What Keeps Them Going: Gush Katif Reflections

Ten minutes' worth of reading the bulletin boards outside the synagogues and stores in Gush Katif provides an in-depth look at what life under the gun there is all about.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:43

"Ad Kan U'Mikan" – Til Here and From Here (a play on the word for 'update') – is the weekly publication of Gush Katif's local task force running the struggle against the expulsion plan. Its most recent edition, published on Friday and distributed on bulletin boards and elsewhere, includes the usual combination of inspiration, confidence-building, practical suggestions and announcements.

"The fateful hour of decision is approaching," the latest edition begins, "and the sword of expulsion appears to be nearing closer each day. Our prayers, too, get stronger, asking, 'Show us speedily Your wonders, and sound Your call once again: Don't lift your hand against the boy [a reference to G-d's call to Abraham not to sacrifice his son Isaac].'

"During this entire period, for the vast majority of the residents of the Gush [Katif], life continues in its regular routine. Every day in which we live here and look right and left and continue to see our friends here, is another day of Sanctification of G-d's Name. Another day in which the spirit emerges victorious over brute force, and faith beats out physical coercion. A day like this is a gift via which G-d enables us to actualize our best strengths, and in this way to be an example and a model to the many eyes that are lifted towards us, setting the clear direction for our children and the future generations."

"Many residents of the Gush have sensed of late that they have the necessary strengths to meet the challenge arising upon us. Even if, Heaven forbid, we reach the day in which we find expulsion orders on our doors, we will declare lucidly: We are not moving!"

"Additional families are carefully and responsibly assessing, between themselves, their own readiness and capabilities – in terms of their relationship with their spouses and within their families – to also be included among those who can say the above statement."

"Following the call of the Gush Katif Rabbis Council and the Task Force, many more people are preparing for an extended stay in the Gush in the days following Tisha B'Av [when the expulsion orders take effect]. Similarly, communities have begun to organize for the special tasks that will be necessary and for continued day-to-day life here."

"A legal opinion prepared by the Land of Israel Legal Forum, signed by Attorneys Yitzchak Meron and Yossi Fuchs [who have volunteered their services for the past several months on behalf of the residents – ed.] will help us consider correctly the risks involved in these decisions. The forum has filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking to nullify the punitive clauses, and especially the one that negates the 'seniority' compensation for those who remain after August 17th… The State itself, in its response, admitted that the law does not negate this compensation, but merely postpones the payment, forcing the residents to have to go to court to receive it…"

The bulletin also features announcements about events such as an educational play followed by a discussion with a visiting teacher, a magic show for children, and the need for empty apartments and rooms for families who continue to arrive in Gush Katif.

Also noted is the launching of Voice of Katif Radio at 106 FM from 1PM to 4PM every day, and the dedication of the new mikveh [ritual bath] in N'vei Dekalim this coming Monday.

Prayer rallies are also noted: "The hareidi-religious public is showing increasing solidarity with what is going on here in Gush Katif. Announcements posted all over the hareidi neighborhoods call for holding prayer rallies this coming week, and on Wednesday [today, August 10], there will be giant prayer rally in Jerusalem, headed by Rabbi Menachem Porush [and Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef]. One of the hareidi rabbis involved in this venture said that ever since the destruction of the Holy Temple, there has not been such a great spiritual awakening."

Other items posted on the local bulletin boards talk of the "power of prayer" - referring to miracles experienced by recent mortar shell victim Yigal Kirshenzaft; classes on raising children; warnings to be wary of possible Shabak (General Security Service) undercover agents; requests for visitors looking to volunteer; and more.