Daily Israel Report

Rain Ends School for 'Neglected' Gush Katif Expellees

Rain could collapse caravan ‘schools’ given to families from Gush Katif. ‘We still don’t know when we’ll get a building.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/12/2013, 11:13 AM

Children in caravan city of Nitzan
Children in caravan city of Nitzan
Israel news photo: Flash 90

School was cancelled in and around the Jerusalem area on Thursday due to snowfall in the region. Parents living in the southern community of Nitzan were forced to cancel school as well – due to nothing more than rain.

The caravans that the government provided for use as classrooms are in such poor condition that the year’s first rainstorms have led to leaky ceilings and concern that the roof could collapse, the Parents’ Committee explained. Last year the roof of one classroom did collapse during the rainy season.

An engineer from the Regional Council who came to see the school declared that eight of the 18 classrooms are not fit for use, said committee representative Shani Haviv.

The caravan classrooms are used by children of families that were expelled from Gush Katif in the 2005 “Disengagement.” The issue of shoddy caravans affects many families at home, too; the trailer homes in the town were built for two years of use, and many are now in disrepair.

At the time of the Disengagement, families were promised that their children’s new schools would be built within two years. Now, eight years later, construction of the long-awaited buildings has stalled due to a lack of funds. “We still don’t know when we’ll have a permanent building,” Haviv lamented.

“Currently there are 2.5 million shekels missing to complete the building, due to bureaucracy among other things,” she explained.

Local parents said, “Rehabilitating Gush Katif evacuees was described as a national mission. Everyone wants to help, even the Prime Minister, but nobody takes responsibility for implementation, and our children are the ones paying the price.”

The Parents’ Committee is demanding that the Regional Council and the government provide a safe space for children to learn, and solve the problem of the long-awaited school building. Until then, they say, local children will be unable to return to school.