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A compilation of sequential reports on their status


So what can we say about the casting out of the Gazan Jews from their homes and orchards and greenhouses into the streets? They are patriotic, productive, creative, hard-working and, in the main, religious. The State took a year and a half to relocate animals from the zoo, but the Gazan refugees were brutally kicked out of their towns and villages within days -- and given inadequate resources. Much of the promised compensation turned out to be vaporware. Housing described as sturdy homes with roofs that could withstand Arab shelling turned out to be paper trailers guaranteed to self-destruct within 3 years. The only sustained effort has been the harassesment and humiliation the refugees suffer at the hands of the government agencies and petty bureaucrats that are supposed to help them, the phone company, the insurance companies and the leftist press -- and, of course, there's the reassurances that flow from officialdom that all is well and that almost all the settlers are comfortable and compensated.

This is what we know: the secularist Israeli Gov't, posing as practical patriots and using USA pressure as their excuse, did scatter the mainly religious communities of Gush Katif, with intent to destroy family unity and parental authority, and take away the support system that the members of the community created for each other. Given the treatment of the Jewish families and the refusal to keep them together as communities -- their major request -- the breakup of the communities appears to be the objective of Sharon's despotism. The best comparison I can make is to the situation in 1950, when the Yemeni Jews were flown to Israel. The then Israeli government -- in their desire to promote modernity and secularism -- destroyed parental authority, the Yemini family structure and respect for religion. The most permanent result of their endeavors was a steady stream of prostitutes in Tel Aviv.

Let us hope that, with the help of Jews around the world, these new wards of the state will be able to reconstruct their lives to regain their self-respect and someday be as productive as once they were.

What follows is a set of reports, both general and anecdotal -- time slices on what's been happening to the "settlers" in the months that have followed their eviction last August.

Bernice Lipkin
Editor, Think-Israel

Let's begin with what sparked this inquiry.

A contributor to Think-Israel wrote that he understood that the settlers had already received satisfactory compensation. When challenged, he wrote an inquiry to an Israeli consulate in America that said in part:

"There is a big argument between people here in America about compensation for the Gaza settlers. A while back I heard your Consul General on the radio when he stated that majority of people were compensated and in a neighborhood of $300,000.00. I have no reason not to believe him. Also I know a few people from Israel who support this information. At the same time many people say that the Israeli government had done nothing for these people and only a few were compensated. Which one is true?"

This is the answer he got back:

December 14, 2005 "Thank you for your inquiry. The figure you mention is about the average compensation received by families who chose to cooperate with the disengagement process and who signed up for the program before the actual evacuation. By the time of the disengagement, some 900 Million Shekels were already paid as compensation for over 90% of the evacuees, and more money (about four times as much) was put aside for later transfer, and it is now paid in installments as well. While some evacuees had to wait a few days for the first installment of the compensation funds due to technical problems, others have simply refused to cooperate in any way with this plan, and have never registered to claim their share of the money.

"The same situation is true for the housing problems many of the evacuees are facing. The State has offered various temporary solutions, including hundreds of high-end houses and apartments from Ashkelon to Arad, while the permanent alternative communities are being constructed. However, many of the evacuees have refused to move to temporary dwellings. Those evacuees have either refused to move out of the hotels they initially moved to until their temporary homes are ready, or have opted to live in their own makeshift illegal camp sites.

"While the process of evacuation was not perfectly executed, difficult stories that arose from it are sometimes "spinned" by parties that oppose the disengagement, creating a wrong impression of the government's policies towards this population. There is much misinformation spreading on these issues, and the State authorities are mostly focusing on the practical details of helping each family and small community, leaving the big picture a bit blurred. This is also why I have no data on employment within the evacuated population. The general unemployment rate in Israel currently stands at about 8.9% (2003 Q3, seasonally adjusted, source: Bank of Israel), which is the lowest it has been since 2001.

Shalom and thank you for your concern

Basic Facts:

The question asked was: how many people were paid in full before or around the time of the expulsion?

Does the memo answer this? NO.

Using the information in the memo, we can, however, put boundaries on the number of families that were fully compensated.

THE ABSOLUTELY MOST POSSIBLE: 650 families. (dividing 195 million by 1982) This would leave 1331 families -- 2/3s of the families -- without a cent.

IF THE MONEY WERE EVENLY DISTRIBUTED AMONG 1784 FAMILIES: (90% of 1982 families = 1784) Each family would have received $109,305 by the time of the expulsion.

Is that likely? NO.


The memo says, "By the time of the disengagement, some 900 Million Shekels were already paid as compensation for over 90% of the evacuees."

I would guess that the diplomat used a simple invert, i.e., 10% were actually adequately compensated and could travel around the world talking about what a good deal they got.

And no, there has been no improvement in compensation after the dispersion. In fact, as you can read below, the situation has deteriorated. The government -- whether by design or by ordinary bureaucratic bumble -- is mean-spirited and incompetent. The refugees have become more demoralized. The only strong support has come from private sources. One small anecdote illustrates this. A private group in America collected some 30 tons of warm clothes and supplies for the refugees to have during this cold Israeli winter and shipped them to Israel. These needed supplies are sitting in an Israeli warehouse -- the Government wants to tax these donated articles! (Beth Goodtree suggested a while back -- Think-Israel, July-August, 2005 -- the Jews declare themselves refugees from Gaza. Even the U.N. would treat them better.)


  1. The Government has in general done a shoddy job in transferring citizens who lived and thrived in Gaza to other parts of Israel.
  2. A knowledge of arithmetic isn't a requirement for the diplomatic service.

"The Situation Of Evacuees From Katif"
by Arlene Kushner (,
Senior Investigative Journalist, Israel Resource News Agency
September 7, 2005


Information for this report has been acquired from authoritative sources: The Israel Legal Forum the group of more than 50 lawyers working pro bono and for token payment on behalf of the evacuees; Lema'an Achai a non-governmental social service agency in Ramat Beit Shemesh that has assumed major responsibility for providing counseling for the evacuees; Jewish Family Services, Israel a non-governmental social service agency that has been providing some assistance to evacuees; and evacuees themselves.


The realities with which the evacuees are coping are best understood set in context:

1) The Israeli governmental agency responsible for attending to the people expelled from Gush Katf has insisted on dealing with individual families.

The Disengagement Authority, SELA, from the beginning of this process has been willing to negotiate compensation only with individual families, who then presumably would make their own independent arrangements for which SELA would have no responsibility. In some relatively few instances, SELA has offered to provide housing for individual families.

The Gush Katif evacuees, on the other hand, have insisted that only relocation as communities will meet their needs. Community leaders indicated to SELA that they wished to have the Israel Legal Forum negotiate on their behalf, as communities; the government authorities refused.

There is precedent for what they have been requesting: When the Jewish population was moved out of the Sinai in 1982, they were relocated as communities.

As a result of this impasse, situations have arisen in which the government is maintaining it has provided places for people to live, but the people are saying that the scattered accommodations being suggested are not acceptable to them, and they consider that they have not been provided for.

2) By any measure one might use, the government was ill-prepared for moving the more than 8,000 residents of Gush Katif.

In part, this is because preparation took place over a period of months, rather than the three years of preparation done before the Sinai evacuation. Thus a great deal of transient living is facing the evacuees.

Stop-gap accommodations were all that awaited most of the families when they were removed from their homes. While some small percent had arranged more stable accommodations for example, having already accepted compensation or agreed to move to caravans the plan for the majority of evacuees was short-term placement in hotels. Mere days before the date of evacuation, however, SELA authorities realized that the 1,000 hotel rooms they had reserved were insufficient for the 1,700 families that were to be moved out: 2,500 were necessary. Officials of SELA, aided by members of the Legal Forum, scoured the country seeking additional hotel rooms. So inadequate has been the planning that there are cases in which whole families with several children were moved into one hotel room, with mattresses on the floor.

In some instances, Gush Katif families declined hotel rooms offered because the arrangements were severely inadequate or would have caused the scattering of the community. In some of these cases, the community set up tents, considered a preferable option; in other instances non-governmental offers of alternative accommodation, such as school dormitories, were accepted.

There were no government-provided social workers on the scene at various hotels to assist with the trauma of relocation and to give practical logistical advice. Evacuees distraught, angry, confused, and depressed found themselves having to also deal with such pragmatic issues as having no place to do laundry. It has been the large scale provision of assistance by volunteer professional social service and legal volunteers, and a large cadre of laypersons willing to help with a myriad of details and provide comfort that has greatly ameliorated the situation for the evacuees.

Originally the stay in hotels was slated to be for ten days, but was extended. It is certainly expected, however, this first stage of interim accommodations will come to an end before long. For most of the evacuees, this will be followed by a period of living in more solid but still temporary housing, for a period of two or three years as permanent solutions are worked out. When they left Gush Katif two weeks ago, two-thirds of the evacuees had no idea where they would be going for this stage.

The temporary housing will be provided largely via apartments, and in some instances caravans. At Nitzan, 400 caravans (euphemistically called caravillas) are planned and some 200 families were able to go straight there and skip the stop-gap hotel accommodations. Additional families, coming from various Gush Katif communities, have since moved in. They have encountered severe difficulties, as they have been provided only with a complex of caravans with no synagogue, clinics, stores or schools local to them. The government is spending $100,000 to construct each of these caravans, which will be destroyed in three years.

