Gov´t Leaves Expulsion Victims Without Work

The Sharon government has left expelled Gush Katif residents out of work while trying to show the public and Likud party members it is caring for the victims, the ex-Gaza Coast spokesman charged.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu & Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, | updated: 13:29

Eran Sternberg said the Disengagement Authority and the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are making headlines without any news in an effort to win support from the Likud Central Committee, which will meet in two weeks to set the date for party primaries.

The government has given the expelled Israeli citizens "breakfast and a place to lay down, but the bottom line is that the people have no work," said Sternberg, the former spokesman for the Gaza Coast Regional Council. Sternberg now lives temporarily in a small guest apartment at Kibbutz Hafetz Haim.

Sternberg pointed out that many of the Gush Katif residents were farmers and are now in their 50s. "Whoever understands a little bit about agriculture knows that it takes about 10 years to establish a profitable farm," which he says would leave some people unable to possibly generate income until they reached almost 70 years old.

The government is also ignoring people from other trades. Expelled teachers staying temporarily in Jerusalem hotels said they have not received salaries from the Education Ministry. Students from the former N'vei Dekalim community went on strike Thursday in support of the teachers.

A former Ganei Tal resident who drove his own trucks said he does not know what he will do. "I have two trucks, but they are standing still" because his clients are in other areas, he explained.

"The government works to make a check mark [that it is helping], but does not find solutions," Sternberg charged. He said offers of employment are unsuitable. "Two hundred people go [to the government office] and 190 return. If there are job offers, they are suggestions that a kindergarten teacher work as an electrician or welder."

Sternberg, who is also unemployed, sharply criticized the government's advertising campaign claiming that "for every [Gush Katif] resident that there is a solution." Sternberg said, "It is a cheap campaign without any value or content, and now the reality is blowing up [in our faces]."

Earlier this month, a private effort got underway to find jobs for the many Jews who are unemployed as a result of the uprooting of Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Netta Shapira, who has taken it upon herself to be a clearing house for employers seeking to offer jobs to the expellees, quotes Maimonides in her email announcing the effort, saying that the greatest charity is to make a person independent.

"As of now," Shapira writes, "the families are in a state of uncertainty in every aspect of life; yet, in coming weeks, each family will have to decide where it is headed. And the matter of livelihood is a critical aspect of that decision. As the group in question is large and varied in every way, any open position may be appropriate for someone among them."

Shapira asks for any and all employment opportunities to be sent to her at jobkatif@hotmail.co.il.