After 35 years, Sinai expellees are still hurting

Yamit expellee Shmulik Atzmon talks about why he organized an event commemorating 35 years since the expulsion from Sinai.

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Benny Tucker,

Ceremony for Yamit (file)
Ceremony for Yamit (file)
Flash 90

The families expelled from Yamit in 1982 are holding an event commemorating 35 years since the expulsion.

Shmulik Atzmon, who himself was a resident of Yamit, told Arutz Sheva that Israel has completely forgotten the Yamit's residence paid an incredibly heavy price.

Yamit was a town in the northern Sinai Peninsula, and its residents were expelled after Israel and Egypt signed a 1979 "land for peace" agreement in which the Sinai Peninsula was traded for peaceful Egypt-Israel relations.

"Our group numbers about 400 people, all around age 70 or 80. Many of the residents suffered tragedies and trauma after the expulsion. We always try to emphasize the positive side of the story, but the issues we've tried to ignore all these years are still around," Atzmon said.

"Many of the residents collapsed financially, and some took their own lives.

"People called them millionaires, but it's not true. Yes, they received what they needed to rebuild their lives, rent an apartment, and a bit more. But many of these people lost everything they had - whether it was a marriage, or maybe their children - and many of them left Israel entirely.

"There are many sad stories, and the people are finally willing to open up and talk about it.

"Today, 35 years later, people are willing to talk about the sad and difficult aspects of the expulsion.

"I also have a tragic personal story. We were a movement of people who left everything and moved to Sinai. We invested everything we had in our new homes, we created new towns, and one day, all of our hard work dissipated.

"People went quietly and accepted the decree, so that Israel would have a peaceful border. And then twelve years ago, they expelled more Jews from Gush Katif - publicly, proudly, with lots of media coverage. The entire public was aware of it.

"I admire these people, and I work with them, and together we've made a museum and an organization, but no one talks about what we've been through, and that's a grave sin. It's time justice was done.

"How can it be that after 35 years, the State of Israel does not mention the expulsion from Sinai at all? They talk all day about Gush Katif, how stupid it was, how awful it was.

"The State of Israel owes a bit of attention to the group which paid such a heavy price to allow Israel to enjoy peace with Egypt.

"I'm not asking for an apology. I'm just asking for us to be remembered."








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