As to the final permanent stage of housing, when the people left Gush Katif, a full 90% had no idea where this permanent stage would bring them. The Israel Legal Forum had proposed viable solutions such as settlements in the Negev or in Nitzanim to which whole communities might be moved. These proposals were made in sufficient time for them to be properly activated, but were rejected by the government. Some suggestions made by the government were not viable. For example, farmers rejected the possibility of relocation to the Galilee because climate and soil conditions are so different from those of Gush Katif that they would have no farming expertise; they require a southern setting in order to sustain themselves.

According to head of the Israel Legal Forum, Dr. Yitzhak Miron, all claims by the government that it was absolved of responsibility to prepare accommodations for families that did not negotiate before the evacuation are without basis in law. The government made a decision to move these people; the government had a responsibility to provide for them.

3) Reports that the evacuees will be generously compensated are in error: Monetary compensation will be provided according to a formula involving length of residence in the community, whether the family owned or was renting, and other factors. The original full package of compensation for all parties 2.5 billion shekels was increased to 4.5 billion shekels when the Israel Legal Forum went to court to expose the inadequacy of the projected sum. This larger amount is still 50% less than is needed for families to restore themselves to anything approximating their former positions. In brief: for families who owned houses, roughly $700 per square meter, some $50,000 for land, and $1,000 for each year each individual over age three lived in the community; for renters, some $10,000; for certain land owners possibly compensation via new land, although the plan is not working out successfully.

Government threats are illegal -- according to Dr. Miron to reduce compensation of persons who refused to leave voluntarily before August 17 are being challenged by the Forum in court now.

The current situation

Many, if not most, of those evacuated from Gush Katif are without income. Either their farms were dismantled or their jobs were terminated. Securing employment has been problematic for many because of uncertainty as to where they are going to be located. There have been numerous reports of volunteers providing ready pocket cash for people who found themselves without enough to manage.

Dramatic efforts are under way to move some greenhouses and the plants they contain to new locations within the Green Line. This is particularly true in Atzmona, but also in other former settlements such as Kfar Darom and Netzarim. (Note: Many of the greenhouses are being left intact via an arrangement to turn them over to the Palestinians.) Thousands of volunteers have been working furiously to bring everything out but will not be able to entirely succeed; much will be lost because of the deadline for the final closing of Gush Katif this Friday, September 9, so that the area can be entirely turned over to the Palestinians next week. Urgent appeals to extend the deadline have not been honored.

Those who had mortgages on their former property within Gush Katif are required to continue to make payments. In some instances it may be possible to ask the bank to freeze the mortgage until the compensation comes through. It should be noted, however, that taking mortgage costs out of the compensation package means having very little left for securing something else.

The evacuees' belongings, of necessity left behind in their homes, have been packed in containers (with a maximum of two containers permitted) and shipped to storage sites. Considerable anxiety and frustration has accompanied this entire process. There were incidents of looting of belongings before they were packed and there have been incidents of damage in the storage areas. It remains unclear as to whether there is insurance covering the belongings. The compensation package does include something for moving expenses (14,000 to 21,000 NIS roughly $3,100 to 4,600), but in a great number of cases the cost of moving and storing belongings far exceeds this. Some families arranged for additional containers and storage on their own, because what was being provided was inadequate.

The beginning of the school year has generated additional anxiety and emotional problems with children feeling disoriented, and parents worried because they know there will be further transitions that are not good for their children.

It remains unclear by when people will be required to leave the hotels. A great many people still do not know where they are going for their next stage of resettlement. According to a lawyer with the Israel Legal Forum, the government is not making an effort to insure that everyone will be provided for in this next stage. There have been reports of arrangements in the planning that fell through; some community groups are making their own arrangements. The problem stated above regarding a strong determination to remain together applies here in the face of apartments offered in scattered locales in some instances.

Less then 50% of the families have received some government money at this point. 50,000 NIS in relief money (to be deducted from the eventual compensation package) was to have come speedily to every family that applied. At this point, any family that has applied for emergency relief but has not completed the entire application for compensation has been denied the relief.

"Hear Oh Israel: A Powder Keg Is Waiting To Explode"
by Harv Weiner
Founder and moderator of Isralert (
October 12, 2005.

Why is the world -- Jew and Gentile alike -- ignoring the deteriorating plight of the Jews expelled from Gaza? Here's the reality: tent cities, families sharing squalid hotel rooms, communal structures destroyed and residents scattered, delays in promised funding and housing, lies at the highest levels of government, mortgage payments due on homes no longer there, no employment, no access to personal goods, exorbitant funeral expenses ("because you don't live here"), children jailed, soldiers seeking counseling or committing suicide over the guilt of Jew-expelling-Jew. A powder keg is waiting to explode. You can no longer claim that you did not know.

"Waiting to explode. There's still time to fix disengagement errors"
by Ami Shaked
former resident of Kfar Yam;
security chief for the Gaza Beach Regional Council,7340,L-3154363,00.html
October 12, 2005

Since the expulsion, there's not a lot of time to watch TV. But we were amazed the other day to see there the sweet face of Ilan Cohen, director of the Prime Minister's Office, telling the country with measured words just how much we failed to understand the situation, how much good Dov Weisglass' plan has really been for us, and how much more than planned the disengagement is costing us.

And we, in our naivete, just don't get it. We just can't understand why two months after this dear man's workers destroyed our homes; our children still cry, still dream of their homes and want to see their friends. They just can't understand why Dad doesn't get up to go to work anymore, or why Mom doesn't really have a family farm to run anymore. Or how people are living in tents and temporary housing. And where, exactly, are the schools.

Wasting money

And we don't understand why the Knesset Finance Committee authorized NIS 110 million (USD 23.7 million) to buy land for us at exorbitant prices, when the State itself owns thousands of dunams in the area.

We don't understand the vast amounts paid to building contractors building our refugee camps. There is no question that at these prices it would have been possible to build proper communities, if the politicians were more concerned with the fate of the evictees than that of their contractor buddies.

We don't understand, because we are simple people who conducted a just struggle against the State, with no hint of violence, under the banner of "We'll win with love."

We did everything we could to prevent a civil war. We are naive, and we don't understand how it is possible that no director general has spoken to us, spending time instead with potential voters of the big boss, a man who betrayed us and sold us down the river in exchange for closing the criminal investigations against him.

Ilan Cohen's task is to make us disappear from the eyes of the voter, because Jewish refugees aren't so good for elections. It just doesn't look good.

He and the rest of Sharon's image guardians planned their cruel moves to look good to potential voters. And so the Gaza expulsion was carried out with no preparations for the refugees' future, under the bombastic slogan, "With sensitivity and determination."

But for some reason I, the client, can't seem to remember any sensitivity. I do remember the incitement that preceded the expulsion and the police "situation analyses" about those damn settlers and their threats to democracy, and the potential they would open fire.

I remember the violence against our children at the Kissufim Crossing, the illegal arrests and fabrication of evidence, the young girls in jail and the bulldozers destroying our homes and our lives.

And I remember the march of soldiers through the streets of Neve Dekalim, pandering a fear I will never forget. And I remember the commander of the eviction company proudly declaring he went through the operation without hugging anyone. What a hero.

Deceit and fraud

Ilan Cohen is the inventor of a system of deceit and fraud that includes plaster walls, paint, grass carpet being used to build the refugee camps at Nitzan and other places.

It is fraudulent because beyond the creativity familiar to us from puzzles and Lego, we have nothing.

There are no crops for the farmers and no infrastructure, no industrial zone or places to work.

Our communal structure and leadership were torn to bits. And anyone thinking this is a temporary situation is living in a dream world.

Ilan, you are guilty of expelling and uprooting us without making any alternate preparations. By breaking up our community despite recommendations from every professional body around to preserve them. By destroying our sources of income and parental daily schedules, which create clashes and splits within individual family units. By creating social detachment and no connection to our surroundings, for fear that our current surroundings are temporary and out of fear of another.

The cost of dying

A member of Moshav Netzer Hazani, Hezi Hazani (no relation to the man for whom it was named), 53, dropped dead yesterday in the market place in Netivot, where he and his wife made a stop on the way to his son's IDF army ceremony in southern Israel. There was no prior heart condition. They have six children ranging in age from 8 to 25, including two sons in the army. The Hazanis had lived in Netzer Hazani for 25 years.

A close friend of the family who made a shiva call today (there is only one day of shiva, ending with Yom Kippur), said that according to Yedida, Hezi's widow, they had to pay NIS 30,000 to bury him in Rison L'tzion, because he is not a resident and if one is buried someplace other than his home town, that's what it costs.

Hazani's "home town" now in lies in ruins, bulldozed in Gaza. The Hazanis, like many others from their moshav, have been living for the last two months in the guest house of Hispin, in the Golan Heights, where they were sent by the Disengagement Authority when the only other solution offered was apartments but the moshav did not want to be split up.

The same family friend spoke to a municipal worker from another region about the issue. He explained, "That's the price one pays when he wants burial in a specific place where he doesn't have the right to be buried.

"So where should he have been buried" asked the friend.

Hazani's mother is currently in America, visiting a daughter in Boston, and could not make it back to Israel for the funeral or for the shiva.

