Israel’s breakaway region

The World

You won’t find the independent state of Western Negev on a map, but you would see its flag if you travel here. the flag is based on the Israeli flag with the Star of David in the middle, but the stripes are red. This so-called state is really a confederation of farmers and kibbutz members who claim the government of Israel has abandoned them to the whims of Hamas rockets, so they want to separate from the State of Israel at least symbolically. The group’s leaders are already making demands: that the crossings into Gaza close. They say they support the peace process, but more pressure should be put on the PA to hold terrorists accountable. The leader, a former reserve soldier, is not the type of person you’d think would be advocating for secession. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, more than 10,000 rockets and mortars have been lobbed at the Western Negev. The area includes the traumatized town of Sterrot. Israeli officials say they know the situation is difficult, but they don’t take the secession threat seriously. 20% of Sterrot’s residents have left in the last few years because of insecurity.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.