"When the soldiers took us out of the safe room, we drove over the bodies of terrorists"/Reuven Castro
When you ask Ben Suchman, CEO of Be'eri Printing, how he wants to see his future, he doesn't sail with fantastic descriptions of the destroyed kibbutz that will be rehabilitated and become a shining real estate gem, with green eyes in his eyes.
No, his request is much more modest: to go back to what it was on October 6. To his private paradise, with its warm old houses, the communal meals in the "dining hall", the nickname for the dining room, and the excited preparations for the 70th anniversary of the farm, which were supposed to open the next afternoon, in a joint activity on the large lawn.
And it was precisely on this festive day that a disaster befell them, which began early in the morning with massive missile fire. "I drank coffee," he says for the umpteenth time about what he went through that terrible day. It starts almost technically, and continues with excitement: "They made Barry a target, because of the distance from the strip, only four kilometers, a few minutes by motorcycle. We went into the safe room at seven, my wife, the 13-year-old twins and the 8-year-old boy. The kids understood everything. When I heard the shots, I was sure the IDF was chasing a 'terrorist and a half.'
"Then the kibbutz's WhatsApp messages begin, 'I have terrorists at home.' I thought people were exaggerating, that they were in the movie. My naiveté continued when friends told them they were being shot at the safe room, that the house had burned down. I have correspondence with my sister at nine o'clock, explaining to her that the army is firing and that evil is already behind us. Then we get a message that the army is withdrawing – and that's the scariest moment: the shooting isn't ours.
"At 10:30, my mother calls and says, 'They're at my house.' The children see me talking to her for two hours on the phone, completely pale. I hear the knocking on the door, shouting in Arabic. It was scared to death. You know somebody's going to die now. Then they go and knock on her window and set fire to the balcony. The smoke enters the safe room and I explain to her how to put the rag so that it won't go inside, and promises that the army is on its way, she must hold on.
"My wife and sister are trying to direct forces home to her and there was no one. At 11:30, I heard the voice of a murdered woman, of people being led by force. At 12:30, Mom said she was tired and then, 'Oh he's in.' The terrorist asked her to take off her jewelry. She spoke Hebrew and he spoke Arabic. Her fear of him seemed to dissipate a bit. Maybe she's come to terms with what was about to happen to her. Then he tries to take a ring off her finger that she has never been able to take off, and the call is cut off.
"When the soldiers took us out of the safe room, we drove over the bodies of terrorists. And when we saw that the hostages had been rescued from the dining hall, we were sure that she had been taken there and would soon return. A few days later, we were told she had been kidnapped, and two days later, that she had been murdered. We had a feeling that maybe they had misidentified them, but then they returned the ring that hadn't come off my mother's hand and we realized that this was the end."
The destruction at Kibbutz Be'eri. "I thought people were exaggerating, that they were in the movie"/Reuven Castro
Now it's on the balcony of one of the WeWork rooms they opened at the hotel, and has become a busy remote office behind the blue of the Dead Sea. "Maybe once," he smiles, "we'll still see the sea of Gaza from the window."
After the rescue, they went to his sister in Lapid and slept there. The first thought that crossed his mind was how to get the pattern back to work, because he had been taught that there is no such thing as missing a shift. "This wasn't our first event," he says with an explosive, life-hungry energy that pushed him to open the factory a week after his kibbutz suffered a terrible blow.
"Since 2000, we have been involved in rounds of fighting that affect our factory, and yet we do not miss shifts. The reopening of the plant took on symbolic significance, but also business significance. Customers trust us and we need to get the job done."
Be'eri is a full-fledged cooperative kibbutz, meaning that the factory's CEO and the workers in the dining room receive the same salary. The kibbutz was established in 1947, as one of the "11 points" settlements. 1,200 residents lived there before Simchat Torah, with a long waiting list of girls and boys who wanted to return home.
The printing factory, wholly owned by the kibbutz, was established in 1950 and has become a digital superpower that provides printing services, advanced mailing services, check books, counterfeit protected documents, identification and credit cards, and gift cards. Its success made Bari a wealthy kibbutz, which helped maintain the total cooperative that was almost extinct from the world.
With a refund
The Freedom of Smooth Hair Skin with a Revolutionary Home Appliance
In association with Sensica
Barry Press. "The customers trust us and we have to get the job done"/Reuven Castro
Suchman saw the destroyed houses, but also the dining room standing, some of the sidewalks were intact, the electricity was not damaged, and he was filled with optimism
In the building of the "Barry Press" there is always someone. At a quarter to seven he called Tatiana, who was sitting at the reception, to ask if everything was okay. Five minutes later, she told him that she had seen terrorists outside and wanted to lock herself in the safe room. The terrorists fired at several windows, went inside, and when they saw that no one was there, they lost interest and moved on. Miraculously, almost nothing was hit, except for a bullet that penetrated one of the packages and reached the customer with it.
The people of Bari, who did not leave the kibbutz for a moment, slept in print on Sunday. Suchman arrived there on Tuesday. He went first to my mother's house, which burned to the ground, then to his house. He saw the destroyed houses, but also the dining room standing, some of the sidewalks were intact, the electricity was not damaged - and he was filled with optimism.
"I came with the intuition of, 'Let's get to work.' The community is broken into pieces, but the message - not all is lost. At the hotel, we held a meeting every day and read out the names of the 110 abductees and missing persons, and the atmosphere is harsh. A week later, I go on stage and say that the printing press is back to work, and that we held a memorial ceremony for the ten workers who were killed and lit ten candles, and that's how we took over the point again, there was renewed hope. We also had three abductees and Raya Rotem came back to us with her daughter.