He had originally worked in agriculture in Netzer Hazani but later worked with a building company. The family had previously decided not to go to Ein Tzurim, with the rest of the Netzer Hazani people, but to rent in the Golan Heights for a year. However, now Yedida does not know where they will go or what they will do.

The General Situation of Netzer Hazani

According to Anita Tucker, the situation is "Even worse than before. They haven't started building mobile homes in Ein Tzurim yet because it hasn't been straightened out between the kibbutz and the government.

"We also have no access to our containers, because we were told by Zim that we will have to pay NIS 7,000 just to open our containers to remove things, and then we'll have to take the containers with us, as they will no longer be Zim's responsibility, but we don't have our permanent homes yet and we don't even know where we'll be so where would we put them."

Tucker's son, Aviel, has opened a kollel in the Golan for the Netzer Hazani people, for which she is trying to raise money.

Netzer Women in the Golan: A personal note

There were a few women sitting around a table. Yedida, who is a pre-school teacher, Nava Yisraeli, a pre-school director, and Chaya Shifman. Chaya was a teacher in Sderot, in the Negev who says she has "taken a sabbatical". The others are unemployed.

The Golan is particularly cold in the winter and the Netzer people, who have nowhere to put their containers, don't know what they'll do about winter clothing, since most of them have not yet received the NIS 50,000 advance on compensation.

Chaya says that the process of receiving compensation is long and difficult, and it works better if one has connections.

They also say that the teenagers are having a particularly difficult time of it; they are asking questions about the disengagement, about the state, about religion. Some of them are in high schools that are far away from the Golan, but the Ministry of Education won't pay the cost of bus transportation, that is expensive.

"They were in such a hurry to get us out of our homes, but it's to add to that crime that the government didn't worry about employment, about our possessions, or about where we would live. "There certainly is not a solution for every settler."

Just before I leave, I'm leaning over the reception counter, looking at some of the tourist brochures. I feel a loving hand on my shoulder and hear "Shana tova". I turn around. It is a woman dressed in the hotel uniform. "Oh, I thought you were someone else", she apologizes, as she walks out the door. I follow and ask her what her take is on the situation. "I wouldn't change places with them", she says. "A family with five kids in two hotel rooms? But we do our best".

Other Hotels

At the time of this writing, there was still no solution for the people staying in the Shirat Hayam Hotel in Ashkelon.

The Gadid people, who had a terrible experience on Rosh Hashana at the Shalom Plaza branch in Tiberias, say they were promised that the hotel would be "cleaned up" in time for Succot. Some of them will stay at Neve Ilan for Succot and some of them will go either back to the Shalom Plaza, if it is in better condition, or somewhere else -- they don't know where yet.

Shoshi Journeau reports that the Disengagement Authority has told the Gadid people that at the end of October they have to leave Neve Ilan, even if their caravans are not yet ready in Masuot Yitzhak, which is waiting to absorb them. Meanwhile, the Authority has told them to choose from among the apartments available in Beer Sheva, Ashkelon and elsewhere.

Report #11: State Of (Evicted) Gush Katif, Northern Gaza And Northern Shomron Communities
(commissioned by Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research)
Toby Klein Greenwald (
October 20, 2005.

Update on the 30,000 shekel burial for Netzer Hazani victim

As a result of this report, and the fact that the researcher contacted the office of Minister of Science and Technology Matan Vilnai, the matter was dealt with by his office and they contacted us yesterday (Sunday) to report that all the money would be returned to Hezi Hazani's family and that, as a result of this terrible story, the situation won't repeat itself. Vilnai's staff is eager to let the public know that if, G-d forbid, another evacuee dies, his family will not have to pay to have their loved one buried.

Moshav Katif

According to the internal Gush Katif website,, the community of Moshav Katif, that has been living in very difficult dorm conditions since the disengagement, thought they would finally achieve a modicum of peace of mind when they move to the guest house of Hafetz Haim, after it is vacated by the people of Ganei Tal, who are due to move into their caravans in Yad Binyamin (which, the people of Ganei Tal say, are not yet ready, and in livable condition).

The Katif people, however, had a rude awakening this week when their representatives were told that the Disengagement Authority was willing to pay the hotel only 10% of the cost of the rooms. The hotel had been willing to give a 20% discount, but the Authority reportedly wanted a 90% discount. It also insisted that the hotel provide only one hot meal a day, and that the evacuees would have to manage in their rooms for the other two meals. Having visited the Ganei Tal community in Hafetz Haim, we can report that the rooms are very small, about 60% the size of a regular hotel room, and there are no cooking facilities. Nevertheless, the Moshav Katif people were willing to live in those conditions, but the deal fell through, according to them, due to the demands of the Disengagement Authority.

The Disengagement Authority was contacted for a response but there is only a recorded message that the spokesman will be back after the 19th.


The community of Bdoloch staying in the Shirat Hayam Hotel has been told that the hotel will be closed, and it should stop providing food and other services. We spoke with Uri Mensharf, the Disengagement Authority contact at the hotel, who refused to give details without permission of the Authority spokesman, but he's abroad on vacation and won't be back till the end of the week.

According to Adi, a volunteer at the hotel, there are three families there with no where to go; the others are making do at the homes of friends and families. Some families have moved into caravans in Nitzan. Aaron Farjun, spokesman for Gadid, who moved into a caravan in Nitzan several weeks ago, said they are very poor quality and when asked about the fire-proofedness of them, he laughed and said, "First ask if they're waterproof!" since there have been problems with water pipes leaking, bursting, and some of the waterproofing tests done in recent days proved that some of the caravans (the percentage is not clear) will not withstand the winter.


Shoshi Journeau of the Gadid community staying in the Neve Ilan Hotel, said that some of the families are, for the Succot holiday, back in the same decrepit hotel in Tiberias where they were for Rosh Hashana (as Neve Ilan once again needed their rooms for regular tourists), but the hotel supposedly put in the effort to have cleaned up its act. "There is a little bit of improvement," says Shoshi, "but we've stopped complaining because it doesn't help much, one can't ask them for too much."

Yesterday (Sunday) representatives from Gadid went to see the apartment hotel rooms that the Disengagement Authority had offered them in Ashkelon for the next four months. "There are very tiny rooms, one small burner per family, very uncomfortable. It appears they didn't even check the place before they sent us to see it," says Shoshi. "The main thing is they say, 'We offered the settlers and they refused.' They also offered larger apartments, that were empty, but for that we'd have to empty all our containers, to get to the furniture we'd need, and we're afraid that if we leave the hotel for something temporary, that isn't really a solution, no one will take a second look at us. Now the ball is in their court. For Simhat Tora we were invited to the settlement of Dolev." What about the problem with no proper laundry arrangements? "The laundry problem was partially solved. We try to solve our problems through friends, but it's frustrating."

Kerem Atzmona

The containers of Kerem Atzmona, which were packed by the sub-contractors of the Ministry of Defense of Israel, were delivered to their homes in Nitzan this week, and the community's people were shocked to discover that refrigerators, washing machines, stoves, bookshelves, closets and other furniture had been broken. Other objects were missing. Not all the boxes even made it into the containers, because, they were told by the packers who were also the unpackers, "There wasn't room."

Asaf Shariv, media advisory for PM Ariel Sharon, had told this researcher several weeks before the disengagement, when asked if the contents of the containers would be insured, that "the settlers will not bear the financial burden of anything that is broken or missing".

In general, said Avia Halevi, our contact in Kerem Atzmona, originally from Toronto, "The attitude to us during the disengagement was terrible. It took seven hours to go by bus from Kerem Atzmona to Sderot, a 30-minute trip. First we sat on the bus for three hours, and they wouldn't even let pregnant women who need the bathroom to get off. Finally they let them go to the bathroom at Kissufim, after a four-hour wait."

They are currently in Karmia and Nitzan, neither of which encampment has security rooms in the homes or nearby bomb shelters.

Karmia and Nitzan

According to Yossi Ben Baruch, the project director of the building in Karmia and Nitzan, they are "in the process" of building security rooms in Karmia. "We are waiting for money from the Ministry of Defense; it is now being negotiated between the owner of Evelon Technologies, and the Ministry of Defense." There have already been attempts of infiltrations by terrorists into Karmia.

Ben Baruch said that there are currently 56 buildings in Karmia, of which 46 have been occupied. The remaining 10 are all 90 square meters. He said that there are no security rooms being built now at Nitzan and regarding bomb shelters, "It is in the hands of the Ministry of Defense and other ministries." When he was asked if the caravans were fire-proof, he said, "We build according to the Institute of Standards," but he would not provide documentation proving this.

Aaron Farjun, a spokesperson for Bdoloch currently living at Nitzan, laughed when asked if they're fireproof. "Ask if they're waterproof! They're substandard. There are all kinds of problems with them. They're made of a little bit of cement wiped over a piece of netting"

According to Ben Baruch, Evelon is a private company owned by Ofer and Tali Asher.

Help for Gush Katif College Students: There is an effort underway to help finance college students from Gush Katif who will have a more difficult time meeting their tuition and living demands this year. Since college starts in Israel after the holidays, which this year end toward the end of October. In most years, college students work during the summer and early autumn to help pay their tuition and dorm fees. This year the Gush Katif students were involved in the Disengagement and, later, in helping their families settle into their temporary quarters, so they could not work as usual. Anyone interested in more information concerning this effort should contact Anita Tucker at:

"In The Jerusalem Gold Hotel"
by Hillel Fendel
November 7, 2005

Eleven weeks after the disengagement, many of the expelled families continue to be shuffled along from one short-lived proposed solution to another. 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.

