The Expulsion From Gush Katif

Gush Katif Resource to educate and enlighten

Archive for August, 2008

Modern Sad State of Orange

Posted by emmalazarus on August 26, 2008


This cartoon was taken from Israel National News “in 1948, families started with the temporary homes and later upgraded to houses – but the Gush Katif frontier heroes started in houses and were later forced to live in temporary houses (trailers) after being expelled from their communities of decades. And now, three years later – the vast majority of the over 1,500 famlies continue to live in shame and squalor in “caravillas” falling apart. The sad state of Israel”  (



Posted in Expulsion, Gush Katif | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

(Still) Yearning for the Land

Posted by emmalazarus on August 20, 2008

By Judy Lash Balint

August 2008: The passage of three years since she was evicted from her home in Netzer Hazani, Gush Katif, has not dulled the passion of teacher turned farmer, Anita Tucker for the land of Israel.

At a commemoration of the third anniversary of the so-called “disengagement” from Gush Katif and northern Shomron organized by the Council of Young Rabbis in Israel, Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue and the Young Israel movement, Anita Tucker was one of four speakers who slammed Israel’s Gaza pullback as she called for the public to “get out to the streets and shout, ‘Tzedek (justice) Tzedek!’ in the face of all the terrible things happening today.”

Tucker, an American-born teacher who moved to Nezer Hazani with her young family in 1976 and went on to build a thriving agricultural export business that employed local Arabs, is well known amongst Gush Katif supporters in Israel and abroad. As one of the veteran English-speaking Gush Katif residents, Tucker has addressed scores of audiences since the disengagement plan was announced—initially in her Netzer Hazani hothouse or on the lawn in front of the community synagogue. More recently, from her temporary home in Kibbutz Ein Tsurim, where her family has relocated after spending 11 months in youth hostels and guest houses in the Golan.

As she tells it, every time she speaks her longing for a return to her land becomes more intense. “I have a big zchut (privilege) that I was exiled –I can feel the longing of the Jewish people for its’ land,” she explains.

As the third anniversary of the evictions approaches, several commemorative events have been held. Yesterday, thousands gathered at Kissufim, one of the entry points into Gush Katif, to hear right-wing politicians and former Gush Katif residents pledge to hasten a return of Jewish settlement. Tucker relates that earlier in the week she took part in an organizational conference of people who are making practical preparations for an eventual return to the 23 destroyed Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip.

This despite the telephone calls she’s been getting from some of her Arab former employees telling her that all of Netzer Hazani is covered with sand since the Jews left. “It’ll be just like we found it 35 years ago,” Tucker exclaims, relishing the challenge of recreating the close-knit, productive community she was expelled from three years ago.

Aviva Pinchuk is one of those who has spent the last three years dedicated to helping the Gush Katif refugees recover from the trauma of their eviction. She told the Jerusalem audience that for her, “the disengagement is only just beginning.” Known for her activities on behalf of Kever Rachel, Pinchuk has organized bat mitzvah celebrations there for Gush Katif girls; led solidarity tours to the temporary homes of the refugees and organized bridal showers to help young Gush Katif couples establish their households. As a Torah-observant woman, Pinchuk addressed the question that shook the faith of many young Gush Katif expellees. “It does seem that God left us in the dark, He hid his face,” she noted. “But in every period of hester panim –God hiding himself, He opens a crack of light.” For Pinchuk, it was the innumerable acts of tzedaka and chessed—charitable giving and acts of loving kindness done on behalf of the refugees—that let the light in.

On the political front, Rabbi Sholom Gold, one of the founders of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel, slammed the disengagement as “the most tragic act of treachery Jews have done against fellow Jews.” Rabbi Gold called on Israel’s leaders to institute a period of “regret, repentance, reconstruction and renewal.”

Meanwhile, the hundreds who attended the Jerusalem commemoration will do their small part for the children of Sderot and the former Gush Katif communities—they collected funds for 3000 pencil cases filled with school implements and goodies that the kids will find on their desks on the first day of school.

Posted in Disengagement, Expulsion, Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

IDF General’s invitation leads to protests and cancellation

Posted by emmalazarus on August 20, 2008

An event dedicated to King David, which was set to be held in the Kfar Etzion settlement and was to be attended by public figures, intellectuals and religious officials has been cancelled. The reason for the event being called off is due to one of the public figures invited to take part in the event. This figure is Major-General Gershon Hacohen, known best for his leadership in the evacuation of Gush Katif three years ago.

Once it became known that the Hacohen was to play a part in the event, there was a huge amount of pressure from right-wing elements for the organizers to remove Hacohen from the list of speakers. Emails and calls bombarded the organizers, as well as threats to boycott and/or disturb the event. Hacohen learned of this pressure and the planned protests and decided to withdraw from the event. He said that he “does not desire to sadden people” (Israel National News). The organizers then decided to call off the event entirely. They issued a statement saying that they could not accept the “targeting” and “boycotting” of an IDF officer who had given so much to Israeli security and Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.  “We must do everything we can to avoid polarization of our society and the establishment of two states for one people, as happened 50 years after King David’s regime.” (Israel National News)

For the full story, see

Posted in Disengagement, Expulsion, Gush Katif, israel, Israeli politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Does the Israeli Government regret the Disengagement?

