N'vei Dekalim: Paradise Turned to Hell

The police have finally realized that unguarded filled houses in emptied-out communities might attract looters. Guards are now stationed around the towns - too late to save already-looted property.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 10:20


Ayelet F., 19, spent this past year in the Gaza Coast Regional Council security office, for a year of volunteer national service. In this framework, she is still in the area. She spoke this morning about her experiences of the last two days.

"We lived in Gadid, right next to N'vei Dekalim where I work, and on Friday we were told to leave our homes. Since then, the entire security staff has been sleeping in the Regional Council building. Yesterday, my friend and I went to the synagogue in Gadid for Sabbath prayer services, and then we decided to take a look at our apartment. When we walked in, we nearly went into shock: the entire place was overturned, and our refrigerator was gone, and other things were stolen as well. Later we heard that other property was stolen from others as well..."

Asked if she had filed a police complaint, Ayelet said, "No, not yet. But it's of course not the refrigerator that bothers me - it's the feeling of humiliation and the chutzpah... So now finally the police realized that they have to have protection, so they have stationed guards all over."

Q. "Do you have any idea who did it? Arabs, soldiers, others?"

A. "We don't know, but I don't think it was Arabs. There are people around, and there were some people from Be'er Sheva who were caught roaming around here - I have no idea how they were able to get in through Kisufim..."

Q. "Have you been able to walk around N'vei Dekalim at all?"

A. "Yes, and it is an absolute travesty. There is garbage all over the place - bottles, and junk, and the remains of fires, and broken windows, and it's just terrible. N'vei Dekalim used to be paradise, a real Garden of Eden, and now it's turned to a hell..."

Q. "It must be a terrible torture to see such sights."

A. "It really is. Last night, I simply broke down and cried; I nearly fainted. There's no question that even though I'm holding up OK, I will need help and counseling after this."

Q. "... What do the yeshivot look like - Yeshivat Torat HaChaim and the Yamit Hesder Yeshiva?"

A. "There are actually a few people left in both. We ate in the Hesder Yeshiva [pictured] on the Sabbath with about 100 people - including some children of families who stayed behind, and even some families who the army apparently overlooked and forgot to evacuate..."

Q. "I hear chanting and yelling in the background - where are you now?"

A. "I'm in Moshav Katif, with the rest of the security staff, including Ami Shaked, the chief security officer [who was an inspirational leader throughout the past months]; he's like others - strong, but breaking on the inside... I do feel very privileged to be able to be in the front lines of this. We have to be strong; we need strong people at this time."