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      Gush Katif ‘Conquers' Natzrat Ilit

      A group of families from Gush Katif is taking Natzrat Illit by storm; hope their 'Torah Core Group' will continue to expand in the city.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 12/23/2011, 9:45 AM

      Nazareth Ilit
      Nazareth Ilit
      GNU/"Kippi70"

      Zvi Lev of the "Torah Core Group" in Natzrat Ilit (Upper Nazareth) told Arutz Sheva that 16 families from the destroyed communities of Gush Katif now reside in the city.

      "We held a big party open for the city," Lev said. "Rabbi [Shmuel] Tal came with all the students from the Yad Binyamin yeshiva. We all danced and rejoiced with the townspeople. "

      The Torah core communities, who number only 16 families, say they hope to double their numbers by next Hanukkah.

      We have "advanced slowly," Lev explained. "We started with nine families and have grown to sixteen families. We hope for a massive absorption [of Gush Katif families]."

      Lev said the former residents of Gush Katif were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they recieved in Natzrat Ilit.

      "They call us, 'Gush Katif,'" he explained. "They received us warmly and happily. Some even wept. They did not expect people with beards and tzitzit. They shower us with love and tell us we saved the city."

      On Shabbat we go out to complete minyanim in the synagogues," he added, referring to the quorum required for public prayers in Jewish houses of worship.

      Lev said the transition from the south to north was not easy.

      "The population is different," he said. "More menorahs are lit. Here you see fir trees and a muezzin. Mayor [Shimon] Gafsou is a lovely man with a vision to Judaize the city, but it takes time.”

      “MK Uri Ariel is very helpful to us... and to all other Torah core groups,” he added.

      At present the Torah core group members still live in a school compound that was converted into apartments for them.

      "We hope that the project will expand into the old courthouse as we grow," Lev said. "We only hope to expand."