Posted by emmalazarus on August 18, 2008

What with the numerous events that have been held to mark the third year since the Disengagement, as well as the opening of the Gush Katif Museum, and the launch of the Knesset inquiry into the Expulsion in 2005; there may be as tendency to believe that the people and government have made a small, yet noticeable about-turn on their views towards the Expulsion.

An Israeli TV station for the Knesset, launched a campaign campaign to find public figures that have done just this. However, as Hillel Fendel cites on Arutz Sheva today, “A search for politicians who regret the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria has turned up only modest success.”

Hagai Segal, co-host of the TV show, said “I did not find any who were involved in the actual decision-making process who have expressed regret and say openly that they made a mistake…Nor have there been too many who said they wouldn’t do it again.” Segal does cite a few public figures that have indeed changed their stance towards the Disengagement. However, it does not imbue us with confidence and hope for the future. It seems that although there is a perception that the people have begun to come to the realization that the Disengagement was a mistake, what with the rockets, Lebanon war and the knowledge that the promises made to those evicted were on the whole not upheld. This regret and turn of policy has not spread to the leadership.

To see the full story, go to

Posted in Disengagement, Expulsion, Gush Katif, Israeli politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Three Years Without a Permenant Home- Anita Tucker’s video presentation

Posted by emmalazarus on August 17, 2008

This broadcast from Israel National TV is the first in a four-part series called “Expelled,” documenting the storied of four families who were evicted from Gush Katif three years ago.

Posted in Disengagement, Expulsion, Gush Katif, israel, Jewish Books, Middle East | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Gush Katif Museum Opens in Jerusalem

Posted by emmalazarus on August 14, 2008

The Gush Katif museum has now opened it’s doors in the centre of Jerusalem. On it’s first day, 500 people descended on the museum, the aim of which is to preserve the memory of Gush Katif. As stated by Miriam Gottlieb, curator and director of the museum  “The Yamit towns (in Northern Sinai, which were destroyed in 1982 in accordance with the peace treaty with Egypt) have been forgotten… We don’t want the same to happen with Gush Katif” (Hillel Fendel, Israel National News).

The museum holds an array of Gush Katif memorabilia, including videos, artwork, and information on numerous aspects of Gush Katif and it’s rich and varied history.

The museum is located on Shaarei Tzedek Street, between Jaffa Road and Agripas Street and is open from 1PM to 8PM on weekdays, 9Am to 1PM Fridays. Admission is free. For more information call the museum on 02-625-5456 or email

Posted in Gush Katif | 3 Comments »

Super Great-Grandmother of Jewish Gaza Passes Away- In Memory of Sylvia Mandelbaum

Posted by emmalazarus on August 14, 2008

Super Great-Grandmother of Jewish Gaza Passes Away
In Memory of Sylvia Mandelbaum
By Shifra Shomron
Nitzan Caravilla

Once she gifted me with an elegant wallet. It was black leather with golden clasps. I thought it very handsome, but I was a mere teenager and didn’t feel comfortable accepting it from an elderly lady. But she insisted I take it. And being Sylvia Mandelbaum, she won her point. She nearly always did… She was a determined person. Spunky too. She fell in love with Gush Katif when on a tour there at an advanced age (“my age is nobody’s business but my own”) and moved there. In the early days, while her villa was being constructed, she lived in a caravan adjacent to my family. And she determinedly brought back floor tiles for her house in order to move the building process along quicker.

Her Neve-Dekalim villa-neighborhood house was lovely. She had long, colorful, glass-stained windows, the house was spacious, and the furniture nicely arranged. Her garden was a dream. A well-kept lawn, large sweet-smelling rose vines, tall mimosas and several fruit-bearing tangerine trees. In the villa neighborhood the children all affectionately knew her as ‘grandma’ – a fact which filled her with pride. She would regularly host spaghetti dinners in her garden for them so their parents could rest from cooking. Sylvia laughed telling me that the mothers would show their thanks by sending her portions of the meals they made. Sylvia was amused saying that she certainly enjoyed the Israeli cooking, but what she enjoyed more was having the young children around her…

She had a fascinating history. Since I know I won’t possibly do it justice, I’m quite reluctant to even try. She started by designing shoes. She told me that she was very good at it. But she didn’t remain at that job. She married, she had children, she moved to California (for the climate), she was a real estate agent, later she made Aliyah and she also wrote many articles over the years and authored books. She also introduced Gishur (divorce by mitigation) in Israel which is quite a feather in her cap. I’m convinced I don’t know all of it. Despite my willingness to listen, she wasn’t one to dwell much on the past – she was interested in the present. She listened to the news and kept herself up to date. And when the Disengagement Plan first breathed air she was very worried as to the future of the nation, and as to her own future. She had reason to be.

When I first started writing articles she insisted on reading them. She told me I was lucky; that I had discovered very early in life where my talent lay. And to my great embarrassment, she insisted on my autographing for her every article I wrote.

Mrs. Sylvia Mandelbaum has passed away today.

It is three years to the expulsion of Neve Dekalim.

She was buried in Jerusalem at 3:30 this afternoon in Har HaMenuchot, at the entrance to Jerusalem.

And what remains to me are memories of an ardent Zionist and independent thinker. She was certainly an activist and a doer in her lifetime. And I continue to fondly use the wallet.

Shifra Shomron is the author of the historic novel, Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (Mazo Publishers, 2007).
“Travel beyond time and beyond location – into my Gush Katif”
Visit Shifra’s website:

Posted in Gush Katif | 2 Comments »