The Director of Social Services in the Binyamin Regional Council has warned in a professional opinion that the Amona families are in danger of falling apart as a result of the trauma of February's forced evacuation.
Educational Psychologist Dr Hanoch Yeras determined in a written opinion that if no permanent housing for the Amona evacuees is provided soon, the results will be disastrous. Yeras will present his findings at a hearing Thursday that the Civil Administration will hold regarding whether to grant building permits for Amichai, which is slated house former Amona residents.
The residents of Amona have been living without permanent housing ever since they were expelled from Amona in Feburary 2017. They currently live in Ofrah's Field School, in crowded conditions with little privacy.
The Binyamin Social Services found that "despite the preparation of the residents, the evacuation was sudden and traumatic. Families left homes in which they lived for many years and had to adapt to alternative, irregular and different housing arrangements."
"Families have been living in overcrowded and overcrowded rooms for over six months, with no normal family time, and the impact on their family functioning is evident. Many of the children have dropped out of school, and the schooling of the children who have not dropped out has severely deteriorated."
The document went on to list the different ways the residents are getting professional help. "The sudden changes and emotional states of the parents led to many of their children experiencing emotional problems, such as the difficulty in regulating emotions, anxiety attacks and symptoms of PTSD."
It continued to say that "many of Amona's children are undergoing therapy. The evacuation caused a severe identity crisis among the children, which is manifested in problematic behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse."
The head of the Social Services Department identified serious problems among the adults as well. "There was a sharp rise in marital problems, and we are afraid that the families will disintegrate" he said. "Due to emotional difficulties, a number of residents were fired from their jobs and there was also a fear of suicide among residents."
The document stressed that it was urgent to move the Amona residents to a permanent home. "We find that it is extremely important to move the families to permanent homes quickly. "In light of past research done on the Gush Katif expellees who emphasized the importance of the community as a significant part of the rehabilitation and mental well-being of those that were expelled, it is important to find a permanent and stable home for the evacuated residents of Amona."
A new town called Amichai was slated to be built as part of an agreement the residents struck with the government, but the state has dragged its feet in building it. The project has been mired in bureaucracy, with multiple work stoppages due to budget deficits. On Friday, work resumed on Amichai after more than a month of inaction due to a budget shortfall with the Interior Ministry.
Amona Spokesperson Avichai Boaron said that the state needed to do more for the residents after destroying their lives, comparing them to soldiers that returned from battle. "They sacrificed their best years of their lives setting up a new village, which the State of Israel sent them to do. We will carry the scars of the evacuation and the destruction of our life's work carried on our bodies and souls for the rest of our lives."
"There is one thing that the state needs to do to dull the pain and rectify this njustice - the state must remove all the barriers that are stopping the Amichai's establishment. We want to rebuild our lives," he concluded.