Shirat HaYam (Song of the Sea) was founded by Cabinet decision on the day of the Kfar Darom bus bombing - November 20, 2000. Two teachers were murdered in that attack, and several children were wounded, including the three Cohen children who lost legs.
The Cohen family, in their living room.
Since that day, when the Cabinet allowed Jewish entry to the abandoned Eygptian houses, and up to about a year ago, 15 families moved in and formed a thriving community. They later moved into caravans. In the past several months, many more families have joined, building up the existing structures, adding two or three tent cities, and multiplying the population several times over.
Among the residents of Shirat HaYam are Women in Green co-head Nadia Matar and her family, who moved in a few months ago.
Next door to Shirat HaYam is the small community of Kfar Yam, with only a few individual families. The two communities used to be further away, but the recent addition of a tent city brought the two closer together.
The most famous residents of Kfar Yam are Aryeh Yitzchaki and his wife Datia. They helped organize the absorption of the hundreds of new arrivals, and are known for their relatively militant stance. Aryeh Yitzchaki has said in the past that he would not leave there alive, and his wife said today that they are now standing on their roof, refusing to leave under any circumstances. "If we are not shot upon, we will not shoot," she said. "I see the Muassi Arabs celebrating our defeat, and we will not let it happen."
The Yitzhaki family's house.
Forces entered the Yitzchaki home and with relative ease removed those standing on the roof.