Daily Israel Report

Gilad Farm: ‘We’ll Hold Out As Long As We Can’

Fourteen families, including 33 children, are living at Gilad Farm without electricity and water. The government has blocked public funding.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 12/24/2009, 10:10 AM / Last Update: 12/24/2009, 10:20 AM

Israel news photo

Fourteen families and 20 single residents at the Samarian hilltop community of Gilad’s Farm (Havat Gilad) have been living without water or electricity for the past several days. However, they say they’ll hold on for as long as they can.

The small group, which includes 33 children, appealed to the public for financial help on Monday night after the last of its diesel fuel ran out, leaving the community in darkness. The distributor refused to supply more diesel or water after the community's debts having ballooned to NIS 288,000 ($76,000).

Ilana Shimon, spokesperson for the Gilad Farm community council, described to Arutz Sheva the reason for the difficulties. “The state cut us off [from the national utilities grid] already a while ago, and we were forced to bring in suppliers on our own.

"Now the money is all gone,” she said. “I am a mother of six children, and we have no more water.”

All official sources, including the Samaria Regional Council, were prohibited by the government from providing any support or assistance to the small community.

Torah learning continues by candle light

Shimon said the families have been managing by living by candle light. “We heat the house using a wood fireplace – that’s what we have left – and we use the generator only two hours a day, to heat water for baths for the children.”

During the day, children are kept busy learning and playing in the sunlight; power loss isn't noticed that way

The experience has traumatized the children, she said, describing them as “very tense. We have gone through some very hard periods – and that doesn’t include the threats by the Border Police and the arson attacks we had.”

Despite the recent arrest of the community’s leader and land owner, Itai Zar, Shimon said the residents are trying to keep their lives on track. “This farm works on miracles – the Holy One, blessed be He, helps us and we have managed to keep going. But now our hands are tied, and this latest wound inflicted upon us by the government has really hurt us.

“We expected assistance and received nothing, but despite that, we continued to absorb idealistic families that wanted to settle the Land of Israel, even with the difficulties,” she pointed out.

Activist Baruch Marzel and MK Michael Ben Ari speak with a Gilad's Farm resident

“Two days ago, National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari came here with Baruch Marzel [Jewish National Front activist and MK Ben-Ari’s parliamentary aide]. They sat with us in the candle light and helped us distribute money to families and come up with ideas on how to cope with the difficulties we face. We will continue to hold out for as long as possible.”

For further information or to offer support, readers can call Ilana Shimon at: 052-558-3372. From outside the country, dial +972-52-558-3372.