JERUSALEM July 2, 2015 – The International Young Israel Movement – Israel Branch (IYIM), the Gush Katif Commemoration Center and Friends of Gush Katif are organizing a unique and powerful summer program entitled “10 Buses for 10 Years: Remembering Gush Katif.”
This interactive trip, marking the ten year anniversary of the withdrawal from Gush Katif, stands strong with a mission to take ten busloads of visitors, both Israelis and tourists alike, to several of the new Gush Katif communities. The hope is to show solidarity to the former residents and that we are still here with them and for them.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet with former Gush Katif residents, hear their stories, and see what has been accomplished in the new communities. Visitors will additionally tour the powerful Gush Katif Commemoration Center – one of three National Heritage Centers recognized by the Israeli Government. The Center introduces the story of settling rural Gush Katif in all aspects: establishment, coping with terror, the struggle, displacement and renewal.
“Ten years is a long time in the collective memory,” commented Daniel Meyer, IYIM’s Executive Director. “These people who we hugged and cried with in the summer of 2005 have largely receded from public eye and public memory. IYIM is proud that we have continued to stand with them and assist them on their journey for the past decade. We are launching this program to expand our support from personal back to national and International. This very special group of people is a living example of King Solomon’s timeless words: ‘A time to destroy, a time to rebuild;’ we have so much to learn from them.”
The former residents are excited about the upcoming program and look forward to welcoming the visitors and speaking about their experiences and new lives.
“We’re delighted by the International Young Israel Movement’s initiative of bringing ten buses of visitors to tour the Katif Heritage Center in Nitzan and visit renewed Gush Katif communities. We’re convinced that this tour will strengthen their feelings of partnership with the people of Gush Katif and make clear that this… must never happen again,” remarked Dror Vanunu, International Coordinator of The Gush Katif Committee.
“It’s wonderful to see so many people coming to learn about Gush Katif,” stated Shifra Shomron, of the Friends of Gush Katif Public Relations Department. “Ten years later, we still have a long path ahead of us, but we’re rebuilding our homes and our lives and thank everyone helping us in keeping the heritage of Gush Katif alive.”
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