Housing Minister Uri Ariel
Housing Minister Uri Ariel Spokesmanship

Housing Minister Uri Ariel expressed hope on Wednesday that Israel will eventually return to Gush Katif, from which it unilaterally withdrew in 2005 – a move which resulted in hundreds of missile barrages aimed at southern Israel and two IDF operations that attempted to stop them.

Ariel was speaking during a ceremony marking the establishment of Be’er Ganim, a new community for Gush Katif residents who lost their homes during the so-called Disengagement. Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett also attended the ceremony.

"We fought hard to prevent the expulsion but failed," Ariel said. “But hopefully, after it took 2,000 years to bring the Jewish people back to their homeland and 19 years to bring back Gush Etzion and other communities, we will also return to Gush Katif. Those who remember their past will also find their future.”

"I pledge that we will take care of each displaced family, as will be required, so it can reach its permanent home. We need and ask for your cooperation to succeed."

Besides being Housing Minister, Ariel is officially responsible for the fate of the Jews who were dispossessed from their homes in Gush Katif and northern Samaria in the Disengagement.

On Sunday he announced that he had allocated 80 million shekels to build permanent housing for refugees from Gush Katif, some of whom are still living in temporary quarters.

"We will continue to take care of the communities,” Ariel said Wednesday. “We have been able, together with Housing Ministry and the Finance Ministry, to add tens of millions of shekels towards building homes for the expellees. It seemed impossible but we managed to get it into the state budget."