Egged Sues State Over Disengagement Losses

Egged, the bus company says, was one of the biggest losers in the 2006 disengagement - and it's still waiting for state compensation.

Yaakov Levi ,

Egged Bus (archive)
Egged Bus (archive)
Israel news photo: Egged

Over eight years after the event, Israel is still not over the legacy of the disengagement, when 10,000 Jews thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif and northern Samaria. Some of those who were forced out of their homes and lost their jobs still have not replaced both – and businesses that suffered losses are still seeking compensation.

Among those companies is Egged, Israel's largest bus company – which is suing the government for NIS 55 million in losses it sustained because of the disengagement. Along with the homes and farms of Jews living in Gush Katif, the IDF forced businesses in the Erez Industrial Zone to abandon factories and warehouses – and in the case of Egged, a large bus depot, gas station, and infrastructure.

Egged used the facility to serve not only Gush Katif, but the entire western Negev, and as a result of the disengagement, it was forced to rebuild the facility elsewhere. In addition, the company said, it lost out on millions of shekels that were due it because of the abrogation of long-term contracts to provide bus transportation to Gush Katif.

Egged officials say that their company was by far the biggest commercial loser in the disengagement. Egged filed requests for compensation along with all other homeowners and businesses, but like many of those, the company faced stone-walled obfuscation as the state sought to backtrack on compensation commitments.

As a result, Egged sued, and last December the state signed a deal with the company to pay a portion of the compensation related to the physical plant it gave up. A special state committee was supposed to come up with a figure to compensate Egged for the loss of its contracts, but here too, the state said that it had not yet come to a decision – and was unlikely to come to one anytime soon.

As a result, Egged is back in court, demanding that the state pay off its contract. Lawyers for both sides will meet in court next week to discuss the suit.