The family: I was born in Israel and I’ve never left. My husband Moshe was born in Detroit, MI. His family made aliyah when he was 12 years old.
Moshe and I met in Atzmona, Hevel Yamit. We had both gone there, separately, in response to the Camp David Accords. I went to do my Sherut Leumi (community service) and Moshe went to live there. We lived there until, under instructions from the Israeli government, Hevel Yamit was evacuated. The government then encouraged families to move to Gush Katif. We were married in Gush Katif in the newly re-established community of Atzmona. Our first four children, all daughters, were born in Atzmona and then we moved to Neve Dekalim where five more children were born.
Moshe worked in agriculture and I opened a private daycare for babies. We lived in Gush Katif twenty-three wonderful years – they were the best!
Our house – then: We had one side of a duplex – a beautiful house with a green garden. It was the house in which we raised our children, hosted many guests and we loved it very much. We had wonderful neighbors and though we didn’t plan it, our house was close to the Beit Knesset complex.
Our house – now: We have a beautiful two-story house which we merited moving into about eight months ago. The house is free-standing so we aren’t as close to our neighbors. We built a small attached apartment for my mother. This is very, very good for her, for us, for our children – the relationship is very good, Baruch Hashem. We didn’t plan it but once again we are close to the Beit Knesset complex. We love our house and we’re trying to get used to the new town and area.
Day of uprooting from Neve Dekalim: It was very, very difficult… We have sad memories. Once we arrived at the hotel we, like many other large Gush Katif families, had a difficult time keeping our family unit together. Several of our children were placed in hotel rooms not near each other. For example, Moshe and I with our two youngest were in one room and our remaining seven children were placed in three separate rooms at opposite ends of the corridor from us. It took awhile but eventually we managed to get our family situated into four rooms next door to each other. Other families had similar problems.
What we left behind: We left behind all the memories of a wonderful community, raising the children, work, the education, the sand and the sea. In short, all of the good things.
Feelings toward the State: We have no other Land. With all of the pain and the anger, we’re trying to continue – and we hope that the same mistakes will not be repeated.
The biggest difficulty: Starting over again: building, work, education – everything, in every area. One day the government took us out of Gush Katif and then it took several months to think what exactly we need. And yet before the Disengagement Plan the government said, “There’s a solution for every family” but they didn’t say when. It has now been six years and many families are still in caravillas, not working, and don’t have a solution. It’s not enough to be in a home – we have to have a livelihood. A lot of us are over fifty years old and nobody wants to hire us.
Moshe has retrained and is now a certified tour guide. He is fluent in both English and Hebrew and enjoys giving tours to Taglit-Birthright Israel programs, the Educational Resource Center in Nitzan, the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem, at the communities where Gush Katif residents have been dispersed, and he continues to give private, individual, family, and group tours throughout the country. But even with all this, his work isn’t consistent and he can’t make a living off of his new profession.
What happened to your community? Currently we are with about half of Neve Dekalim that was in “the Gush.” Approximately 100 families have already moved to the permanent site. More families are building, but some are not building because they have exhausted their funds.
Something good that’s happened since: Our oldest daughter married and we have two granddaughters.
What do you wish yourselves? To settle in, to return a bit to normal, and to look forward…