never her own and a psychologist sitting next to her telling her to try to act as if all is normal.