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Poodles vs. People

By Michael Freund
12/11/2005, 12:00 AM

Here is a sad little fact worth considering: over 600 Jewish families expelled from their homes in Gaza back in August remain scattered about in a dozen hotels around the country, with neither the government nor the media showing much interest in their fate.

The promise made by various officials prior to the withdrawal that “there is a solution for every settler” has turned into a bitter and cruel joke. So many of the evacuees still do not know where they will be making their future homes, even as they are forced to confront an unpleasant and unhelpful bureaucracy.

Many have been unable to find permanent work, since they don't know where they will be living a month from now, while others have not been allowed to access the containers holding all of their personal belongings.

And now, adding insult to injury, a hotel in Ashkelon reportedly plans to evict 30 families from Gush Katif on Sunday due to a contractual dispute with the government. And so, just two months after they were ejected from their homes, these people face the prospect of once again being forced to move, on the eve of the holiday of Sukkot.

It might be tempting to say that Gaza’s Jews were “tossed to the dogs”, but even that understates the situation.

Just last week, Environment Minister Shalom Simhon issued a press release proudly announcing his decision to allocate an additional 1 million shekels to improve animal welfare in Israel, including assistance to “animals in distress”. This comes on top of the 2.5 million shekels he has already dispensed for similar purposes.

Doghouse And so, in the twisted moral calculus of our government, there is plenty of extra money to find shelter for cats or dogs, but not for the thousands of Jewish citizens made homeless by the expulsion from Gaza.

When a government starts favoring poodles over people, that's as sure a sign as any that it's time for it to go.