MATSUVA, Israel – On Israel’s northern border, residents face constant threats from Hezbollah rockets. CBN News visited one community in the shadow of the conflict to see what life is like at this moment.
While driving along the border, we could see Lebanon on the other side of the security fence. Our vehicle was the only car on the road because Hezbollah has been shooting at anything they see on the Israeli side.
The journey was punctuated by military checkpoints with IDF fighting positions, spread all along the route. Overhead, an observation balloon guarded the skies.
Fruit plantations in the region lie idle due to a lack of workers. Our path led to the village of Matsuva, a mere breath from the volatile border.
This kibbutz sits only a couple of kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea and only about two kilometers from the Lebanese border. And so while it normally has 1,400 people living here, now they’re down to just 100 essential personnel that are here to keep the farm running and take care of external security.
And the real question is, what is the new normal going to look like? Many of the people who live here are saying they’re tired of living under the threat from Hezbollah, which can launch rockets over here in a matter of seconds at any time. And it hasn’t been just for the last three weeks. This has been going on for years. But some residents refuse to give in to the terrorist pressure.
Matsuva resident Betty Tsvi said, “I’ve lived here for many, many years. If I was going to leave, I would have done that many, many, many, many years ago for many, many, many, many reasons. Nah, that never crossed my mind. We’ve been through so many wars here. There have been so many. And I kind of got used to it.”
“And, okay, I hear the rockets now and then. It doesn’t matter if we’re firing or they’re firing. But what really bothers me now is when I want to come home sometimes and they close up the roads and I have to wait at a junction for two hours. Nothing will ever be the same again. More, more so in the south,” she said.
“And I can understand families that lived all along that area, near the Gaza Strip, families that have said that they are not going to return there, which I can sympathize with them entirely. Um, let’s hope it won’t be the same for good reasons because they’re hoping in the South to clean up the Hamas, no more Hamas,” she said.
“They’re even talking about no more shelters in the South, like, really, that’s a dream? But they’re talking about a new, a new South. So, maybe… maybe it won’t be the same for good reason.”
The once-bustling village is now a quiet reflection of the turmoil.
Tsvi said, “They need to go hard and completely fix this problem. We’ve given in so many times. Every operation we start, and then we’re requested ceasefire, and then there’s a lot of things to consider with that. World opinion, uh, citizens. And then it stops, and then within very little time, it starts up again.”
“But this time, with all those atrocities, and it’s, they have to finish up. They said it’s going to take a while, and I’m sure it will. And we just have to be patient. But you can’t live in a country where there’s always a threat.”
For now, Matsuva families find refuge in hotels, far from their homes, yearning for an end to the strife. Peace, however, seems just beyond reach.