‘This Is Where I Want to Be’

When Ayelet Khon moved back to the Kfar Azza kibbutz with her husband two months after the brutal Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7, the first thing she did was hang a string of rainbow-colored lights up on the front patio.

At night, when darkness drenches this community, the twinkling colors are the only lights visible.

“We are going to keep these lights on and never turn them off — even if we’re out for the evening — they are lights of hope,” Ms. Khon said she told her husband, Shar Shnurman.

Eight hundred people used to live here, including families with children who scampered about in the evenings. Everyone who survived the attack was evacuated on Oct. 8. Since then, their homes have been dark. Even the streetlamps are gone, mowed down when tanks plowed through the narrow lanes as the Israeli army arrived to defend against the attackers.

Ms. Khon, 56, and Mr. Shnurman, 62, are the only residents who have returned so far. At night, the silence is eerie, punctured episodically by the thunderous sound of bombs exploding in Gaza.

Some people may think they’re crazy, coming back here, just the two of them, Mr. Shnurman said. But to him, coming home was natural.

A damaged house in Kfar Azza after the attacks.Credit…Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

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