"At first we were a small group of crazy people, who come to the factory anyway and drive back and forth to the Dead Sea. The military didn't really want civilians walking around between its legs in a closed military zone, so we had to organize a lobby to help us with the army and the Home Front Command. Now most of the workers have returned to work, and they arrive in an armored bus from the surrounding communities."
"We're in an industry that's not sexy, but manages to attract young people, because we're a living, kicking, very active business." / Reuven Castro
Not sexy, but attractive
Suchman, 47, has been running the printing press for five years, with all the board members younger than him. "We are in an industry that is not sexy, but manages to attract young people, because we are a living, kicking, very active business, we don't let the geographical distance and the nature of the business affect us. We do our best and constantly succeed in growing, developing and continuing to be relevant to customers, and operate the largest business in the envelope."
The printing press employs 150 kibbutz buildings, and another 250 kibbutzim and surrounding communities, and its cardboard packaging factory in Yavne employs another 150 workers. The factory works with banks, government ministries and giant companies, but Suchman did not fear for a moment that the terrorists would steal sensitive information. "Our information security is at the standards of insurance companies and banks and even the best hacker can't break in. Even with data backup, there is no problem, because the data is with us for a few days and is deleted. We don't hoard it."
Israel Post. "There Could Be a Story of Revival" / Shahar Fleischmann
From paper to digital
The main business of the Bari printing press is still printing bills, bank statements, insurance companies, municipal property tax and water tax reports and accounts, collection letters, as well as PDF sheets, and electronic material supplied at the same time. Since the world of paper is dwindling, they set up an e-commerce website for selling printing products called "PIX" and "Albums", a website for designing and printing photo albums.
In order to meet the high technological standards, it employs 25 programmers and analysts, who perform data mining and analyze customers' buying habits, in order to produce products tailored to them. In addition, there are also data editors and graphic studios, who work with them to create a sophisticated package for the client. Bari manufactures plastic cards for retail chains and Max Isracard's credit cards. The third leg of the business is a partnership with "Bar Distribution" in the mailing company "Messer", which deals with quantitative mail.
It was only natural that because of the specialization in the postal field, the Be'eri Printing Company would submit to the state's tender for the privatization of Israel Post. On November 2, the management wrote to the Companies Authority and asked to postpone the date of the privatization tender by six months, the estimated period of time in which they would be able to get back on their feet.
"The Competitors Reached Out"/Reuven Castro
The Battle for Mail
The fact that they own Messer may be an advantage in terms of professional experience, but a major disadvantage when it comes to competition law. "The partnership with Ido Bergman of Bar Distribution, who is a beloved and important partner to us, is stronger than anything else, and we will not jeopardize it. The Competition Authority did not rule out our participation in the tender, and there is still a long way to go. We came to examine the opportunity in this tender."
And you have fallen into the hands of the ministers, David Amsalem and Shlomo Karai, who want to reject it at all costs.
"I don't want or want to be part of it and serve as a tool in a struggle to which I am not a party. What is more, the ownership of the Be'eri printing press could be the story of the rebirth of the State of Israel. This is a historic event. The state got an opportunity to start-up and claim ownership of the entire country. Turning the envelope into the rope of resurrection, which is an important part of the process, can be done using the locomotive of the Bari printing press. The social bank that will be based on the Postal Bank, and the postal company that will provide a livelihood for many people.
"Right now I don't know how to turn this vision into reality, because I don't have the ability and leisure to export strategic plans and bring funding to something so big and complex. Since they waited so many years with the privatization of the postal service, it will be possible to postpone it by another six months" (after the interview it was learned that it had been decided to postpone the tender in order to allow the Bari printing press to participate. L.R.).
Two months have passed since the massacre in Bari, and 200 workers arrive every day, eat at the dining hall that opened after three weeks, and the rest work remotely, from the 16th floor of a hotel on the Dead Sea. "The printing guys were joined by a few dozen other young people who are clearing dirt, cleaning and preparing the kibbutz for a return to a minimal routine."
Was there a thought of moving the pattern from Bari to another location?
"It's neither possible nor practical. If it hadn't been turned on, the pattern would have closed. Our competitors, Onya Shapira and Orda Print, gave us assistance in printing materials, without threatening to harm us, but only to reach out and help in an inspiring way, and we thank them. The people of Israel are unusually supportive. There are a lot of online orders, but its main business is B2B."
You are a rich kibbutz. Your ability to recover will be greater and faster than that of weaker communities in the envelope.
"If the Be'eri printing press hadn't returned to work, no amount of money sitting on the kibbutz's balance sheet would have helped, because it has no meaning in the spirit of people's revival. The resurrection has nothing to do with money. We are children of pioneers. For years we lived the bourgeois dream, and today there is an understanding that we are, once again, at the beginning of Zionism. We want to come back to Bari.
"In the meantime, they are building a neighborhood for us on Kibbutz Hatzerim, but returning to the land is an idea that most of the members connect with. We must end the war, bring home the hostages, some of whom returned are good friends of mine and their children the same age as mine. It is impossible to leave the situation as it was. Reality must change. It looks like we'll have to rebuild safe rooms, but we can send the children alone to the dining room and go to work."
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- Bari Print
- Gaza War