Disengagement Cost, So Far: Nearly NIS 10 Billion
The Tnufa organization, which had been responsible for assisting Jews who were thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif as a result of the 2005 disengagement, is set to close down in the coming weeks. On Sunday, Rabbi Ofir Cohen presented the government with the organization's final report on its activities.
All told, the so-called Disengagement has cost Israel a whopping NIS 9,482,184,000 ($2,633,940,000) in resettlement costs for the 8,600 Jews thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif and northern Samaria. That works out to NIS 1,102,580 ($306,272) per person in resettlement costs and assistance in the eight years since the Disengagement took place. But costs are likely to continue climbing; 12% of the 1,404 families evicted in the Disengagement are still waiting to enter permanent housing, with 200 families still waiting for plots, permits, and funding to build their homes.
Despite their suffering, Cohen said he did not believe that the evictees had turned their backs on the state and its institutions. “They understand the difficult political situation and the need to renew their lives,” he said, adding that “I believe we will return to Gush Katif. The evictees chose to continue on the path of pioneers, to settle the Negev and the North. They are once again part of society and are contributing.”
Cohen also spoke with pride about Tnufa's work. “We established 22 settlements, no other government agency can say that. We should be able to do that kind of work without a disengagement. And it's possible that one day we will return to the towns of Gush Katif. I believe that will happen.”