Rachel Saperstein, Neve Dkalim/Nitzan
The Wall of ShameThis Wall of Shame would be an everlasting reminder of an ugly, immoral event in Israel's history, in which our Israeli soldiers, our children, simply said, "I am following orders."
A Community SingsYom Kippur 2006: We came together to pray in our pre-fab synagogue. Our holy Ark, the wall hangings, the pews looked familiar, having been rescued from the N'vei Dekalim synagogue before it was desecrated and burnt to the ground. But more important was the voice of Rabbi Yigal as it filled the makeshift <I>shul</I>.
North-South, East-WestI have the remains of a Kassam rocket that exploded near our home in N'vei Dekalim. The words <I>"Al-Kuds"</I> were printed on its tail fins. <I>Al Kuds</I> is Arabic for Jerusalem. The message is quite clear. The war was not about Gush Katif; it was about Jerusalem. Just as the war in the north is not about Lebanon; it is a war to destroy Israel.
Back to the Future<a target=_blank href=http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=108425>Our year of mourning is nearing its end</a>. A year of mourning will begin for the soldiers slain in battles in Gaza and Lebanon. The enemy's appetite was whetted when given the prize of Gush Katif.
Who Will Fight?"Our boys shouldn't have to give their lives to protect settlers," was a popular refrain. And we asked these people, "Who will come to protect you when it is your turn to be bombed and shot at? Shall we send 'our sons' to fight for you?"
The Sounds of WarWe lived with these sounds for five years when we were the victims of endless mortar and rocket fire. Now, the rockets are larger, have greater range and are more deadly.
No, Never AgainMy name is Rachel Saperstein. I am 65, a wife, mother and grandmother. I came from New York to live in my homeland 38 years ago. My husband and I once lived in a beautiful home in Gush Katif. Today, I am a refugee.
A Forced CelebrationSigns posted during the night saying "We are not celebrating this year" were torn down in the morning by Expulsion Authority workers, to remind us that we are refugees and they are in control.
Holding OnThe cherished symbols of my country, Israel, were desecrated by the government of Israel and the army of Israel.
Operation Dignity DilemmaTo respond to a request for money from those families that voluntarily left Gush Katif before the actual expulsion, or not?
From Hotel to NitzanNow, it was our turn to wheel the hotel trolley to our room, bringing the last pieces of luggage and our laundry bag to the car. We kissed our friends goodbye. We are the last to leave for Nitzan.
So We WaitThe media has returned after a five-month hiatus. The fate of 10,000 displaced Jews doesn't interest them. What does interest them?
Oh, Precious KeySo, how does a government manage to make people - 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?
As We View Our Soldiers...Many of our young men who were in officers training courses have walked away from careers in the army. Many of our youngsters are questioning whether to join the army at all. Perhaps, jail would be a better solution.
Harassment by MailTwenty-three N'vei Dekalim families received a letter from Selah - The Expulsion Authhority. "We don't deny you lived in N'vei 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."
The Rain of SukkotThe lobby of the Jerusalem Gold Hotel, our temporary dwelling, is our meeting hall, sometimes dining room, and the same area where we meet with friends and family amidst the chaos of children's cries, piano thumping and new guests arriving.
Dreaming of HomeHolding a picture of her home Esther Bazak asked a Jerusalem framer for a free-standing frame. "I haven't got one" he said, "but I'll put it in a frame to hang on your wall."
Esther took a deep breath and quietly said, "I don't have a wall."
A Gaping Wound"Why are you doing this to us? No homes, no money, no jobs, and dependent on the charity of others. And even forced to continue paying mortgages on the homes you destroyed."
Stocking UpToday, Sunday, August 14, Tisha B'Av, is our last legal day to be in Gush Katif.
Magnificent ChildrenThe young people of Gush Katif have been in the forefront of the battle to save their homes.
RoundupsSharon's private army and police are sweeping down on us. We are to be separated, sterilized and broken at all costs.
Closed!A month before their scheduled expulsion, the army and the police have been given the go-ahead to put Gush Katif under military rule. The area must be 'sterilized', kept clear of visitors, so that it will be easier to go from house to house cleansing the area of Jews.
Posing for PicturesThe local and world media were out in force to cover this historic event - a dress rehearsal for the eventual evacuation of every family in Gush Katif.
The Last ConcertThe Gush Katif Orchestra had just played its final notes at the end-year concert in the Community Center in N'vei Dekalim when Naomi Eldar ? tall, elegant, smiling Naomi ? trembled with emotion as she spoke to the audience of children and parents. "Is this to be our last concert?" she tearfully asked.