Though they have chosen a site for the new permanent community they wish to build -- in the Lachish area -- they have been on a roller-coaster ride regarding where to live for the coming two years. The possibility of Eibim near Sderot was nixed at the last moment by the government; Nehushah was on the table for a while but became irrelevant; Even Shmuel was then proposed -- and now Moshav Amatziah appears to be the most likely.

Aryeh, of Moshav Katif, told Arutz-7 today, "Some of our people are right now on a tour of Amatziah, and this could be the best option, as it is very close to our permanent site. Even the government appears to be coming towards us, hoping that we will be their first successful community; until now the government has not succeeded in finding a communal solution for even one town! The high-rise apartment building for Kfar Darom is still stuck, etc., and they're hoping that they can succeed with us. They've even offered to build a new road between Shomeriyah, where Atzmonah is supposed to go, and Amatziah, so that we'll be able to send our children to school there. We have also asked for special consideration -- larger caravans -- for our large families. We hope that within a week or two, we'll have answers as to whether, once and for all, something will finally work out."

Aryeh explained that Moshav Katif is currently divided up into four different locations -- two Ashkelon hotels, Yad Binyamin, and Ir HaEmunah -- and that they greatly fear that they will not end up together in one community. "One of the main reasons we are so anxious to remain unified," he explained, "in addition to simply wanting to retain our beautiful community, is to help the 6-7 families that for various reasons are not eligible for government help. We don't want them to fall by the wayside."

One community that did not survive the expulsion and simply shattered into small pieces is Slav. Formerly located in the southwestern tip of the Gaza Strip, Slav was a small and young town of only 12 families - each of which is now on its own. One family with two children had been living for the past several weeks in one room in the Otzem pre-military preparatory yeshiva, where the husband studied, but the conditions finally became unbearable; they moved this week, on their own, to a private apartment near her parents. Other families live in Ir HaEmunah, Yad Binyamin, or on their own -- and the community of Slav no longer exists.

"81 Days Without A Home"
by Hillel Fendel
November 10, 2005

Some 1,200 people rallied on behalf of thousands of expelled residents from Gush Katif and Shomron in Jerusalem Tuesday night. 600 families are still living in tents, hotels, or dormitories. The protest was organized by grassroots activists living in Talmon, between Ramallah and Modiin. Expelled residents still living in temporary quarters addressed the crowd and explained the difficulties of spending nearly 12 weeks living in hotels and the like.

One woman said that she was told in the Interior Ministry that the policy was not to provide help for the expellees unless they officially change their address from Gush Katif to whatever hotel they were staying. Another couple changed its address to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station for this reason. Other speakers talked of various other humiliations they face daily.

The call echoing from all the speakers was addressed to the Prime Minister and the government, asking them to turn a listening ear to the pleas of the people they made homeless and to begin relating to them as normal people.

The Yesha Council of Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza released statistics before the rally, showing that 35% of the evicted families are still living in ultra-temporary quarters such as hotels and tents, and 40% are in caravans, pre-fab housing or other two-year solutions until their permanent housing becomes available. Among the latter group are former residents of Ganei Tal now living in Yad Binyamin; expellees from Atzmona and Netzarim residing in Yevul and Yated in the Halutza Sands area; some 300 families from various communities living in the newly-built pre-fab community of Nitzan; and others. Communal solutions have still not been found for places such as Moshav Katif, Kfar Darom, Netzer Hazani, and N'vei Dekalim. For others, such as Slav, Ganim, Kadim, and Dugit, it is too late for such solutions, as they have already broken apart.

The Council notes that three-quarters of the residents are still without work. Seven-eighths of the residents have not received any advance payments on their government-promised financial compensation, leaving them without money to pay for basic essentials. This Thursday, an emergency Supreme Court session has been called to hear a petition by the Land of Israel Legal Forum, demanding that all compensation money be freed up.

The L'maan Achai [On Behalf of My Brothers] organization, which is coordinating much of the relief efforts, reports that the situation is particularly difficult in the King Sha'ul Hotel in Ashkelon. The hotel was originally disqualified for housing the deportees because of poor health conditions, yet despite this is now housing them. The hotel has cut down on meals, reduced electricity and heating, provided an insufficient number of blankets, and the like. In one case, a family of five people is living in one room.

Participants at the rally held signs reading, "81 days without a home," "There is no solution for every resident" [a reference to the government's television-and-radio campaign boasting of a 'solution for every resident'], "Have you been thrown out and also abandoned?" and the like.

"Let My People Sue: Evacuees Regain Dignity In Court"
by David Bedein (
Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency
November 20, 2005

Three months ago, 10,000 people were forcibly evicted by the Israeli Government from their privately owned homes and farms in 25 Jewish communities in GUSH KATIF, NORTHERN GAZA and NORTHERN SAMARIA. A few days later, all of their homes were bulldozed into rubble. An estimated 400 public buildings were not destroyed. Even though clause seven of the Disengagement Law forbid Israel from handing over any assets to anyone "involved in terrorist activity", the government of Israel ignored the law and handed over these buildings to the Palestinian Authority, even after the PA had proclaimed that terrorist organizations would be given many of these buildings.

Unlike the Yamit evacuation of 5,000 people in 1982, where families were given three years to resettle, these people were given six months to leave, from the time of the Knesset decision on February 20th until their eviction on August 15th, 2005.

The final decision of the Israel High Court of Justice, on which the Katif and Samaria communities had pinned their legal hopes, was held on June 6th, 2005, when the Israel High Court of Justice upheld the Disengagement Law, despite the opinion of the court that it violated the human rights and civil liberties basic law of the state of Israel.

Despite the publicly accepted notion that the people from Katif and Samaria were not making preparations to leave, the fact is that as early as November 2004, these communities designated the lawyers of the Israel Legal Forum to negotiate for compensation agreements with the Israeli government. However, the government refused to begin negotiating with their duly appointed legal representatives until April, 2005.

Meanwhile, Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres informed the Israeli media on July 7th, 2005 that the US government would provide more than two billion dollars to cover the costs of the disengagement.

However, on June 25th, 2005, Israel Resource News Agency had already been informed by top U.S. Congressional Sources that no U.S. money would be forthcoming for the disengagement process, which Israel had declared as a unilateral act.

This was two months before Hurricane Katrina hit the lives and pocketbooks of so many Americans

Therefore, the government of Israel has been slow to offer compensation to the people who were evicted from their homes. As of November 15th, 2005, 75% of the people evicted had received no compensation whatsoever, at a time when 85% of these people were still unemployed, after having been expelled from communities of full employment.

As a result, the people who were evicted need help to go to court to sue for the basics of compensation. The pro-bono lawyers who have helped the evictees do not have the ability to sue on the issues that follow, without basic fees and coverage of court costs.

Here are some of the issues which the evacuees must sue for:

1. Mental cruelty, as evidenced by petty requests for documentation before any compensation would be given: 29-year-old phone bills, old report cards, letters addressed to them to prove that they really lived in the homes that they lived in, while the Israeli government disengagement authority, known as The Sela Authority, gave inaccurate information to the media that "almost all of the evacuees had received the compensation that they had coming to them". A couple in their eightees who had gone through concentration camps who left in July had not received one shekel of compensation as of November 15th, 2005.

2. Loss of livelihood Many of the self-employed people from these communities were denied employment benefits. Many of those who worked for non profit organizations in the area of health, education and welfare were also denied unemployment benefits..

3. Business people whose businesses were worth $150,000-200,000 have been offered less than fifteen percent of the worth of their businesses, and they must spend their own savings to go to court to appeal for increased compensation for their businesses.

4. Three months after their eviction, the majority of farmers still do not have appropriate land or arrangements and they stand to lose their export markets abroad. They have already lost several seasons, and the katif people estimate that only 10% of the farmers will be able to return to agriculture. Meanwhile, some produce exporters offered menial jobs at minimum wage.

5. "Guilty until proven innocent" was one of the reasons used in delaying the compensation, because "maybe" the evacuee did something violent AND/OR was arrested during the expulsion. If a person got into a scuffle while being evicted from his home, why should he lose the value of his home? If a teenager's behavior was not appropriate, why should that family lose the value of their home? Meanwhile, the vast majority of families who are being denied any compensation have no police files or charges whatsoever against them

7. Loss of investment in homes. No compensations was offered for porches, storage rooms, or other improvements they added to their homes. "ADVANCE COMPENSATION" for homes was given to people whose original small homes were purchased 20 years ago, and ONLY 75% OF THAT.

8. Damage to students. Students did not have the opportunity to do matriculation exams properly, or start college properly. Younger students were shuffled from school to school. The government refused to recognize the school and kindergarten in the improvised town of Ir Haemuna, while "Special needs children" in Ir Haemuna had to fight to get PARTIAL treatment, two months after school began.

9. A family whose loved one pass away during this period of temporary housing was forced to pay the government $6,000 for a burial plot, since free burial is only provided to a home town residents of a given municipality. Only after Israel Resource News Agency revealed this, an Israeli Government Minister intervened to return the check to the bereaved family.

10. Families are still forced to pay regular mortgage payments for homes and farms that the government of Israel bulldozed three months ago. Paying out a monthly mortgage for rubble seems highly unusual.

