The Last Family in N'vei Dekalim

David and Yaffa Banjo and some of their children are on their way this morning to the Jerusalem Gates Hotel. Their expulsion marks the end of the town of N'vei Dekalim.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 11:11


Though the expulsion stage of the destruction of N'vei Dekalim was considered to be completed on Thursday, it turned out that at least one family was overlooked. Monday afternoon, the Banjo family - whose house is located diagonally across the street from the main synagogue complex - could be seen sitting with friends leisurely on their lawn.

A short visit with them left the clear impression that their expulsion is a double tragedy. It marks the beginning of a sad chapter of wandering in the life of the Banjo family, and the official end of the largest of the Gush Katif communities.

"How is it that you're still here?" the Banjos were asked Monday.

"A few soldiers came here a couple of times," David said, "but we explained to them that we did not plan to leave, and they went away. So we're here."

But whatever happiness they felt at remaining in their home was over-shadowed by the fact that the community was all but destroyed. "We'll probably be the ones to turn out the lights," Yaffa said, sadly. "I don't think we'll be able to remain here any more. What's the point, if there's no community here?"

"It's heartbreaking," she continued, sitting on the stoop of her house. Not a single box was packed up inside. "Even those who were the strongest amongst us - people who didn't pack up a thing, people whose faith was unshakable - they're not here any more. Others have returned just to pack up. It seems like there's nothing to do."

Many people still remained in N'vei Dekalim even this past Sabbath. "We ate with some 300 people in the Yamit Hesder yeshiva (pictured), and it truly was a special experience. But now they're mostly all gone."

The destruction of Gush Katif could possibly have been stopped, the Banjos and their guests sitting on the lawn agreed, had tens of thousands of people come down south last week. Many feel that the show of strength at Kfar Maimon, when some 40,000 people tried to march on Gush Katif, was a couple of weeks too early.

"I'm still not sure it's too late," Yaffa said. "The army and police are now concentrating on the Shomron. Most of their forces are there. If people start marching en-masse to Gush Katif, even though the Kisufim entrance is guarded and closed, we can re-settle this area." But she had no illusions that this would actually happen.

A group of soldiers walked down the street. David looked up, then turned away. "We don't have to worry about those guys," he said. "They're trainees in an officers' course. We have to worry about a different group."

No one came last night, either. Only this morning, five days after most everyone else was thrown out of N'vei Dekalim, did that "different group" of soldiers come and inform them that their time had come.

"We're on our way to Jerusalem," the usually buoyant and optimistic David Banjo said this morning - but this time the sadness was palpable in his voice. "They told us to go to the Jerusalem Gates Hotel - I assume there's room for us there."