Dozens of police officers spent Tuesday volunteering with the children of families expelled from Gush Katif in an attempt to rebuild expellees’ trust in law enforcement.
Police began the day by visiting a memorial site near the expellee community of Nitzan that is dedicated to the Israeli communities in Gaza and northern Samaria that were destroyed in the 2005 withdrawal.
Police were involved in forcibly expelling Jews from their homes in both regions, and some expellees have said they still find it emotionally difficult to interact with police officers.
After hearing about the destroyed communities of Gush Katif, officers moved on to local preschools, where they interacted with the young students. Officers also assisted in doing repair and maintenance work at local schools and daycare centers.
“It was touching and encouraging to see the police officers coming to daycare centers and preschools in their uniforms and creating warm ties with the children,” said project head Avinoam Goelman. He added, “This will definitely affect the children’s views of the Israel Police in the future.”
The visit was part of the We Believe in the Police (Ma’aminim Bemishtara) initiative, a project jointly created by the Elisha pre-army academy and the police. Its goal is to integrate religious-Zionist Jews in the police force.
The educational aspect of the tour, in which police learned about the demolished communities, was organized by police officer Yisrael Dahan, who himself was expelled from Gush Katif and now lives in Nitzan.