11. Families must invest tens of thousands of shekels for storage in since they will live in mobile homes for two or three years. IN ADDITION, THEY MUST SPEND LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY FOR WINTER CLOTHES WHILE THEY CANNOT ACCESS THEIR CONTAINERS.

12. Hundreds of people who were arrested during the expulsion are confined to their homes under house arrest, because of decisions rendered by the Israeli courts that they are "ideological criminals" who are "dangerous to society".

In conclusion, many good hearts have opened up to these people who were living proud and productive lives until their expulsion. However, much of the charitable help that has been rendered to the evacuees has caused further trauma to these people, as they are rendered a new status as "charity cases". Indeed, immediately following the expulsion, major organizations allocated hundreds of school bags to the estimated 3,800 children who had no schools to go to, little means of support and no access to their own clothes. These gifts were received with mixed feelings.

The highest level of giving to someone in distress is to give that person the chance to stand on his own feet once again.

The people who were kicked out of their homes need help to go to court to redress their grievances, to regain their dignity.

Our news agency would be pleased to refer people to the proper addresses to help these people to sue...indeed, to regain some of their dignity.

At a time when efforts are under way in Israel to force thousands more people from their homes, the timing of this litigation could not be more appropriate.

by Rachel Saperstein (
previously: Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif
now: Jerusalem Gold Hotel
November 27, 2005.

Telephone Company. We will have to pay a penalty of IS 280, the letter stated, for breaking our one-year contract for internet use. "The government threw us out in August," we countered. "They destroyed our phone lines. Sue the government for breach of contract." We are awaiting their reply.

Twenty-three Neve Dekalim families received a letter from SELAH -- The Expulsion Authority. "We don't deny you lived in Neve Dekalim. But you rented privately rather than through the local council. So you are not entitled to housing in Nitzan, or compensation of any kind. You have six days to vacate your hotel!"

Five other families received letters saying "Though you rented privately we will allow you to rent a 'caravilla' of 60 square meters. But it must be in an area 'everyone has turned down'."

We all signed a petition today -- Everyone goes or no one goes to Nitzan. And we all will live in the same neighborhood.

Slowly, very slowly, the families are moving out of the hotels and into the prized, paper-thin fiberglass trailers. "Congratulations you have received a prized key!" says their letter.

Like many others Moshe and I have received neither letter nor key nor compensation of any kind, and are simply left in limbo.

Ship containers packed, stored and guarded by the IDF are now reaching the Nitzan Displaced Persons camp. Many have been broken into. Furniture, appliances and clothing were stolen or vandalized. Half-eaten food strewn about by the packers lay moldering in the containers, giving off a stench. Rats left their mark.

But there are those who make a difference. The Band-Aid Fund has sent seed money to each family as it moves into its trailer. But the needs, the replacements, the small items, cost so much. Paying off the mortgage of the destroyed homes, food, electricity, water, payments for the container rental eats away at the small government advance.

Avery Harris of Petach Tikva moves peripatetically among the hotels, tent cities and trailers looking for leaders and encourages their endeavors. Mark Launer of Jerusalem helped establish the Student Loan Fund.

Unemployment among our people is nearly 80%. Rabbi Yosef Rimon of Alon Shvut, a volunteer, has opened an employment agency in Nitzan using the internet as his tool. "Job Katif" is bringing in the data to place our people in jobs. College volunteers help write CVs and prepare for interviews. Rav Rimon has managed to place people in satisfying jobs and this has made all the difference.

And so we see light, a small light barely flickering. Despite government pronouncements of "a solution for all" there is no help, only the harassment of the authorities. But the decency of private individuals who have come to help, people like yourselves, is making all the difference.

The BAND-AID FUND is now collecting money to give each family 1,000 shekels (approximately $240) as seed money as it prepares to start a new life in Nitzan. You can help a family. Send your contribution to:

Central Fund for Israel, Rehov Hagoel 13, Efrat 90435, Israel
Earmarked: Band-Aid Fund


Central Fund for Israel, attention: Arthur Marcus, Marcus Bros. Textiles, 980 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10018, USA
Earmarked: Band-Aid Fund

Report #14: State Of (Evicted) Gush Katif, Northern Gaza And Northern Shomron Communities
(commissioned by Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research)
Toby Klein Greenwald (
November 28, 2005.


Sources: Information on the Gazan communities is from Moti Sender, editor of and resident of Ganei Tal/Yad Binyamin, who based some of his information on an Arutz-7 report, and supplemented that from his extensive personal contacts within the Gush Katif communities. The Center also consulted additional sources within the communities, and a volunteer who works with the communities. Information from the Shomron communities is from Menora Hazani, community leader and documentary film maker, and Yaakov Shalev, regional director in the Shomron.

The Sela (Disengagement) Authority uses the categories "immediate", meaning where the communities have been since the week of August 15, or some time afterwards, as some communities have been moved from place to place, and "Temporary" meaning if they are in a location where they will be for the next two years.

With the exception of families from Ganim and Kadim, from the northern Shomron, most of whom bought houses in the moshavim in the Afula area, no permanent housing solution has been enabled yet for any of the evictees. Approximately 490 families are still living in tent camps, hotels, dormitories, third-rate caravans, i.e., in what the Disengagement Authority defines as "immediate" locations, before the "temporary", where they will live for the next two years while awaiting a permanent housing solution. At an average of more than six people to a family, that means that at least 3,000 people are still homeless. The pending agreements with Shomria (re: Ir Haemuna) and the beginning, this week, of "caravillas" in Ein Tzurim, will still take several months to be ready.

The hotel-dwellers were notified that they will all be transferred to one of the hotels in Jerusalem, while they are waiting for their "caravillas", which could take at least another month. It is not yet clear how this will affect the school changes.

The numbers below are approximate and correct on the day of the report.

Gush Katif:
Neve Dekalim: Immediate (60 families by the end of this week): The Jerusalem hotels Regency (Hyatt), Caesar, Gold, Shaarei Yerushalayim, Shalom. The King Saul Hotel in Ashkelon (26 families), Kfar Hanofesh (75 families), Hafetz Haim (9 families). Temporary: Nitzan, Taanachim, Kibbutz Yavne, Yad Binyamin, Moshav Yated in the Negev.
Bdoloch: Temporary: Nitzan
Gadid: Immediate (26 families): Hafetz Haim; Temporary: Nitzan,
Gan Or: Immediate (4 families): Hafetz Haim guest house. Temporary: Nitzan and Kibbutz Yavna.
Peat Sadeh: Temporary: Moshav Mavki'im (near Ashkelon)
Rafiah Yam: Temporary: Moshav Mavki'im, Oshra, and Amuka
Netzer Hazani: Immediate (26 families): Hispin (Golan Heights). Immediate (26 still in "immediate" caravans): Kibbutz Ein Tzurim, scattered.
Morag: Temporary: Nitzan, Tenna-Omarim (15 families) (southern Hebron hills)
Moshav Katif: Immediate (35 families): King Saul Hotel (Ashkelon), Hafetz Haim guest house (8 families), Ir Haemuna
Tel Katifa: Immediate/temporary: Even Shmuel
Shirat Hayam: Immediate (13 families): Alon Shvut, Kibbutz Sa'ad
Netzarim: Immediate (22 families): Karnei Shomron (waiting to move to Ariel), Temporary: Yivul (Negev 47 families)
Kfar Darom: Immediate (58 families): Paradise Hotel (Beer Sheva), Omarim, and hopefully, soon, in a high rise apartment building in Ashkelon. (Temporary)
Atzmona and Slav: Immediate (57 families) at Ir Haemuna (near Netivot), supposedly moving out in about three weeks, Hafetz Haim guest house. Temporary: Yated (Negev 30+), Shaarei Avraham.
Ganei Tal: Temporary: Yad Binyamin

Northern Gaza:
Elei Sinai: Immediate (57 families): The tent city at the crossroads of Yad Mordecai. Temporary: Nitzan, Kibbutz Carmia (56 families, including some from Nisanit), Or Haner.
Nisanit: Temporary: Nitzan, Bustan Hagalil (13 families), Kibbutz Carmia, scattered apartments in Ashkelon.
Dugit: Temporary: Bustan Hagalil

Northern Shomron (Samaria):
Homesh: Immediate (7 families): Shavei Shomron. Menora Hazani, community leader, says, "We're waiting for a 'long term temporary' solution, in Shavei Shomron; but the government isn't willing for us to live in Yesha." Yaakov Shalev (057-7218991), regional director, says, "The settlement division of the Jewish Agency [headed by Avraham Duvdevani TKG] agrees that we should use the pre-fab homes that we transferred from Homesh and Sanur, for the uprooted families, but the government is not allowing it, because they want to transfer the pre-fabs to the Negev."
Temporary: Yad Hana, scattered (Netanya, Golan, Gedera, etc.) Yoav Ariel menahel hahevel; Bentzi Lieberman politically; Uri Ariel
Sanur: Immediate (7 families): Shavei Shomron, scattered (Yitzhar, Kedumim, etc.) They have the same request as Homesh.
Ganim and Kadim: These scattered among the moshavim in the Afula area, most bought houses, some are still scattered and/or renting.


