The N'vei Dekalim yeshiva, formerly the largest yeshiva in Gush Katif, commemorated four years since the Disengagement from Gaza this week. The yeshiva, which is now located in Ashkelon, believes the next eviction can only be prevented by educating all Israelis about the religious value of the Land of Israel.
“The spirit of Gush Katif centered on combining Torah and life, spirituality and hard labor,” Yeshiva head Rabbi David Gavrieli told the 400 people who attended the commemoration ceremony. “Today, our mission is more complicated because we are no longer in an insular religious community. We must now disseminate these same values to the entire public in the State of Israel.”
The N'vei Dekalim yeshiva was torn down, relocated and rebuilt twice in its 35-year history. The yeshiva began in 1974 in Yamit, the largest Israeli community established in Sinai after the Six Day War. In 1982, as part of the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement, the yeshiva was torn down along with the rest of Yamit.
Shortly thereafter, the yeshiva’s founders reestablished it in N'vei Dekalim, the capital of the Gush Katif Jewish enclave in Israeli-controlled Gaza. The yeshiva flourished until 2005, when it was destroyed for a second time as part of the Disengagement, in which about 9,000 Israelis were forced out of their homes.
After a temporary stay in Kfar Maimon, the yeshiva moved to its new home in Ashkelon in 2007. Approximately 140 students study in the yeshiva, almost all of whom serve in the IDF. The yeshiva places an emphasis on reaching out to former residents of Gush Katif and the residents of Ashkelon.