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by Rachel Saperstein



Her face is sweet. Her blond hair falls casually over her eyes and she sweeps the wisps back behind her ears. Her head is angled to the side. Her designer pantsuits appear well cut. A few bulges appear here and there but we forgive her. They've nicknamed her "Mrs. Clean".

Behind that lovely face and soft voice there lies a cruelty that only those from Gush Katif seem to remember. Her name is Tzippi Livni and she is front-runner to replace Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister of Israel.

I remember Tzippi Livni when she bolted from the Likud party in 2005 and joined Ariel Sharon in his hastily formed Kadima party. She became his protégé and willing partner in the crime of expelling Jews from Gush Katif. As Justice Minister she gave legal backing to Ariel Sharon, his son Omri, and their advisors whose single aim was to protect the Sharons from prosecution by destroying the twenty-three communities of Gush Katif.

Tzippi Livni, raised in a right wing Likud family turned her back on her heritage and began her descent into perfidy. And she was the cruelest of them all.

In my book Eviction [Pavilion Press, 2005], a compilation of my blogs includes a chapter titled "Imagery of the Holocaust". In this chapter I described the plans being developed by the Kadima party to harass the Gush Katif people. Ms. Livni was quoted from the Jerusalem Post of that period. These are excerpts of quotes attributed to Justice Minister Livni:

"Internment camps are being made ready for those who refuse to leave willingly."

"The Jews will be relocated."

"All possessions of those who oppose the expulsion will become State property."

"Children of demonstrators will be removed from their parents homes and sent to be re-educated."

"Parents will be indicted for putting their children into danger."

The internment camps for families were built deep in the Negev area. Activists who fought for Gush Katif were imprisoned there without trial. Today the camps are used for African refugees who have entered illegally from Egypt. These primitive camps in a sweltering climate are a testament to the perversity of Tzippi Livni.

The Left, Peace Now, Amnesty International, et al, never once complained when these pronouncements were made and the camps were built. But more important than the words is the person behind them — Tzippi Livni. If these were her plans as Justice Minister what will be her ability to thwart justice as a ruling Prime Minister?

Behind the sweet, self-effacing face is a crafty woman capable of implementing her plans for the destruction of Jewish communities when and where she pleases.

She must not become Prime Minister.

She must be punished for past atrocities and planned future atrocities against her own people.


Shlomo Eliezer Zeev ben Pesach Zvi was my father. He is buried next to my mother, Sheva, in the Rehovot Cemetery. My parents had come to live in Israel in the early 1970's. They bought a small apartment in Rehovot and immediately purchased plots in the nearby cemetery.

Shlomo, my great-nephew, is now visiting Israel from the United States with his youth movement. He was supposed to spend last Shabbat with my son but someone was ill and we got him instead.

On Friday morning my son-in-law Oshri picked Shlomo up at the Orthodox Union Center and took him touring to Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. He then visited Tamar and her and Oshri's three daughters, and on to Dafna and Hanan and their four kids.

Moshe and I picked him up Friday afternoon and brought him to our caravilla in Nitzan.

"What will you do with Shlomo all Shabbat?" I was asked.

"Don't worry, he's probably exhausted from three weeks of touring. He'll be glad to sleep."

FRIDAY NIGHT SHLOMO WENT TO SHUL WITH OUR NEIGHBOR YOEL, a member of the Bnai Menashe tribe. My husband quipped, "Shlomo, you're going to think you are at the Young Israel of Hong Kong."

Shlomo returned from shul all aglow. "Wow. I can't get over how everyone is so friendly. People have just welcomed me. I stayed in all sorts of other communities, including wealthy one. But your Gush Katif people have been the warmest and friendliest"

After dinner I took him on a tour of our refugee camp. People stopped and said "Shabbat Shalom", shook hands and welcomed my young visitor.

We met our Youth Director and his wife and daughters taking a late-night stroll. "Come to the youth service in the morning" Shlomo was told, and so he did, and then as predicted slept through the hot and humid Shabbat afternoon. He finished the Sabbath in the Sephardi Synagogue, still beautiful despite being outfitted with the remnants of the original synagogue in Neve Dekalim.

"COME, SHLOMO, LET ME SHOW YOU PICTURES OF YOUR FAMILY." We began with photos from Romania and the villages in Maramuresh where my parents were born and raised. Then pictures of the congregation in Cuba where my parents lived before moving to the States. Shlomo saw pictures of my brother — his grandfather — named Maximiliano for a former President of Cuba. Jews are always patriots!

We looked at photos going back generations and I told him family gossip and family folklore.

Mostly I told him stories of his namesake, his great-grandfather Reb Shlomo Eliezer Zeev and how he would not compromise on his religious beliefs even when it cost him jobs as a kashrut supervisor.

He saw pictures of his great-grandfather dressed in his white kittel and his cantor's tall white skullcap when leading prayers for the High Holy Days.

Shlomo learned how his great-grandfather worked in a factory during the week and taught Talmud to groups of men in shul on the Sabbath.


"Shlomo, come with me to the cemetery where your great-grandparents are buried. The tombstones need cleaning and the engraving needs painting to bring out the lettering. I've been waiting for a family member to come help me."

We drove to Rehovot early on Sunday. We took a bucket, soap, brushes, rags, felt pens and a Book of Psalms. It was hot as we scrubbed and polished the marble stones. We carefully inked in the engravings. Shlomo then read Psalms. A job lovingly done.

Shlomo Eliezer Zeev ben Shmaryahu Pesach Zvi, a red-headed young man of sixteen, a yeshiva student and budding Torah scholar, a boy who will not compromise on his beliefs and often leads prayers in his youth congregation, came to us by default because of an illness [or was it by design?], and helped restore the gravestone of the great-grandfather for whom he is named.

From Shlomo to Shlomo a circle had been closed.


OPERATION DIGNITY is now appealing to you for financial aid.

Many of our families are still without work.

We started the Dignity Thru Work Program to aid traumatized women to do community service for payment. The program has been enormously successful but we need your help in keeping it running.

Our Music Scholarship Fund is depleted.

We have had to reduce aid to the baby food and diaper fund.

We had hoped to run a Youth Work Services Program to give our youth pocket money for their community services,

Please remember the people of Gush Katif whose lives were changed so brutally.

Please remember the people of Gusk Katif who still need your help.

Please make your checks payable to Central Fund for Israel and earmarked for Operation Dignity.

Send them to

Central Fund for Israel, 980 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10018, USA


Central Fund for Israel, 13 Hagoel Street, Efrat 90435, Israel.

And don't miss our website:

Rachel Saperstein and her husband, Moshe, were among the thousands of Jews kicked out of their homes in Gush Katif, in the Gaza strip, and forced into temporary quarters so dismal, their still-temporary paper-based trailers in Nitzan, seemed a step up. Contact them at


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