According to David Porat, who operates the website that was created by Rav Yosef Rimon of Alon Shvut, there are still almost 2,000 people from the uprooted communities who are unemployed; roughly 80% of the uprooted population. This statistic includes both men and women. Rav Rimon is also organizing retraining programs.

In some cases, these are farmers for whom the government has not yet provided appropriate land alternatives. Among the farmer-exporters are those who grew chives, organic cucumbers, pineapple, cherry tomatoes, bug-less greens, chili peppers, regular peppers and other produce.

In addition, there are no unemployment benefits offered the self-employed; their only remedy is to hire an attorney, at their own expense, and go to court to try to achieve compensation for their destroyed businesses.

Those who were self-employed who wished to reestablish their businesses in Nitzan, where they now live, have run up against a brick wall of government refusal.

Sample cases: A former vegetable store owner from Gan Or and a pizzeria owner from Neve Dekalim are just two examples. When they asked to reestablish their stores in Nitzan, they were told by the Housing Authority that the government had decided to open up only a 200 square meter supermarket, instead, even though there are 500 families living in Nitzan, so they will not be able, even at their own expense, to reestablish their successful Gush Katif businesses. They attempted to explain that the Gush Katif people have their own style and needs, regarding, for example, the types of kashrut approvals they accept, etc. In addition, the significance of a pizzeria in a small town with no other outlet for the teenagers, is "not just about food". (The teenagers also have no basketball or soccer court, even though this is one of the ways that boys, especially, deal with their frustrations and boredom.) The spokesman for the Housing Authority, who was asked for an explanation in two phone calls and one e-mail, said two weeks before the date on this report that he would get back to us but never did.

Salaried Workers

In other cases, people lost their jobs when the schools, social services and other offices were closed.

Sample cases: Chana Z., a single mother of six from Neve Dekalim, still living in the (Hyatt) Regency Hotel in Jerusalem, says that she worked for the Police Department. They have offered her a job in Ashdod, but she obviously cannot take it till her "caravilla" is ready in Nitzan, which may take another month, at least.

Tami and Shlomo Aricha of Neve Dekalim, currently living in the Regency Hotel in Jerusalem, were asked to bring their children's kindergarten-graduation certificates to prove how long the family had lived in Gush Katif. She is a pre-school teacher, unemployed. Shlomo, a scribe, was lucky -- Rav Yosef Rimon (, found him a part time job with the Beit El Tefilin Company. They will eventually move to Nitzan which will make it easier on their son, who currently has to travel 45 minutes each way to school in Yad Binyamin, but more difficult for Shlomo to travel to his job.

Baruch and Dina Julie, from Nisanit, gave in all their required paperwork to the Disengagement Authority by April 20, and they have not yet received compensation. They and their neighbors, the Hadad's (who gave in their paperwork August 10), say they were told that it is because they asked for a private assessment of their home, and the Prime Minister's advisor, Ilan Cohen, reportedly told them a week ago, "Perhaps another week." Baruch is retired, but Nahum, who owned the supermarket in Nisanit, is unemployed and the Housing Authority has not said when or if they'll let him reestablish himself in Nitzan.


Although there is an official directive within the Ministry of Education to give preference to hiring teachers from the evicted communities, it is difficult to determine if this is implemented in practice.

Sample case: A teacher with excellent qualifications and experience, from Gush Katif, applied to a school in Ramle. In Gush Katif he had taught in the Katif High School Yeshiva, which was disbanded with the Disengagement. The other school he taught at is now in Ir Haemuna, which is far away from where he is living, since the Disengagement. In spite of the directive to give preference to teachers from Gush Katif, someone else was hired in his place. Shoshi Gutman, the Ministry of Education supervisor responsible for placing teachers, who was asked to comment, said she was told that there were only four hours available, whereas the prospective teacher had been told by the school official who interviewed him that he would be hired for a minimum of preparing two classes for matriculation exams (which would be at least eight hours).

Gutman also said, by way of general comment, that one of the supervisors working with her pointed out that the directive was only regarding teachers from Gush Katif who had been paid by the Ministry (i.e., elementary school teachers) and didn't apply to high school teachers, though she had taken it upon herself to extend her help to high school teachers as well. In any case, it is a moot point for those Katif teachers who still live far away from the schools in which they taught before.


People who were employed by non-profit organizations (amutot) dealing with health, education and welfare, such as those who worked for the local community center of Gush Katif, received no unemployment benefits.

A small ray of good news is that this week the Intel and Dan companies announced they would be providing jobs, including retraining, for some of the uprooted. Intel will take on 50 employees and Dan is offering jobs for 100 drivers. The Ministry of Tourism will reportedly be offering courses to the uprooted as tour leaders. The Intel and Dan initiative, according to Globes, was by the Investment Promotion Center of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

While this initiative is welcomed, the question remains: Why did it take three months, whereas even a volunteer grassroots job-hunt group such as that run by Rav Yosef Rimon was up and running within days?


The Sela Authority claimed that they give between $350-650 per family for rent, depending on the family, with the average being $450. According to the Legal Forum, it does no know families that are receiving the $650. The Evacuation-Compensation Law stretches from NIS 21,000 per family per year [$367.00 a month at today's dollar exchange] for 3 people, to NIS 27,000 per year [$475.00 a month] for six people or more. Many families in Gush Katif and the Shomron have from 8-12 people, which means that even a 12-person family will have to find somewhere to rent for $475.00 a month.

According to Nili Tabachnik of Remax Realty, the following apartments can be rented for approximately $450: A five room apartment in western Afula, a four room apartment in Be'er Sheva, a three room apartment in a non-upscale neighborhood in Ashdod and a two room apartment in a better neighborhood in Ashdod, a four or five room apartment in Ashkelon, a four room apartment in the old sections of Beit Shemesh and a three room apartment in Ramat Beit Shemesh, a two or three room apartment in Gedara, and a three room apartment in moshavim near Ashkelon.

A quick sample taken from another source indicated that if an evictee family wanted to rent in Jerusalem, with $450 they would be able to rent two rooms in Givat Mordecai or the Katamonim (a more "modest" neighborhood than its sister, nearby Katamon).

The people living in Nitzan and Yad Binyamin are having the $450 housing allowance deducted, by the Disengagement Authority, automatically. The same size caravans, in locations over the green line but close to large cities, cost only NIS 400-800 ($85-170), the difference being that the "caravillas" have red roofs.

Regarding the quality of housing in the caravan camps, some of the families living in Nitzan and Yad Binyamin have reported, after the first heavy rain this week, leaking into their "caravillas". It was also reported that the sidewalks are sinking and breaking up at the caravan camps, following the rain, and are creating an environmental danger.

The Legal Forum working for the evictees reports that the apartments that had been rented in advance for the evictees in various cities are of poor quality and widely scattered; also that various agreements with the Disengagement Authority had been broken, such as the ones that would enable the Gadid community to reestablish itself in Masuot Yitzhak, and the Kfar Darom community to rent, as a group, one large building in Ashkelon.

The latest word ( on the Kfar Darom community is that they will be considering moving to another border, into Kibbutz Cramim, in Lachish, which at the moment is occupied by five families, who hope to receive the same hefty compensation that the 11 families of Kibbutz Shomria are receiving from the government to vacate their kibbutz in the Lachish area for the Atzmona community. (The families of Kibbutz Shomria were promised $400,000 each, plus whatever benefits the uprooted of Gush Katif received.)

This week, those members of the Gush Katif communities who were "only" renters, including some who had rented for 15-20 years in Gush Katif, were sent letters by the Disengagement Authority stating that they have a week to leave the hotels, as they are not deserving of compensation. This only applies to those who were renting privately. Those who were renting from a government authority reportedly will be receiving a form of compensation.


According to volunteers working with the uprooted, much of the property in the containers has been destroyed, including electrical appliances, closets and books. A number of evictees who were questioned regarding whether they knew about insurance, or compensation for destroyed possessions, did not think that suing would bring relief, as their trust in the Disengagement Authority and the government is totally eroded. They are clearly in need of legal and other counseling to acquire the energy needed for a legal battle.


Community organizing and atmosphere have been severely challenged. The communities are trying to "keep it together", but in some cases a new community chairman had to be elected, as people are scattered, and many of the communities have split up in one way or another. Analysis regarding this issue: The Jewish population of Gaza and the Shomron is not monolithic, so one could make a case that it is not necessarily a bad thing that people who, out of inertia, stayed in their original communities before the Disengagement, should choose a different style of community after. The problem is that these decisions cannot be made by the families merely on the basis of "community style", as the factors that have to be taken into account are: Employment for the husband, employment for the wife, schools for the children of different ages, social needs, etc. What is involved here is not merely a "shuffling" of the families within one united bloc, that would enable, for instance, a family to move to a different style community but the parents could still maintain their places of work, and the children their schools. In this case, due to the large geographical area over which the communities are now spread, a total move entails "buying" the whole package of that new location, or having one or more member of the family travel long distances. This travel time and expense does not appear in any element of compensation.


The Gush Katif library has been reestablished in Yad Binyamin, with the help of the former librarian and volunteers. On the other hand, even though the teachers in the schools pleaded with the moetza of Gush Katif to allow them to remove valuable equipment and supplies, in order to reestablish their schools at the new locations, they were refused by the moetza, who may have been under orders of the receiver appointed by the government. The result was wide-spread looting and theft, and now the fledging schools are struggling with sorely inadequate equipment and supplies.


