Sunday, November 06, 2005

About time!!!

A large protest demonstration is planned for Tuesday evening in Jerusalem against the government's post-expulsion treatment of the Gush Katif/Shomron expellees. Another event will be held Wednesday.
The Tuesday protest, to be held at 6 PM outside the Prime Minister's Residence near the Sheraton Plaza and Kings Hotels, is entitled, "Have you both expelled and thrown to the trash?" It was initiated by residents of the community of Talmon in the southern Shomron."Our brothers from Gush Katif and northern Shomron were thrown to the garbage by the government," the promotional literature states. "Their situation is deteriorating, and we are silent!" The purpose of the protest is three-fold:• to place the issue of the expellees' plight on the national agenda• to create pressure on the government to speed up the solutions• to show solidarity with our brothers the expelleesThose who wish to participate have been asked to spread the message to their acquaintances and relatives, to prepare signs and posters, and to bring laundry clips as well; the purpose was not explained.

Eleven weeks after the disengagement, many of the expelled families continue to be shuffled along from one short-lived proposed solution to another. Reports from Katif, Slav, Bdolach and Jerusalem.
Former Gush Katif residents and several Likud MKs met this week at the Jerusalem Gold Hotel, where many of the families have been deposited. One woman from N'vei Dekalim cried out, "What do you want? That we should just evaporate? Every plan that arises falls a second later because there is no money or whatever. You had money to put up new gravestones, so that there wouldn't be a scandal - but money for a roof over our heads you don't have. What harm did we do to you? Everyone says that the disengagement is behind us - but behind who? We're jailed here in the hotel. Our lives are stuck in a container and we don't see an end."B'Sheva correspondent Ariel Kahane visited the Gold Hotel this week, and reported, "Two and a half months after the erasure of the communities, and the emotional stability of the residents is deteriorating. Thousands of them are still closed up in cages of gold, conducting lives on the fringe of sanity. Children are sometimes locked out of their parents' automatic-lock rooms, while others receive a cold stare of rebuke from hotel workers for having taken an apple from the kitchen between meals. Some teenagers steal out of their rooms in the middle of the night to who-knows-where, while their parents in the other room have no control; their own situation is not much better.""This impossible situation," Kahane writes, "weakens their stature, and accelerates fissures in their family structure. Many of the adults are not working, and there are already couples that are beginning to crack because of the forced idleness."The problems do not exist only in the hotels. Many of the several hundred families in the new caravila [small and temporary pre-fab housing] village of Nitzan, north of Ashkelon, have no jobs and an uncertain housing future. The former Gush Katif community of Bdolach is a prime example: Some 35 Bdolach families (out of close to 40 that lived there on the eve of the expulsion) are currently in Nitzan - but of these, 30 were farmers, and only one of them has begun to work the fields! "That particular man was both industrious and fortunate," said Chaim B., who lived in Bdolach for the last six months of its existence, "as his parents had a plot of land on a moshav that they were not working, so he took it over. But everyone else is reduced to waiting for solutions from the government - and this involves finding land, problems of its distance from their homes, what type of agriculture, beginning anew, and the like. For people in their late 40's and 50's, it's not easy to start again - and especially when so much is settled."Chaim said that though there was much to do until now - "all sorts of arrangements, preparing for the holidays, etc." - now begins a potentially dangerous period of near-total idleness and boredom. "Some of the men used to study for an hour or two each day in the nearby Torat HaChaim yeshiva in N'vei Dekalim [which has re-located to Yad Binyamin, a half-hour drive away - ed.], but that arrangement has not yet been reinstated... They need jobs!"For others, the problems of boredom have not yet begun - because they are still busy figuring out where to live for the coming months. Some 30 families of the former Moshav Katif have moved to the King Saul Hotel in Ashkelon, after having lived for two months in the dormitories of the Kfar Pines Girls High School. Ten other Katif families moved to the Atzmonah "Faith City" (Ir HaEmunah) encampment near Netivot, hoping to join up with their former townsmen as soon as possible.

