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In Israel, Argentine Jews Explain Why They Stay

They moved to Israel from Argentina, or are the descendants of those who did. Despite the insecurity and fading hopes of peace, Argentine Israelis refuse to pack their bags in despair.

An Israeli officer shows the inside of a tunnel discovered last year near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha
An Israeli officer shows the inside of a tunnel discovered last year near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha
Facundo Landívar

EIN HASHLOSHA — "I don't even expect peace anymore. The most I can hope for is for the fighting to quiet," says Danny Cohen. The 46-year-old Argentinian-born Jew nevertheless tries to stay calm and hopeful in an otherwise edgy existence on the Ein Hashlosha kibbutz, barely a kilometer from the border of Gaza.

Still, the numbers tell a story of fading hope: of the 300 people who original shared his family's dreams and vision on the kibbutz, only 60 remain.

Cohen is one of about 80,000 Argentines or their descendents who live permanently in Israel. They all share the the experience of living with the threat of missiles, the fear and the scars, hidden or visible, of a war that has made everyone its victims. "You want to know what war is?" he asks. "It's my 14- and 15-year-old sons asking as soon as they arrive somewhere, someone's house or a hotel, where the shelter is."

The shelters Cohen mentions are everywhere in Israel — in bars, universities, homes, or every 100, 300 or 50 meters, depending on how close you are to a fighting zone. The word has come to mean so much more than a bunker here. The shelter is the ultimate root that keeps you in place and stops you packing your bags to return to Buenos Aires, or anywhere better and safer than here.

"Go? Where? Sign me a paper that there is peace somewhere else, and I'll move there," Cohen says. "But this is my house. My sons grew up here. Why do I have to go? I can see it is difficult to understand, but it is the same everywhere. I also tell my brother who stayed in Buenos Aires to leave a country that's getting worse, where they kill you for nothing."

He says he does sometimes think of moving, that his sons have never been able to live in a peaceful place. "It is not just our home here, but our way of life," he says, pointing at the kibbutz. Young Latin Americans founded it in 1949, never thinking that its location would in time transform their little paradise into a daily hell.

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Future

Cyber War Chronicles: Meet The Hackers Taking On Russia

The war in Ukraine is not just being fought on the ground. The battle for dominance increasingly happens on the digital field, where a worldwide network of cyber-soldiers conduct attacks to disrupt Russia's war effort, from the outside and inside too.

Cameron Manley

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russian and Ukrainian hackers have been fighting tit for tat on what we can call the "digital front line." To quantify the firepower involved, the number of ransomware attacks on Russian companies has tripled since Feb. 28, according to Kaspersky Lab, a Russian multinational cybersecurity firm that found a direct link between the uptick in online targeting to the breakout of military conflict in Ukraine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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