Rechshanda and Shlomo Tsabari

Shlomo and Rechshanda Tsabari immigrated from Pars in the 1950s. After having lived in transit camps [maabarot] and having gone through many hardships, they arrived in the western Negev and founded the moshav of Mlilot.

I photograph my grandfather and grandmother and their environment out of respect and appreciation, out of the desire to research and to better understand the story of their lives; to show the world one of couple from among those keep the Negev going. Fulfilling the dream of Ben Gurion, perhaps against their will,they established settlements in the Negev and then disappeared from the eyes of the state and from the history books.

My desire to photograph them, and the house in which they live and their farm and the area, comes from the stories that I heard all my life about the first years on the moshav: the days before they built the large house where they currently live, the days when they wandered between transit camps.

It was in that period when their child, Hanukkah, disappeared from the hospital. It was said that he had died but there was no body. There were also stories about Ilan, the child who died from burns he sustained all over his body, and stories about grandmother's nephew who drowned in the stream, in the days that the Gerar stream still had water in abundance.

And in all of these years they continued to smile and be happy on the outside, for our sake, for the grandchildren and children. They always shared stories from the past, but the most important thing to them was out well being.

Bat-El Karmi