Daily Israel Report

Optimism and Bitterness Amongst Gush Katif Expellees

The trials and tribulations of the expelled Gush Katif families are far from over. Some families from Netzer Hazani are trying to regroup in the Golan Heights.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 2/23/2006, 7:29 AM / Last Update: 2/22/2006, 10:10 AM

Mayan Yadai, a 28-year-old mother of two who used to live in the northern Gush Katif town of Netzer Hazani, told Arutz-7 that she and some 17 other families are planning to build a new neighborhood in the Golan.

"Why not build a new full-fledged community?" she was asked, and answered, "We would like to, but building a new community at this time seems to be impossible. But we are young, and building a new neighborhood in the existing community of Avnei Eitan will also be a welcome challenge for our strengths."

When the Yadai family and the some 70 other families of Netzer Hazani were thrown out of their homes last summer in Ariel Sharon's Disengagement plan, they first made their way to the Western Wall. From there, however, they were relocated to the town of Hispin, a religious-Zionist community in the southern Golan Heights. The families worked very hard to remain together, in the knowledge that the perpetuation of their community would give them the strength to survive the trauma of the expulsion.

To a certain extent, they succeeded. Most of the families now reside in Ein Tzurim, not far from Ashkelon, and are waiting for their caravillas [government-supplied pre-fab housing] to be ready for them - before the Passover holiday, they hope. The caravillas are to be placed in Yesodot, just two miles from Yad Binyamin, another large center of displaced Gush Katif families.

However, some of the families have remained in the Hispin guest-house throughout this long, seven-month period since the expulsion - and wish to build their permanent homes in the Golan. Ms. Yadai told Arutz-7 that the new core-group moving to Avnei Eitan numbers some 12-14 Netzer Hazani families, plus several more from the now-destroyed communities of N'vei Dekalim, Katif, Kfar Darom and Morag. "And we hope there will be more, as well," she said.

The plan is to move in to caravillas in Avnei Eitan within the coming weeks - although it may take until Passover - and then to start building permanent homes about a mile outside the town. "We will be a new neighborhood of Avnei Eitan," she said, "and we are very happy about it. The people in the Golan are just great, and have been very helpful and welcoming, and are always working to find solutions for us."

"Is it hard to leave the Netzer Hazani community?" she was asked. "It's very hard to do so," Mayan answered, "as we are like family. We will remain close, but for some of us like myself, it is hard for us to stay in the center of the country, near cities. We need the type of pastoral life we had in Gush Katif. In addition, for some of the families who built Netzer Hazani, it's hard to start again from scratch - but that's exactly what we want to do here."

Mayan said that the main problem, and a major difficulty, is the lack of work for most of the families. In the Golan, they will be involved in agriculture, as they were in Gush Katif - but with a difference: "We will have to start again, learning what type of products can be grown here, and how to do it. But again, the Golan people are helping us all the way."

Mayan lived in Netzer Hazani for two years before being uprooted. A neighbor of hers in Hispin grew up and raised his family there, and his views are slightly different. Aviel Tucker recently wrote the following open letter, in which his pain and anguish cry out from every word:

"Please, Don't Humiliate Us Any More"
"Many days have passed since we were banished from our homes and holy land in Gush Katif, and since we were defeated in our struggle to save them. Ever since that terrible day, we have learned to live as nomads, without a home and without an address - lives of uncertainty... We have learned to receive gifts, coupons, and support, and we have gotten to know the mitzvah of hessed [kindness] from the other side. As if that were not enough, we have been forced to bow our heads before those who brought this terrible decree upon us; we have learned to beg them for another room, a permit, a piece of land... We have experienced real exile, being given to the mercies of the master who, even if he does bad by you, you have no choice - because of the helpless ones who depend on you - but to bow your head, smile, shake his hand, laugh at his jokes, because in the end, you need him...

"One of the cruel aspects of this expulsion is that the same ones who destroyed
our world are those who have the power to rehabilitate us, in the manner and with the budget that they determine. A type of Sodom-like situation.

"...We will never forget those who are responsible for this heinous crime that was perpetrated upon us and upon our holy land. We will never forgive, because we do not have the right to forgive. We ask of everyone... never to forget or to forgive, and if he suddenly feels a burst of sudden love for the government, let him take a short time-out and visit the grave of Hezi Hazani [of Netzer Hazani] who died of a sudden heart attack a month after the expulsion... or to visit the ruined families, or the boys who are hospitalized in various institutions.

"...We knew during the course of the struggle that our blind faith in the Master of the Universe could cost us dearly, and in fact we have no doubt that this is what is occurring in This World - but we are confident that G-d sees and keeps count, and we have no regrets over our pure and complete faith in G-d... We ask of our leaders, whose intentions are certainly good and who do much on our behalf, not to announce their forgiveness in our name; please don't forget or forgive in our names, and just allow us to retain whatever self-respect we still have."