More than five years after Israel's 'disengagement' from Gaza and despite recent assurances from the Israeli government that it is making every effort to give the Jewish expellees from Gush Katif a permanent home, there is still a great concern among them.
According to Mazal Cohen, one of the founders of the community of Gadid who lives today in a caravan in Kibbutz Ein Tzurim, the expellees try to remain very optimistic, but the condition of most of them is heartbreaking.
Cohen spoke to Arutz Sheva’s daily Hebrew journal on Tuesday on the occasion of a tree planting ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, which will honor three generations of Gush Katif residents. She said that despite the many years that have passed since the 2005 expulsion, many deportees have still been unable to find new employment.
She described a situation of economic instability which is leading to fears that many of those who live today in the caravans will be unable to build permanent homes. “When were expelled we were given compensation, but the money was used by the people who did not have a job,” explained Cohen. “Fifty percent of expellees do not have the money anymore. We'll have to take large mortgages and I have no doubt that some will remain in caravans forever.”
Cohen spoke of many friends who had died from the grief over the situation. “The creator helped us until now but the money ran out, there is illness among many of our friends, several of our friends aged 55 died of grief, people have developed diseases such as diabetes or blood pressure. People have no reason to get up in the morning.”
Cohen also mentioned her feelings, which are shared by many others, that Israel has paid a dear price for the expulsion from Gaza.
“Since the expulsion Israel has been shaken,” she said. “There was the Second Lebanon War, Cast Lead, and the fire in the Carmel where many have remained homeless as we are, even though they live in caravans and will build homes in the same place. There is no doubt that Israel did not come out unscathed from the way it treated the evacuees of Gush Katif.”
She emphasized that the expellees have faith and chose to end the interview with a prayer: “I pray that we are redeemed and that G-d brings to the entire people of Israel a wealth of employment, health, joy, and faith. My personal prayer is that we return to Gush Katif and that all the constraints levelled on the people of Israel are cancelled.”