No Home CountdownThe State of Israel should not be making the People of Israel homeless.
Orange in Central ParkThe mostly Jewish American folks streamed into the park, with grandparents, parents and children dressed in orange. It was a hot day and picnickers huddled under the few trees. The message of solidarity with Gush Katif enveloped everybody and the smiles of Gush Katif residents seemed to have been transplanted to this New York scene.
Gush Katif Town MeetingThe mayor of Neve Dekalim, Mr. Lior Kalfa, asked the people to sign a document with the purpose of alleviating their concerns regarding ?the day after?. The document ? as of now over a thousand residents have signed ? declared ?One for All and All for One?. It is part of a program called AMANA created to unite the people of Gush Katif.
Danny?s History Lesson: Resistance Based on Torah and LoveDanny and I spoke on the phone last night. ?We were studying about resistance movements around the world...my teacher brought up Gush Katif...the battle for Gush Katif is not like any other resistance movement. It is based only on love and Torah ideals. And it's non-violent...Our teacher said this quiet, respectful battle has no precedent.?
No Snack Kits for Soldiers Aiding ExpulsionAs my children grew up in Jerusalem, I remember the packages we prepared before Remembrance and Independence days to be given as gifts to our soldiers defending our country from the Arab enemy....
But NO! NEVER! We can never give gifts as an incentive to soldiers to carry out illegal and immoral orders by the State of Israel
The Left Comes to Visit"Come and meet the people you are avidly trying to expel. See the heartbreak you are causing. See the determination of the people, as well," I said.
A Gift From Us to YouThe people of Gush Katif have already begun to bring <I>Mishloach Manot</I>. They are bringing a basket of greens, along with informational material, to the people of every city in Israel.
To Un-Bury a SonThere are forty-six graves in the cemetery in Gush Katif. They are the graves of loved ones - parents, spouses and children. Each grave tells a story...
Eli Mozes: "I Was Chosen"Eli is under house arrest. Dear, sweet Eli. It is Friday morning and we are sitting in his garden. He just celebrated his son's bar mitzvah and his twin daughters are to celebrate their third birthday. Eli will not be allowed to attend the party in their kindergarten.
We Came to Thank You"For giving us strength and for giving the Jews all over Israel the strength to carry on the battle for <I>Eretz Yisrael</I>."
"But They Won't Break Me""Our lives are on hold. We can't plan for next year. Where do I send my child to school? What job will I have? Where will my husband work? We'll have no home. Our married children and grandchildren live nearby. Will they be able to come with us? How do I say goodbye to my neighbors? I've lived with them for twenty-five years."
"Because of Settlers Like You!""If Gush Katif didn't exist, we would have to invent it," said Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when touring the Gush Katif region.
From Anatevka to Gush KatifEyes misted, tears fell and finally sobs could be heard from the Gush Katif audience as the edict of expulsion came to its inevitable conclusion.
When is Civil Disobedience Lawful?Civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition both in Jewish and world history. Governments have enacted laws that were patently unjust, immoral and illegal. Open your Bible.
From Mortars to MenorahShells that were meant to injure and kill were used instead to fashion the Jewish symbol of life and dedication to the Almighty, the <I>menorah</I>.
The Miracles of Gush KatifYesterday, three Kassam rockets fell in the industrial area of our town. I was a few meters away, going to my car, when the explosions occurred. I didn't even bother telling my husband about this non-event. Another miracle of Gush Katif.
No One Signed UpEach day, we are hit with another bit of psychological warfare by a government in panic mode. Why this hysteria on the part of the government?
Yonatan Bassi: "They'll Go Quietly"He went on to state that the obedient, law-abiding, Torah-imbued folks of Gush Katif will take the government handout, leaving with despair, but understanding that this is best for the country. They will understand that leaving homes, farms, synagogues and <I>yeshivot</I> to the Arab enemies is the "Zionist ideal".
A Lawyer Calls: "Be Realistic"My cousin's daughter, a Tel Aviv lawyer, called last night. "Be realistic," she said. "You know that you are going to be expelled from Gush Katif. So get yourself a lawyer and start negotiating for money now."
Thoughts Before the Vote on ExpulsionOnce, we were quiet farmers, teachers, rabbis, housewives, Zionists. Today, every day, the Israeli media have turned us into pariahs. Why? Because we dare to resist our expulsion.