Gush Katif Reunion at Kisufim Crossing

Thousands of former Gush Katif residents gathered Tuesday at what used to be the Kisufim entrance to the region they called home.Together for the first time in five weeks, they remembered and cried.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:35


Shoshi Slutzky, an expellee from Ganei Tal, explained the purpose of the event:
"It wasn't exactly a memorial, but there's no doubt that we feel a type of mourning over what happened. We had a need to mark the date, to remember Gush Katif, and we also wanted to all get together after five weeks of not having seen each other. We chose Kisufim, the place that we used to pass through to reach home, and it was reminiscent of Moses and the Promised Land - being able to see from afar, but not being able to enter."

"Thousands of people came," Shoshi said, "though others were unable to bring themselves to take part. We have longings [kisufim, in Hebrew] for Gush Katif, and a desire to return, even though I don't see it happening right away. Maybe in the merit of our actions, with G-d's help, we will be able to return one day."

"Where are you now?" seemed to be the question most often heard at the event, as the expellees tried to catch up with what each other had undergone over the past weeks.

"Passages were read aloud on various Gush Katif topics," Mrs. Slutzky related, "and there was a torch procession as well. All aspects of our lives - agriculture, Torah study, youth, industry, construction, and the great strengths that we had there- were covered. It was all accompanied by very much pain, I have to say."

She noted that films of the last days of several of the communities were shown, "and surprisingly, we saw that we all did basically similar things, even though we were not in direct contact: We all gathered in the synagogue, as that the was most natural place for us, and we all recited a Ne'ilah-type [Yom Kippur] prayer, as that was the most natural thing for us; and even our crying was very similar."

Asked the current disposition of the families of Ganei Tal, Slutzky said, "We have been in the Chafetz Chaim guest house [not far from Ashdod - ed.] since the expulsion, but now we're not sure if we'll be permitted to remain here until our next site - a caravan site in nearby Yad Binyamin - is ready. It seems that we are being threatened that we will have to leave even before Yad Binyamin is ready for us. It's unbelievable to me: the government threw us out of our homes and destroyed them, and yet we have to fight for every single thing, even to stay here and wait for our temporary site to be ready."

Yad Binyamin is to be only a temporary solution for Ganei Tal: "We are scheduled to be there only for two years or so. We must decide where our permanent community will be built, and then we have to build it."

In contrast with the way they have been treated by the government, Slutzy feels, "Am Yisrael - the People of Israel - is truly a wonderful nation. People here in Chafetz Chaim and all over have been just fantastic, trying to do whatever they can to make it easier for us."