Last week the parents of children studying in the reestablished Gush Katif school in Mercaz Shapira went on strike due to the lack of equipment, psychological help, etc., and only during the strike did the Director General of the Ministry of Education, Ronit Tirosh, come to Nitzan to meet with the parents and look into solving the problems.


Gila Yekutieli, the southern supervisor of daycare centers, under the auspices of the Minister of Trade, replied to our question regarding the babies from Moshav Katif whose parents, mostly unemployed and staying in the King Saul Hotel in Ashkelon, were asked to pay NIS 800 a month to put their children in the local Emunah daycare center. (Emunah was owed approximately NIS 270,000 by the same ministry for having operated daycare centers, free of charge, for all the babies in the hotels where the evicted were living. Emunah told us that the price of NIS 800 in Ashkelon was set by the Ministry.) Yekutieli said that the person to speak to is Tamar Almog, who is the overall supervisor of the country's daycare centers, as the price is a matter of principle. Yekutieli could not understand why the Moshav Katif people could not just pay from their compensation, until we explained that none of them had, to date, received compensation, and 80% of the mothers were still unemployed.

We spoke with Tamar Almog, who said that the decision could only be changed by speaking with the PM's office. Meanwhile, some of the mothers had set up their own internal daycare center in the hotel, even though the conditions are not right for it, as they cannot afford the daycare center.


The Maariv site, NRG (, reported that during the night between November 14-15, military policemen arrested ten men, from among 170 altogether, who did not do reserve duty during the expulsion, some of whom discussed it in advance with their commanders and who were given to understand that there would not be repercussions. One of those was Avia Greenblatt, 28, married and a father of three, who was born and lived his whole life in Neve Dekalim. His father, Mordecai, told Maariv, "We were shocked to hear this -- he didn't even know he was considered AWOL, as he had spoken with his commander in advance, and explained that he wanted to remain with his family during the disengagement; his commander had been understanding."

Another example is that of Shomi Brown, father of five and wife pregnant with a sixth, who was expelled from Homesh in the Shomron, and therefore did not report for reserve duty, which fell exactly during the days of the Disengagement. He was arrested for 48 hours and sentenced to 14 days in prison. After approaches were made to the head commander in charge of reserve duty, requesting that he be released, the release was granted but it was then delayed and he was in prison for five days.

According to (, some of the other soldiers arrested were not residents of Gush Katif but soldiers from elsewhere who also told their commanders that they did not want to take part in the Disengagement. (Note: At the time of the Disengagement, some observers claimed that the IDF underreported the number of soldiers refusing to participate. These numbers seem to indicate that they're "catching up" now.) In the wake of the wave of arrests, the legal advisors of the "Headquarters for Eretz Yisrael" (Mateh lma'an Eretz Yisrael) had advised all soldiers who did not show up for reserve duty, even for one day, to report to their unit's office so as to not be arrested.

The reply of the IDF spokesman to the Center's request for confirmation of the story was: "These sort of operations are carried out by the military police every few months and there is no connection to the disengagement. In the operation of capturing defectors (sic), by the military police, that began last Sunday, so far 300 soldiers from regular and reserve duty have been arrested for being absent from duty."

The Center further asked:

Why did the authorities who arrested the soldiers not take into account a) the fact that some of them had "cleared" it with their commanders in advance, and b) the fact that some of them had not shown up for miluim [reserve duty] because they were being evicted at that time from their homes and they wanted to stay with their families.

The IDF spokesman replied:
I am working on it.
I'll talk to you when i get the answers. (sic)


The Disengagement was arguably the most traumatic event in Israel's history, the more so as it was in effect an act of war not by an outsider, but from within. Yet, there was not one session at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, held in Toronto on November 13-16, devoted to the event itself, only to the aftermath, called "Defining Ourselves After Disengagement".

Every one of the session's panelists were pro-disengagement, or connected in some way to PM Ariel Sharon or his government. They included MK and Deputy Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, Avi Naor, the Israel Chair of the 2004 GA and member of the JAFI Board of Governors, and Dr. Liora Meridor, chair of Bezeq International, who, according to a pre-Rosh Hashana article in the Jerusalem Post, "was touted by Vice Premier, Acting Treasurer, and Minister ofIndustry, Trade and Labor Ehud Olmert as the next director-general ofthe Antitrust Authority".

The fourth panelist was Ari Shavit, columnist for the left-wing Haaretz newspaper, who was pro-disengagement, though he exhibited sympathy for the evicted. In an Haaretz column titled, "Israel Must Sit Shiva", Shavit wrote, "The hard-heartedness of the intellectual and legal elites in the face of the catastrophe that befell the residents of Gush Katif will not be forgotten. It will seep into the groundwater of our shared lives and pollute it. The Gush Katif residents were not fanatics; they were not the fascist enemy; they were believers. If the entire public does not know how to mourn the death of Gush Katif, its death will poison our lives." (Full article at: itemNo=614347&contrassID=23&subContrassID=3&sbSubContrassID=0) The moderater was Jerusalem Post Editor-in-chief David Horovitz.

The UJC distributed a brochure at the GA on the Disengagement. The brochure was filled with inaccuracies and distortions, to which a response was written by this researcher. The GA brochure and the responses can be found at: This response relates to the conditions of the temporary housing, the state of schoolchildren and students, employment issues, (lack of) compensation, and more.

In an earlier letter that had sent by senior UJC officials, following a board meeting in Chicago, they wrote:

"At our recent meetings in Chicago, the UJC Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees deliberated over the issue of Israel's Disengagement from Gaza and a portion of northern Samaria. The Executive Committee, which convened in person in Chicago on September 11, heard a report from Nachman Shai, UJC Senior Vice President and Director General of UJC Israel, as well as comments from Steve Nasatir (President, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago), Zeev Bielski (Chairman of the Executive, JAFI) and Professor Yossi Tamir (JDC Israel)"

"The entire issue of the disengagement, as expected, is now drawing less attention in general; political and security issues are now taking over the headlines.

* The Disengagement Authority is not providing comprehensive information on the current situation, and there's no other single authority to do that. [This is true. TKG]

* 500 families are still not negotiating with the Government. Some of them are people who recently lived in Gush Katif, but are not entitled to the financial compensation legalized by the law. The main opponents remain the former settlers from Neve Dekalim." [This number is wildly overblown, based on the statistics of the Legal Forum, that has been helping the evictees. TKG]


Jewish Agency head Zeev Bielski held a press conference recently for the North American Jewish media. When asked what the Jewish Agency is doing to uphold the decision of its board of governors of June 23, 2004, to rebuild the communities of Gush Katif, he said that the Agency is doing a lot, and gave the example of the Yad Binyamin caravan site that was, he said, set up a "few days after the Disengagement". When he was corrected -- that the people of Ganei Tal were only able to move into Yad Binyamin two months after the disengagement, he replied, "But we gave the land a few days after the Disengagement."

He also quoted the so-called "Eibim solution", but when he was reminded that it was the Jewish Agency that had specifically shot down the Eibim solution (according to which, the Moshav Katif people would have moved to the immigrant student village Eibim for three months, while awaiting caravans somewhere, and the students would have temporarily relocated to apartment blocs five minutes away from their college, and received extra financial compensation for their trouble), he replied that it was "still being discussed". Meanwhile, the Moshav Katif people are living in despicable conditions in the King Saul Hotel in Ashkelon.

Beilski said that the JA, together with the JDC and the PM's office, were working to find long term solutions for the evicted in various areas, but that they couldn't accommodate them "if they wanted to live in Raanana." He was politely reminded that none of the evictees had expressed a desire to live "in Raanana", only to stay together as communities.


In what appears to be an attempt to put an academic spin on the Disengagement, the Hebrew University held a mini-conference at which Dr. Arnon Golan lectured on "The Changing of Borders and Exchanging of Populations in the First Half of the Twentieth Century." He spoke about the exchange of populations between the Greeks and the Turks, "even though it may have caused some distress at the time", that was something 'bad' whose outcome was 'good'. He did not relate to the fact that the Disengagement was a one-sided "exchange".

Following him, Dr. Gabi Golan, who works for the Prime Minister's office but who was at the conference in an academic role, spoke on "The Community Relocating in the Framework of the Disengagement Plan: The Government Intention as opposed to Independent Solutions." He gave a rundown on where some of the disengaged were presently relocating, including referring to Palmahim as the future location for the community of Elei Sinai, who are still in a tent camp at the crossroads of Yad Mordecai, because the government has not agreed to let them move to Palmahim. Golan said it was in the works; however, a woman interviewed the next day from Elei Sinai insisted that the government was still not forthcoming.

There were comments exchanged between Golan and the conference moderator, Professor Eran Feitelson, about the fact that some of the evictees were going to out of the way places such as Lachish and the Negev, whereas some were going to places whose "real estate value" was higher (referring, supposedly, to the Palmahim area). Anlyasis: Like the comment by Zeev Bielski about "Raanana", it appears that there is a subtle campaign to present some of the uprooted's housing requests as if what interests them is expensive real estate, the five years of their withstanding mortar fire without leaving Gaza notwithstanding.


After a long silence on the part of the media, in the last few weeks there has been somewhat of an awakening to the plight of the evicted. There have been several items on the news and feature programs on both Channels One and Two, and Channel Ten featured a comprehensive program on the plight of the youth, including stories about girls suffering emotional stress, and some boys who have fallen into the drug scene. The program also highlighted, through the eyes of the reporter, the frustration at being sent from office to office, from one official to another, in an attempt to receive answers.

