Feature: Optimism and Apprehension in Gush Katif

Doron from Gadid is optimistic. He relays the story of Nachshon ben Aminadav who was the first of the Children of Israel to walk into the Red Sea at the Exodus.

Gush Katif Correspondent Yishai Fleisher , | updated: 14:36

Doron says that just as the sea did not split for Nachshon until the waters reached his nostrils, so too, the salvation for Gush Katif will not come until the final moment when all hope is lost. Doron is in the process of remodeling his house - investing time and money in the future of Gush Katif.

The Gush Katif Town of Gadid
Speaking of his neighbors, Doron says that they will not do any packing until they see a soldier knocking on their front door. If that moment does arrive then the townspeople will leave without a fight; they don't want any scenes. Doron and many of his friends recently went on a 'tour of tombs' in the north of Israel, to pray at the gravesites of righteous Jews. Upon their return, their bus was searched thoroughly by police and soldiers for any stowaway passengers trying to sneak into the Gush. Doron was enraged at this didactic search: "What are we, terrorists? You don't even search Arabs like this!"

Elan, a security ranger in N'vei Dekalim, is worried for his five kids. He hopes that his family will not be forced to leave, but he is also seeking government reparations in case the plan does go through. In dealing with the Disengagement Administration, the people in charge of doling out compensation and accommodations for the evictees, he has been met
The Gush Katif Town of Neve Dekalim
with repeated frustration and nightmarish bureaucracy. He says that although television and radio commercials are being aired claiming that there is "a solution for every resident," in actuality no housing is available and the money is a joke. He does not own much and therefore will not lose much, but he feels lucky that he is not a farmer because "they will lose everything".

Baruch, a building contractor and student from Yatir in the Southern Hebron Hills, moved to Gush Katif with his wife and young son. Baruch uses his skills to help people fix up their houses and their property. He thinks that the Kfar Maimon demonstration was a great success because it was able to draw so many police officers from their other duties."If the police are out here dealing with us, they're not destroying houses in Gush Katif," he said. He believes, and is actively convincing the leadership, that the next demonstration should compose of three separate marches, one heading to the Elei Sinai bloc of communities in northern Gaza, one heading to Netzarim, in central Gaza, and one bound for Gush Katif. This, he claims, will tie up all the forces needed for the planned expulsion. If a group of marchers makes it into the Jewish communities, it will be virtually impossible to forcibly remove them.
Ariel Sharon Founds Gush Katif's Rafiah Yam, 1984

Baruch tries to energize others to continue the struggle: "we have run a marathon for a year and half, does it make sense to stop running one kilometer before the finish line?"

David made Aliyah from Arizona and came directly to N'vei Dekalim fourteen years ago. Though he does not speak Hebrew well, he regularly attends a Talmud lesson taught in Hebrew. David recently married and continues to build his home, mostly with his own hands. He loves N'vei Dekalim and the idyllic lifestyle centered around the synagogue and the Sabbath. In his view, the job of Gush Katif residents is to continue living that idyllic life. "The children must go to schools, the women must feel safe, and the men must continue studying and praying." "Our fight", he says, "is the fight against human nature. One either serves the 'Neshama,' the soul, or the 'Guf,' the body. Our government, is filled with people serving the body, serving their own ego."
The Gush Katif Town of Neve Dekalim

The happiest population in Gush Katif is the youth, or 'HaNoar,' as they call themselves. Their summer vacation is filled with learning to rebuild broken down houses, planting vegetables, and fashioning beach houses and makeshift synagogues. They also plaster Gush Katif with posters that read: "Smiling is a crooked line that will straighten out everything" and "The old fool rebels against the King - who is he
anyway?" (Sharon being the fool, and the King being G-d). Hundreds of Gush Katif youth regularly go to the Kisufim Junction at night to debate with soldiers and persuade them to disobey orders and not to take part in the eviction of their homes. Yet with all the madness that surrounds them, summer is still summer,and the kids indulge in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, surfing, swimming, and being stung by the inevitable 'Medusa' jellyfish.
Youth in Gush Katif

The large man behind the counter at the Burger joint in the heart of N'vei Dekalim does not sport a kippa (skullcap worn by observant Jews). When asked whether he thinks things are going to be alright, he asks in return: "Do you believe in G-d? Well if you do, you know that everything that happens is His will, and therefore whatever happens is for the good."