Gush Katif Residents Seek to Contribute

Families from Atzmonah will be starting a new pioneering community in Halutza, on the Sinai border, while those in Kfar Darom will settle down for a while in Ashkelon - "to be with the people."

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:40

Though the goal of the vast majority of the communities is to remain together, this is not always possible. The 80 families of Atzmonah, for instance, are on their way to splitting up into two groups - but they hope it will be division for the sake of multiplication. The larger group, close to 60 families, plans to remain at the Faith City tent site they have erected outside Netivot, hoping to attract other Gush Katif families and thus start a "new Gush Katif."

The other families, however, feel that such a goal is not immediately attainable, and that their "national challenge" at present is to build a new community in the Halutza Sands.

Arutz-7 spoke with Moshe Lilintal, a father of nine and a resident of Atzmonah since before its first expulsion (from Sinai, in 1982). Moshe's family is one of those headed for Halutza. "You speak of a national challenge," he was asked, "but don't you feel that the nation has betrayed you?" Moshe's response: "Whoever wants to feel betrayed, can feel that way, but we don't have time to sit and complain. The job now is to build, so that's what we'll do."

Moshe said that some families from Katif and N'vei Dekalim might join them as well, "and of course we will welcome families from all over the country as well." Most notable among the families that have already signed up are at least four that have now been expelled twice - first from Sinai, and now from Gaza. They will start out in Yated (just 4 kilometers south of the Gaza border), where caravans are waiting to be populated. Plans are already in the works, and permits have already been obtained, to start a new community nearby south of Yevul - the only civilian presence along a 40-kilometer stretch of the Israeli-Egyptian border.

Problems that still need to be solved include what to do with the dairy farm that was jointly-run by Moshav Katif and Atzmonah. Moshe, who was employed there, said, "Little by little, the [close to 500] cows are being moved - a few dozen a day - to a new farm that we rented out in Be'er Toviah, near Kiryat Malachi." It's not yet clear how long they will remain there, or how the dairy will be managed.

Another issue is that of schools. The famous Atzmonah school, in which many children in Gush Katif studied, will resume operations in the Netivot tent site. For families in Halutza, it will be close to an hour's drive.

Arutz-7 then spoke with Moshe's brother Elkanah, father of seven, who was driven out with his family from Kfar Darom almost two weeks ago. (Their parents were thrown out of N'vei Dekalim.) Kfar Darom's populace has different plans than those of Atzmonah.

"It looks like we're headed for an apartment building in Ashkelon," Elkanah said, "one that is 19 stories tall. Our goal is to be with the people, to remain in the center, to be able to have an influence..." Their children, too, are likely to study in the Atzmonah school outside Netivot.

"I'm not sure which is the bigger sacrifice," one person close to both Moshe and Elkanah said. "To live all the way out in the middle of nowhere, or for those who came single-family dwellings and an outdoors life to live in a crowded apartment building. A real Kol HaKavod [kudos] to all of them."