In what seemed like an attempt to stem a flow of empathetic reporting, Maariv published an article this week which was an interview with one man, formerly of Nisanit, who complained that the evictees are "wasting their compensation", quoting sensationalist stories about people buying expensive jeeps, "trackterons" for their children, and gambling in Bulgaria. The situation is described by an unnamed source in the Disengagement Authority as a "catastrophe", and he says that the Authority is "very worried", and that the evictees will not have money left to buy homes at the end of two years, and will end up staying in Nitzan, which is meant to be temporary.

There was no reaction brought from others in Nisanit in the article, but Nahum Hadad, interviewed by the Center (see also under Unemployment, above), says in reaction to the Maariv article, "There are exceptions, of course, but most people are behaving logically. It is very far from a 'catastrophe'. There are people who are not working, and who have received no compensation. Yesterday I met some [evictees] renting in Ashkelon. They certainly aren't buying 'trackterons', rather they are living off of their compensation to buy food. It's true that Nitzan is temporary, but what will they do for two years with no work? These are people who were always giving, who established their own interest-free loan funds to help others (g'machim), and most of them have received no compensation. Some of those who are not working may be climbing the four walls in their small caravan. We even have to travel 15 kilometers to the closest place to buy bread and milk."


Rav Yosef Elnekave of Neve Dekalim, the regional rabbi of Gush Katif, organized a bar mitzva for 100 boys in Jerusalem this week, with the help of private donations. (A later event will follow for the girls.) It was filmed and reported on Channel One news. All the boys had been evicted from their homes during the Disengagement and many of them are now in separate schools. The boys gathered eagerly around the tables, meeting their friends from whom they had been cut off. MK Rav Beni Elon, was also present and brought his blessings. No other politician showed up.

100 Days Since The Expulsion, And There Is Still No Solution For The True Zionist Pioneers Who Settled Gush Katif!"
Distributed by Women in Green (
November 30, 2005

Swapping Selah Stories
Rachel Saperstein (
December 11, 2005.

Dan and Aviva are refugees from Gush Katif. Both are devoutly religious, sensitive, quiet-spoken people. They lived down our block. Dan is studying to be a rabbi. Aviva is an assistant kindergarten teacher. When we arrived in Neve Dekalim they were expecting their second child, a daughter, and then we welcomed their third, a son. Today SELAH, the Disengagement Authority, is demanding a DNA test from the family to prove the children really are theirs. The couple must cover the cost of this expensive test. Dan and Aviva are from Ethiopia.

But let's not say that prejudice is the reason for SELAH's ludicrous request. Some Sephardi families are being put through the same shameful process. We can be 'proud' that SELAH is equally malevolent to all Gush Katif refugees.

Debbie must prove that each of her six children went to school in Neve Dekalim uninterrupted to receive compensation for each of them.

The T's are in a bind. Their children were with them during the three years they served in Mexico as emissaries of the government of Israel. Their children might not receive compensation for their years abroad.

The K's have twelve children. First expelled from Yamit, they served as Chabad representatives to Gush Katif. They have been shot at and suffered injuries from rocket attacks in Neve Dekalim. Outspoken critics of the expulsion, they have been told they have no rights as they rented their tiny home privately. From Chabad.

The G's owned their home but their son, recently married, had rented privately. They have a right to a caravilla, but their son -- born and raised and living in Neve Dekalim all his life -- has no rights.

The SELAH Authority states that only homeowners and renters of public housing have the right to rent a caravilla for the princely sum of US$450 per month from the government of Israel. Rent money after fifteen months is to be deducted from the compensation. All families must agree to rent for two years or they will lose the IS 15000 (app. US $3000) deposit required on signing and receiving a key.

"We found that our special Sabbath dishes were broken, as well as our crystal glasses, when we opened the boxes that had been stored in the container" said L. "How do we replace the sets we've had since our marriage?" The L's are in their seventies. "To think we have to unpack, rebuild our home, then pack again and move in two or three years. We had not expected to spend our retirement years with this uncertainty."

One family must receive affidavits from their son's four former Yeshiva dormitory roommates, to prove he actually attended. Said the M's, "We don't even know where the boys live. They were from America. Our son has lost his right to compensation."

Moshe and I are waiting for the keys to our caravilla. Every time we supply the demanded documentation a whole new list of "essential documents" is demanded. All are available to SELAH on computer, but that would make life too easy for us. Yet we are determined to persevere. SELAH representatives call and ask us what's happening. We explain. The documents keep piling up, the file grows thicker -- still no key, no monetary advance, no compensation.

Lest you think malevolent bureaucracy is limited to SELAH, we have been informed by our former home insurers that as we ceased payment of premiums after our home was destroyed, we have to pay penalties eight times the amount of the unpaid premium. If we don't pay within ten days a collection agency will take our property equal in value to what they claim we owe them. Moshe expects they will take his false teeth.

"No Answers for Gush Katif Evictees"
December 14, 2005

( Hundreds of families from Gush Katif are still in hotels, months after they were evicted from their homes. This unsettled existence has caused untold suffering, especially among the children.

Motti Shomron, leader of the former residents of Neve Dekalim, who is currently in the Gold Hotel in Jerusalem, told Arutz Sheva correspondent Moshe Priel about his meeting this week with Yehonatan Bassi [Bassi is head of the Disengagement Authority]. "I told Bassi about the immediate need for a communal solution for the entire group of Neve Dekalim residents. However, I received impervious, complex and difficult answers that only a legal adviser could probably respond to, such as that a person who lived in private rented accommodation for 15 years is not entitled to a communal solution." Shomron added that the prime minister had promised a "communal solution for everyone. Yet, unfortunately this has stayed within the realm of the sentence, 'the fate of Netzarim is like that of Tel Aviv.'"

"O' Precious Key"
by Rachel Saperstein, (
Neve Dekalim/Jerusalem Gold Hotel
December 20, 2005

We are still in the hotel room that we call home. Little by little families are moving out to join their friends and neighbors from Neve Dekalim already living in the Nitzan trailer camp. We watch the hotel trolley carrying out the last of the valises, the plastic drawers on wheels, the children's clothing thrown into supermarket bags, the Shabbat dresses still on hangars. The contents of the ship container have already been unpacked and placed, a bit askew, into the small trailers. Larger pieces are stored in a backyard shed. The cars are loaded, the children pile in, and we wave goodbye.

The hotel dining room seems emptier, the lobby has less youngsters running about. The corridors are quieter, the welcome signs on the doors are almost gone. The elevators arrive more quickly. Only the families whose trailers are still not in place, and those going to the soon-to-be-built trailer park at Kibbutz Ein Tzurim, remain in the hotel. And some are like us.

Our trailer, with our name pasted on the door, stands waiting for us. We, as many others, do not get the call: "Come and get your key!" Each day our friends greet us in the dining room with "What's with you? Did you get your key yet?" We shake our heads, "No. No key. I guess we're not loved by the Selah Expulsion Authority."

No precious key. No advance on our compensation. No word. No word at all.

I spoke at a "Root and Branch Society" meeting last Thursday. The room at the Israel Center in Jerusalem was filled and many good friends from every period in our lives were in the audience. My topic: "On Being a Displaced Person". Towards the end I asked the people, "How many of you would like to live in a trailer?" No show of hands.

So how does a government manage to make a people, a people who owned large, spacious homes, grateful to receive the precious key to a trailer? To look forward with relief that they will soon be residents of a large trailer park? That if refused a key they will beg and plead in order to receive that o' so precious key.

The government has played with our heads and emotions. They have demanded an endless number of documents before letting us receive this cardboard housing. And we rush to comply. They have separated families by disallowing a child from renting a trailer even if the child was born and raised in a Gush Katif community but as a married person had lived in a privately rented home. Only those who had owned or rented from public housing authorities are entitled to a key.

They arbitrarily call people to come and get the key while leaving others in limbo even if their trailer is ready for occupancy, wondering, always wondering, if you will actually be allowed to receive a key. The grand smiles on the faces of a family leaving for the trailer camp leaves the others with a sense of despair. "Perhaps I'll be left out, never to be with the community again. But why? What did I do? I thought I handed in my phone bills, electric bills, water bills, bank receipts, proof of residency, payments of municipal taxes, our ID cards, our children's report cards. What could I have left out?"

Harassment, psychological warfare, playing with our heads. The communities want to live together. This was our cry to the government. Please do not disperse us. We are people who lived through five years of bombardment, of seeing our friends killed or injured by Arab terrorists. We experienced the trauma of expulsion from our homes and communities. We've watched our synagogues burn, our farms destroyed, our businesses in ruins, our children scattered in makeshift schools around the country. Nowhere in the history of modern Israel has this happened to the Jewish people.

All we ask is that we remain together.

And so the government built cheap housing, a trailer with a red roof, and we are grateful for this temporary solution. We are o' so grateful for that o' so precious key.

[Editor's note: On January 2, 2006, the Sapersteins actually received the key to their brand-new caravan, which had cost the Government $100,000. However, the doors were warped and didn't open, the sprinkler where located would flood the air-conditioner and the ceiling already had water damage. They were informed they could not move in until these are fixed.]



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