New Head to Help Expellees

If you can’t save them, help them. Bentzy Lieberman, ex-Yesha Council chief during Disengagement, will head efforts to rehabilitate the expellees.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 11:09

Bentzy Lieberman
Bentzy Lieberman
Israel news photo: (file)

If you can’t save them, help them. Bentzy Lieberman, who headed the Yesha Council during the Disengagement, will now head the efforts to rehabilitate the expellees.

The government will hold a special Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to confirm Lieberman’s appointment as chairman of the Sela Administration. Sela - a Hebrew acronym for “Aid to the Gaza Evacuees” – is responsible for relocating and rebuilding the destroyed communities and for disbursing compensation monies to the 1,800 families whose homes were destroyed during the Disengagement from Gaza and northern Shomron in 2005.

The job of heading Sela was originally viewed as collaborating with the government in expelling Jews from their homes, and the man who first held the position, Yonatan Bassi, was widely reviled by many parts of the religious-Zionist public from which he hailed.

Now, however, the job has no political overtones, and it is widely accepted that there is an acute need to finish the job of rehabilitating the evacuees. An official judicial committee investigating the government’s treatment of those expelled issued an interim report on Tuesday, and charged the government with making this issue into a top priority, not just in words, but in deeds.

Lieberman, a founder of the Shomron town of Peduel, was head of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria from 2002 until 2007. This period included the retreat from Gaza and the various protest activities against it. He announced his resignation in 2006, amidst charges that he and his colleagues did not take the necessary practical steps to actually stop the Disengagement.