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Gush Katif Expellees Find the State Unprepared

While government officials are pleased with the pace of the ongoing expulsion, the former residents of Gaza are seeking to organize for their first Sabbath in exile from Gush Katif.
By Yechiel Spira & Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 8/20/2005, 11:17 PM / Last Update: 8/19/2005, 12:53 PM

Disengagement Authority Director Yonatan Bassi boasts the level of preparedness for the families, insisting the government has made unprecedented efforts to assure their new life gets off to a good start. However, inspections of absorption locations reveal that quite the contrary is true.

Gush refugees are being placed in single hotel rooms, with two beds, to accommodate parents and multiple children. There are no provisions for laundry, acceptable kosher food, daycare and many other problems, leaving the residents with the trauma of being abandoned by the same government that threw them out of their homes.

One of the residents of the town of Gadid who chose to voluntarily leave Tuesday, Tzvika Goddesman, told Israel Radio this week that the families were informed that Jerusalem hotel rooms are their new homes for the next ten days. Goddesman said that they were not given a hint as to what awaits them afterwards.

In the meantime, synagogues in Jerusalem have adopted the former Gush families, seeking to meet their basic needs, laundry, Sabbath food, basics for the children and so-forth. In various cities around the country, groups of volunteers are spontaneously organizing to try and provide material and emotional support for the now-homeless Jewish families. Expellees from Netzer Hazani went en masse to the Western Wall (Kotel) Thursday night, where they were received warmly by many worshippers, who began to sing and dance in their honor. The Netzer Hazani community is seeking to remain together whatever the arrangements are that will be made for them, but state agencies have been unable to live up to commitments to that effect.

Shas party leader Knesset Member Eli Yishai is demanding the establishment of a governmental board of inquiry into the failure of the government to see to the minimum needs of families expelled from Gaza this week.

Yishai stated that he would not have believed the horrors being endured by the families had he not seen it with his own eyes. In one case, he reported, a family was abandoned at a bus stop, left to fend for themselves after being thrown out of their homes.

Government officials admit there are problems, but insist that "overall, the families are provided for."