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  • By Hannah Nesher

Real Life in Israel #2 - Quarantine in the Negev

Fear Not!

We were so thankful to just sail through the process of getting through border control in Israel; after all that needless worry and concern over what would happen with my daughter, Liat, once we arrived! Because we were stuck in Canada for so long, she missed three of her call up notices (tzav rishon) from the IDF, so they were threatening to arrest her.

Despite all our attempts to clearly communicate the situation with both the IDF office in Israel as well as the Israeli consulate in Canada, the only answer we got was, "They are going to arrest her." Oye vey! We had frightening visions of my precious Liat being led away in handcuffs to a dingy army prison cell.

The whole time we battled fear, worry and dread; until the Holy Spirit just gave us peace (shalom) and said, "Fear not; I am with you." When we arrived, instead of handcuffs and a prison cell, Liat just got a friendly wave through with a reminder to go visit the IDF recruiting office as soon as she can once out of quarantine (which she did).

What they actually said was, "Matai she bah lach." Which loosely translates as, "Whenever it suits you." hahah lol. What a good lesson for us in trusting God and not believing the negative reports of man. When God says, "Do not fear and do not worry", He knows what He is talking about. Yes!

Into the Wilderness

a dry & barren wasteland

Watch Liat's short video impressions of the Negev

Our first stop after leaving Ben Gurion airport was into the wilderness for a two week mandated quarantine period in the Negev of Israel. One of the most challenging things about moving to Israel is finding a suitable place to lay your heads that will not cost you an arm and a leg in the process!

God so graciously provided a place for us here in the home of Messianic believers who are currently travelling in the United States. This town is an actual oasis in the middle of a barren wasteland in the desert. It is beautiful, peaceful and quiet here in this 'hidden place' of refuge, far from the stress and pressure of the cities.

God spoke to me of His promise, "My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places," (Isaiah 32:18)

desert blossoming like the garden of the Lord

"The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;" (Isaiah 35:1)

Early in the mornings, before the intense heat drives me inside, I love to sit outside in the garden, alone, but knowing that we are never alone, for the Spirit of God is always with us. It is such a blessing to have these quiet times with the Lord just to sit in His presence and soak in His shalom and ahava (peace & love).

our garden

Our new home in the Negev is not only a refuge for us; but also a little sanctuary for several turtles who make their home with us and eat our fresh veggies.

Mommy, Daddy &   baby turtles enjoying some lettuce

When I was a little girl, I used to have many pet turtles (before they made them illegal to sell in pet stores); and I loved them so much. So I was delighted to find out that our new home here comes complete with turtles. Isn't it just like our good God to surprise us with these special little gifts that speak to our heart of His love and care for us.

turtle eating grated carrots

It's not only turtles that need a sanctuary from the harsh elements of the desert here; but also the hordes of stray cats that roam the streets.

The issue of feral cats is a real problem here in Israel and it is heartbreaking for an animal lover such as myself to see cats suffering & starving all over the country. There are some who try to help and end up feeding hundreds of cats! I just posted on a plea for help from one such woman on social media.

It is estimated that over 2 million untamed street cats live in Israel. Due to lack of funding from the state, veterinary services and animal rights organizations are simply unable to keep up with the growing population. Without proper care and nourishment, these cats live only 2 - 5 years and die slowly and painfully due to their injuries and variety of diseases. May God have mercy on all His creatures.

Yes, Israel can be a harsh place ( as I said, I will write about it all - the good, the bad and the ugly); but it is also a beautiful and special country where children can play safely on the streets even late at night. Liat stayed up late one night and kids were still out playing on the street at 2:00 A.M.

Where we live it is also common to see Orthodox religious men (dati'im) walking in their traditional garb of a long-sleeved black overcoat, black hats and sometimes fur hats - even in this crazy Negev heat that often soars above 100 degrees! How they do it I will never know!!

Dati'im (black hats) walking in the Negev

One day our neighbors put up an inflatable pool with a slide for the kids to play in. Due to their extremely strict rules of modesty, even the children went in the water fully dressed! Clothing must cover almost all exposed skin from head to toe - even in young children. In this heat they are forced to wear clothing that perhaps is appropriate to the Polish ghetto, but completely out of whack here in the Israeli climate.

Isn't it strange how something that seems to ridiculous to us can make complete sense to someone else? Go figure....

We are looking forward to venturing out from our 'house arrest' and exploring our desert home; but in the meantime, I am enjoying being hidden in this 'secret place' - safely abiding in the shelter of God's presence here in the Wilderness.

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Mexican food Israeli style

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