Destruction of Neve Dekalim yeshiva
Destruction of Neve Dekalim yeshiva Israel News photo: Channel 10

The Komemiyut movement will be holding on Wednesday its annual event marking the destruction of Gush Katif, the expulsion of its 8,000 Jewish residents and the burning of the synagogues there, in what was euphemistically called the "disengagement" from Gaza by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government.

The event, which will be held in the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City, will be attended by leading rabbis and public figures and a large crowd from among the general public is expected to be present as well.

This is the fifth year in a row that the event will be held, and the second time it will be held in the Hurva Synagogue, a fact which Komemiyut chairman Rabbi Musa Cohen told Arutz Sheva on Sunday is symbolic of the desire and longing to return to the uprooted Gush Katif, just as the Hurva was rebuilt after destruction by a Jordanian shell.

The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. (Israel time) and will begin with a seminar led by rabbis, followed by a mincha (afternoon) service which will also be attended by those in the crowd who mark the day of Gush Katif’s destruction by fasting. Following the prayer service participants will hold a rally at the Western Wall.

During the seminar the speakers will discuss the issue of the expulsion from Gush Katif and the lessons to be learned for the future, including how to deal with those who even today call for the uprooting of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria.

“We failed in our mission,” Rabbi Cohen told Arutz Sheva. “There was a terrible desecration of G-d's Name during the expulsion. There was destruction of communities and burning of synagogues.”

The Gazan Arabs who entered the area right after the Jews were expelled burned the beautiful synagogues there with shouts of joy, while Israelis watched the live films in horror.

Rabbi Cohen said that a day of study and prayer is important, not only because of the power of prayer, but also to  the cognitition of each participant so that they can understand their duty to act to prevent the recurrence of such acts in the future. He said that although a single event will not have great influence, holding a series of similar events will have a long-term impact.

Rabbi Cohen referred to the issue of differences between leaders in religious Zionism about how to act to prevent another 'disengagement' plan. He noted that while different rabbis may have different opinions as to what courses of action should be taken, there is a consensus among rabbis that Jews should resist any future expulsion from their homes. He noted that despite the differences in opinions on other issues, Knesset members from the National Union, the Jewish Home and Shas are all expected to attend Wednesday’s event.

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