'Israel settles olim, but not Gush Katif evacuees'

Ashkelon Regional Council head explains how Israel still hasn't fulfilled its promise to take care of former Gush Katif residents.

Benny Tocker ,

Neve Dekalin, Gush Katif (July 2005)
Neve Dekalin, Gush Katif (July 2005)
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

Yair Farjun, the head of the Ashkelon Beach Regional Council, has revealed the sad reality of the families evacuated from Gush Katif to senior members of the Hemed religious education administration.

Farjun told Arutz Sheva that it's important for the Israeli education system to deal with the big question of why the state did not uphold its promises. "It's really a sad and fascinating story. The State of Israel has managed to build hundreds of communities since it was created. Now, 11 years after the evacuation, the State of Israel has not truly rehabilitated all of those it evacuated.

"They need to fulfill their promise but, sadly, the temporary residences are still standing. Neve Dekalim's school was only built after eight years. On one hand there is action, but on the other there are the temporary residences and only ten percent of the people, at most, have returned to farming."

He explained that the education system should deal with the sad reality. "There are many people who, since the evacuation, have not returned to the workforce. And there are 30 to 40 percent who didn't return to work and are now already 65 years old. They haven't been working for ten years. I recently realized that we, as a state, know how to settle olim hadashim who voluntarily came to the Jordan Valley, the Negev or Judea and Samaria, but the State doesn't know how to settle the people who were evacuated."

Farjun praised the religious education system. "Once a year there is the Gush Katif heritage day, and I always see which schools participate. It's fascinating to see that only the religious schools, plus a few that aren't in the Hemed system who come out of curiosity or in order to know what to say when they are asked questions."