Treasure Trove: Kibbutz Be’eri’s thriving print shop was spared on Oct. 7—and re-opened days after the Hamas attack

“For the life of this nation” is the message on this label. It was made in the print shop of Kibbutz Be’eri two weeks after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack when about 10 percent of the kibbutz’s 1,200 residents were murdered.  

Be’eri was formed on Oct. 6, 1946, as one of the 11 settlements created to strengthen the Jewish population of the Negev. In 1949, the residents asked the Jewish Agency for help in starting a print shop which would provide a stable source of revenue for the young kibbutz.

From these humble beginnings, Be’eri Printing became a modern print shop. It prints all of Israel’s drivers’ licences and credit cards, and invented the ma’atafit (a letter printed on an envelope which saves paper).

The print shop was empty on Oct. 7 because it was Shabbat and so it was not a Hamas target that terrible day. One Be’eri resident later said that if Hamas had known how important it was, they would have burned it.

The printing house re-opened just a week after the Hamas attacks. It published a version of the Passover Haggadah this year, with proceeds going to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

The message on this label is the title of a popular Israeli song released in 1969 that contains this verse which carries special significance at this time:

The people rally when faced with a challenge or in difficult times

Then there is no party, faction or sector

It will not be moved from its target

Even by a tractor

The lyrics evoke the 20th-century song of the social justice, civil rights and labour movements “We Shall Not Be Moved.” It is worth listening to again, while the Jewish people are feeling pressure in Israel and the Diaspora. As the song says: “like a tree standing by the water, we shall not be moved.”

You can hear I Like Mike sing “For the Life of This Nation” in Hebrew here:  

You can hear Pete Seeger sing “We Shall Not Be Moved” here: