Ganei Tal Residents Cope With Government Callousness

A visitor to Chafetz Chaim, where the expelled residents of Ganei Tal are living until their temporary homes in Yad Binyamin are ready, put down on paper her impressions.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 13:20

The writer is a sister of Simcha Rivlin, whose husband Gideon - one of the founders of Ganei Tal - was murdered by a terrorist bomb in Gush Katif in January of this year. Excerpts:

"This Wednesday, I visited my sister in the Chafetz Chaim guest house. She and her family are not vacationing there; with their neighbors and friends from Ganei Tal, they are living in temporary quarters there until their next temporary quarters - the caravillas - are ready several months from now...

My sister lost her husband eight months ago when the army jeep in which he was traveling ran over a bomb. She is a widow with five children aged 11-26; they just buried their father for the second time in eight months.

...I thought - it's no secret among my mostly right-wing family and friends - that there was no choice but to leave Gaza. I still hope it was the right thing to do. But I am very ashamed at the government's treatment of the people involved. As organized and compassionate was the army's work, the government's work was equally confused, poor-quality, uncaring and even close to evil.

Compared to many of the other evictees, the people in Chafetz Chaim enjoy conditions that are considered "good." Families with five children have two rooms, while couples who built large houses in Gush Katif - with the encouragement of the government - are now housed in one room...

The Disengagement Authority claims that because of the residents' lack of cooperation, it was impossible to build caravillas in advance, for fear that they would remain empty. I say, however, that a government clearly planning to carry out the disengagement had the responsibility to make sure of a solution in advance. In the past, when it coincided with his goals, Sharon did not refrain from putting up dozens of houses in Gush Katif - houses that remained empty until they were destroyed in the disengagement. [emphasis added]

The children have not found themselves. Some of them run to the beach, which used to be so close, while their parents run to banks and lawyers to find out where the heck is the money that's supposed to be coming to them but has not yet arrived... and standing in line for the two washing machines that are supposed to service the 80 families.

Much anger, bitterness and despair can be felt there in Chafetz Chaim. Not even advance payments on the compensation have been made, there is no work, and some people no longer have on what to live. And already, the bureaucracy has begun persecuting them and demanding various proofs before they can receive their money.

... Good people who supported themselves respectably with hard work their whole lives have been thrown out of their homes and their lives, and are now on the margins of public awareness. Where is Yossi Beilin and Yossi Sarid when these social ills need to be fixed? If these were Palestinians, they would long be competing with B'Tzelem for television interviews to malign the Prime Minister and the Cabinet ministers.

...Many of them are 50 years old and more, without work and without a clear future to give them hope and motivation - yet you don't see them wallowing in self-pity.

...It would be nice if, for starters, they would receive their compensation, and if justice would be done with the moving companies that overcharged them, and if the Prime Minister and his yes-men would sincerely apologize.

Zahava Assaf Edelstein