Gush Katif Girls' School Opens After '9 Years of Exile'
It no longer is located in Neve Dekalim, a community in Gush Katif that suffered expulsion in the 2005 Disengagement plan which forcibly removed all Jews from Gaza. But today, nine years later, the Neve Dekalim Girls' High School retains its name and heritage as it settles into a new permanent campus.
Arutz Sheva was on scene for the celebrations as the students arrived for their first year in their new campus, located in Nitzan on the coast between Ashkelon and Ashdod.
"For nine years we were in a temporary solution in Givat Washington (outside of Ashdod)," said Hallel Bramson, a student of the school. "It's very moving to come to a place which is really your home, with your friends, not temporary."
The campus and buildings may be new, but the school stays true to its roots.
Moshe Pines, director of the school, showed Arutz Sheva the sign bearing the school's name, and emphasized "we felt it important to bring the original sign from Gush Katif...we renovated it a bit, and you can see it here...it symbolizes the continuity."
While the students were excited to begin the school year in a permanent location, the head of the school, Rabbi Yair Ganz, noted on the mixed feeling to inaugurate the new campus.
"There's a combination of tears and happiness...it's happy to come back to settle permanently after an exile of nine years, it's an amazing feeling...during these days we do remember the home there (in Gush Katif) and we want to come back there, and that's why there's also tears," explained the rabbi.
Many former residents of Gush Katif have said they sense a changing awareness taking place in Israel, as the thousands of rockets fired from their former homes by Gaza terrorists highlights the loss of security caused by the expulsion.
Anita Tucker, who helped found the community of Netzer Hazani in Gush Katif over 35 years before being expelled, told Arutz Sheva last month that she expects to go home "any day now," arguing that the latest Operation Protective Edge demonstrated the need to change the status quo in Gaza.