Daily Israel Report

Nitzan Becoming Mini-Gush Katif?

Some 500 families thrown out of Gush Katif last month now live in the Nitzan caravilla site north of Ashkelon, and dozens more are set to join them in the coming days.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/19/2005, 1:45 PM / Last Update: 9/19/2005, 10:09 AM

The residents are scheduled to remain in Nitzan for 2-3 years, after which they are to move to their permanent locations.

Tami, one of the women expelled from N'vei Dekalim, told Arutz-7 that after weeks of deliberations, she and her husband are strongly considering moving to Nitzan: "It's far from ideal, but there is nothing else better for us. My husband doesn't have a job, and this appears to be a place where we can live in the interim, together with friends in the same situation. We are interested in moving to the Jerusalem area, so this will be only temporary - a year or more, who knows?"

Asked if it appears that Nitzan is becoming a mini-Gush Katif, given the large amount of families living and moving there, she said, "Not at all. For one thing, N'vei Dekalim [the largest community in Gush Katif] is largely splitting up - many are going to Shafir, or to Atzmona, or to other places. A portion is also going to Nitzan. Many other communities are also going to other places, or are dispersing. So at most, it's a large part of Gush Katif - a hodge-podge of assorted families from many different communities."

Tami said that many questions still remain, and that in fact, "I am on my way right now to the lawyer to check out some of them. For one thing, the caravillas of 90 square meters (970 square feet) that they promised for large families are clearly not enough, and so we are hoping for 120 square meters. In addition, obviously there can't be a town without synagogues, stores, a mikveh and the like, and these have to be worked out. And what about school? And more and more..."

The family's children are currently enrolled in a N'vei Dekalim school in Jerusalem. It is not clear where they will study if the family moves to Nitzan two months from now.

Asked if she would be able to choose to live near her friends, Tami said, "We better be able to; there's a limit to what they can choose for us."

Beginning this Wednesday, the Interior Ministry will open an office in Nitzan twice a week to help the residents deal with pressing problems. The temporary residents will be able to take care of matters such as birth and death certificates, change of address, ID cards, passports, registration of children and the like.

The Knesset Finance Committee today approved another 1.5 billion shekels ($333 million) to pay for the disengagement plan. Eight hundred million shekels will be used for compensation to the expelled residents, while 300 million will be designated for business owners, and the remainder will be allocated to the Defense, Housing and Agriculture Ministries. Two billion shekels were approved previously, and it is expected that the entire cost of the expulsion plan will reach 8-10 billion shekels.