Torat HaChaim Yeshiva in N´vei Dekalim: Expelled

The students of Yeshivat Torat HaChaim, one of the two yeshivot in N'vei Dekalim, were expelled at approximately 2 PM today. The students continued to recite heart-rending Psalms on the buses out.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:22

After 1-2 days of non-stop prayer and study, the students filed out tearfully and boarded the buses sent in by the army. They continued reciting heart-rending Psalms even as they boarded the buses and as the buses slowly took them out of N'vei Dekalim and Gush Katif.

"It’s hard to believe that this is happening," one student said from the bus taking him away, "but it's even harder to believe that it's being done to us by Jews." He said that though the man who orchestrated the catastrophe was motivated by personal and selfish reasons, many of those who took part in it were interested in doing harm to the religious-Zionist camp in general - implying that it would therefore be harder to forgive them, if at all.

The busloads of yeshiva students are headed for the hesder yeshiva in Sderot, which is currently empty for the three-week summer vacation. It is not known how long they will remain there. Though an arrangement has been made for the yeshiva to be relocated in Yad Binyamin, the yeshiva's head Rabbi Shmuel Tal has told his students that they will take part in the general protest efforts of N'vei Dekalim for a communal solution.

In Kerem Atzmonah, army forces entered the community in the afternoon. An attempt to reach an agreement failed very quickly, with the residents refusing to leave voluntarily. The forces then began to burst violently into the caravan homes and forcibly remove the families. Very difficult clashes between the soldiers and some residents ensued.

One family in Kerem Atzmonah, parents and some eight young children, came out of their home and walked towards the bus - some crying, some singing sadly - with their hands up, wearing yellow-orange stars with the word Jude.

The beachside community of Shirat HaYam and Kfar Darom are slated for destruction tomorrow. Neither one is expected to be easy for the army. Hundreds of youths are fortifying themselves in and atop the synagogue in Kfar Darom. Police have said that every Jewish civilian in Gaza is there illegally, no charges will be filed against those who leave peacefully.

No soldiers have arrived in Atzmonah, and the residents are continuing their daily routines. Many of the residents have already experienced a forced expulsion; they were removed from the original Atzmonah in Sinai in 1982 following the Begin-Sadat peace agreement. One resident said that they have heard rumors that the army is scheduled to arrive on Sunday.

The nursery in Atzmonah is the largest in the country, exporting five truckloads of flowers a day. No plans have been made for its dismantling.

(large photo: courtesy of Moti Sender and Katif.net)