Shirat Hayam Refugees to Start New Town in Jordan Valley

Refugees from Shirat Hayam, one of the Gush Katif towns destroyed by IDF troops implementing the Disengagement Plan, will be moving to the new town of Maskiot in the Jordan Valley.

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, | updated: 23:02

After the being expelled from their homes, Shirat Hayam residents moved temporarily to Kedumim in Samaria, and from there to Alon Shvot in Gush Etzion.

Residents have since reached an agreement with the head of the Jordan Valley municipality and with the settlement organization Amana to relocate to community to Maskiot.

So far, thirteen families have signed up, but a minimum of 20 families are required to set up a new community under the terms of the Expulsion and Compensation Law.

Amana is looking for more families to meet the law’s requirements.

But other obstacles might await the new residents. Maskiot, though located in the strategic Jordan valley near the Jordanian border, is in Samaria. It is unclear whether government officials will be willing to sanction a new town outside of Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

Right now, Maskiot is nothing more than a dusty outpost that was abandoned by its residents two years ago. A half a year later, a pre-army yeshiva opened up with a few new families. A few months ago, the yeshiva shut down and the place was abandoned a second time.

While conditions at Maskiot might be tough for some, the former residents of Shirat Hayam are used to overcoming hardship. Residents of the Jordan Valley are hoping their new neighbors will infuse new life into a desolate area waiting for more determined Jews to make the desert bloom.