A new addition to Israeli tour itineraries: Exploring Hamas’ destruction in the south

A new addition to Israeli tour itineraries: Exploring Hamas’ destruction in the south

A new form of tourism has emerged in Israel following the devastating Hamas attack on Oct. 7. Now, it seems that no trip to Israel is complete without a somber visit to the south near the Gaza border, where the impact of the assault is still visible. Celebrities, politicians, influencers, and other well-known figures, including Jerry Seinfeld, Elon Musk, Michael Douglas, former presidential candidate Nikki Haley, and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, have made the pilgrimage to show their support, often posing for photos in front of the destroyed homes.

The spokeswoman for Kibbutz Nir Oz, Irit Lahav, emphasized that the attack on their community was not just their personal tragedy but also a reflection of the state of Israel as a whole. Approximately a quarter of the kibbutz residents were affected by the attack, with many lives lost and others kidnapped by Hamas militants. The tours of the area provide a glimpse into the aftermath of the violence, showcasing the impact on the community and its residents.

The guided tours are not only a way for visitors to witness the destruction firsthand but also to gain insight into the personal stories of those who experienced it. The tours are led by residents who survived the attack, providing a unique perspective on the events of that fateful day. While it may be uncomfortable to open their community to visitors, it is seen as a necessary step in sharing their experiences and garnering support from allies abroad.

For visiting dignitaries and VIPs, these trips offer a different perspective on Israel, highlighting the resilience and strength of its people in the face of adversity. Beyond the well-known cultural and religious sites, such as the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, the tours of the damaged kibbutzim and towns serve as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the residents of southern Israel.

The tours also provide an economic boost to the affected communities, showcasing their resilience and determination to rebuild. While the scars of the attack are still visible, the residents are looking towards the future, with plans for new construction and memorial sites in the works. As they navigate this process, they hope to find a balance between preserving the memory of what happened and moving forward with their lives.

Overall, the tours offer a powerful and poignant experience for visitors, allowing them to connect with the stories and struggles of the people of southern Israel. By sharing their personal narratives and opening up their communities to outsiders, the residents hope to build solidarity and understanding in the wake of tragedy.