Flowers Now Bloom Among Ashes

Stand for Israel  |  February 19, 2024

flowers, southern Israel, red, south
(Photo: Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

Vered Libstein founded a festival with her husband 19 years ago around the bright red anemones that blossom each year in Israel’s south. Today, after losing her husband, son, and mother on October 7, she tells The Times of Israel that seeing the flowers bloom again this year is a sign that “life is stronger than everything:”

For festival organizer Vered Libstein, everything is different.

Libstein lived in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz on the Gaza border hit hard by the October 7 Hamas attack that started the war. She lost her husband Ofir Libstein, her 19-year-old son Nitzan, her mother Bilha Epstein and her nephew Netta Epstein.

Ofir Libstein was on the kibbutz’s local security team and one of the first confirmed deaths on October 7. It took 12 days to find Nitzan’s body.

Seeing the dramatic red blooms return after so much loss pierces her heart, Libstein said as she walked through a field.

“On one side it’s hard, but on the other side it just proves to us that life is stronger than everything, and it renews itself, and we’ll need to find the strength to renew ourselves as well,” she said.