Daily Israel Report

Interview: Remembering Gush Katif in Schools Across Israel

Arutz Sheva takes a look at how the Gush Katif Committee conveys the horror of the Disengagement to school children.
By Yoni Kempinski, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 1/24/2014, 11:55 AM

Schools across Israel marked Gush Katif Day Thursday, to commemorate the tragedy of the 2005 Disengagement. 

Arutz Sheva interviewed Shifra, a volunteer running a Gush Katif Day program, to gain a greater perspective on how the tragedy is taught to children who are too young to remember the Disengagement at all. 

Shifra noted that the key to preserving the memory of Gush Katif in a school setting involves making activities interesting and interactive.

"Many of the children are excited because they are learning something new, and they are learning it in such a fun way." Shifra stated. The activities include screenings of films documenting the Disengagement, guest speakers, and art projects relating to the theme of the day. 

"What we are really trying to do here - and hopefully this will spread to everywhere else - is to help them remember the beauty of Gush Katif, the innocence, the love, [the fact that] everyone helped each other, the Torah world [there], the educational institutions there," Shifra continued.

"We are trying to rebuild that in the many new Gush Katif communities - but nevertheless, we still hope to return there and, one day, rebuild what we had."

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Gush Katif Day, however. On Thursday, Yariv Oppenheimer of the extreme leftist group Peace Now requested that Education Minister Shai Piron prohibit marking the day in schools. 

“In practice, Gush Katif Day has become a day of right-wing propaganda which tries to create an inaccurate, one-sided narrative, with no debate or other opinions to balance it out,” he accused. “Schools get the materials from the Gush Katif Committee, a body with a clear ideological and political agenda.”