13 families from Morag of the former Gush Katif have moved into houses in southern Judea. 6 Morag families are in Nitzan, the other 20 have scattered - and for the most part, Morag no longer exists.
Rabbi Yitzchak Ideles, father of one of the 13 families who have moved to the community of Teneh, northeast of Be'er Sheva, is excited about the new challenge: "Teneh - also known as Omarim by the residents - is about 20 years old, and has some 110 families. It is basically a secular community that is showing signs of awakening to Judaism. They recently built a synagogue, several families have changed their lifestyles - and in general they have welcomed us with open arms. We will, at least for the first stage, be a community within a community, and good things will hopefully result."For Ideles and his family, this was the second expulsion; they were thrown out of the Sinai community of Atzmonah in 1982 to make way for the peace treaty with Egypt. But he looks only forward: "We are the first group to move into houses," he noted, "and the first group to move to a Yesha [Judea and Samaria] location, and we welcome this new challenge." The group is scheduled to remain in Teneh for at least two years.Many of the Morag families spent the first two months since the expulsion in the high school dormitory in Ofrah, north of Jerusalem.Another group of Morag families - six in number - is living at the caravila site of Nitzan, together with some 300 others from various Gush Katif communities. "It cannot be denied that Morag has fallen apart," said one former resident currently living in Nitzan. "We just hope that the six of us, and possibly others, will remain together when our permanent homes are finally built." When will that be? "The truth is, we don't know. We are hoping for a permanent community outside Nitzan, but the government says that at least 200 families must sign up - and so far, there are only 130. So the uncertainty continues..."A succinct update on other Gush Katif communities:

* Approximately 40 of 50 Gan-Or families are in Nitzan.

* Tel Katifa - currently in Even Shmuel, just south of Kiryat Gat and east of Ashkelon, hoping to move to new caravans in Even Shmuel.

* Netzer Hazani - must choose between Avnei Eitan in the Golan and Ein Tzurim (not ready yet) in the south.

* Atzmonah - some, joined by others from Gush Katif, are in the Faith City encampment, near Netivot in the western Negev. They are hoping that a caravila site will be ready within 2-3 months in the northern Negev/Lachish region so that they can build a new community there. Other families have made new homes in Yated, in the Halutza Sands area, south of Gaza.

* Netzarim - most in Yevul, in Halutzah Sands area, and some in Karnei Shomron, until housing units are ready in the Shomron city of Ariel.

* Moshav Katif - many to King Sha'ul Hotel in Ashkelon, some to Yad Binyamin, some to Atzmonah, and some on their own.

* Shirat HaYam - waiting for Prime Miniser's approval to move to Maskiyot in the Jordan Valley.

* Kfar Darom - still waiting to move into high-rise building in Ashkelon.

Support for Needy People of Gush Katif:
1. Avital and Natan Sharansky have started a short term emergency fund for families who have been evacuated from Gush Katif. They are evaluating each case carefully and would like to have funds available in an account so that they can give funds to these people who are currently in crisis as soon as possible to help them with their immediate needs. Thus far they have helped families having weddings in the coming weeks and several other short term emergency needs. There are many families with serious needs.Checks can be made out to Avital Sharansky and mailed to:Avital and Natan Sharanskyc/o Richard KovlerRechov Mishmar Ha'am 1/4Jerusalem 93226IsraelQuestions or further information can be obtained from Richard Kovler who works closely with the Sharanskys at

2. An organization called Lemaan Achai -Emergency Campaign for Gush Katif- is trying to be the coordinating body of all those interested in helping. One can call 1-700-501-300 to donate items, services or to volunteer one's time. People willing to donate funds are being asked to call 1-800-351-012 and to specify that the money is for Keren Lemaan Achai. Israeli tax deductible receipts will be issued through an organization called Paamonim.

3. United States donors of funds can give money with US tax deductible receipts through All4israel via their website or by contacting


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