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July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
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The Wechsler Family: Formerly Of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan

The Wechsler Family before the expulsion

The Wechsler Family before the expulsion

I told my children when the authorities/army/police were expelling us from Neve Dekalim: this is part of the Promised Land and we will definitely come back one day. As we were being expelled, my husband hung up a flag of Israel on the back of our station wagon. Initially the forces wouldn’t let us take our car out of the Gush but as they got our family out of the house, they slowly agreed. At first I was shocked that he hung up the Israeli flag as the flag was one of the symbols of the expulsion – each soldier and policeman had a small Israeli flag patch sewn to their cap, their shirts and backpack. And my husband said that they (the authorities) will not make us feel that we were not part of the State and therefore it (putting flag on car) was his way of saying that the flag belongs to us and we belong to the flag too.

The bus took us to Jerusalem where the government eventually placed us in the Jerusalem Regency hotel for five months along with other Gush Katif families. The families who were expelled from Neve Dekalim were divided into 3 hotels in Ashkelon and 7 hotels in Jerusalem.

What you left behind: We left behind a beautiful, simple, and even innocent life. We left behind dreams.

Feelings toward the State: As a religious woman who believes that Hashem knows what’s best for us, I know that the people, for example Ariel Sharon, were His messengers. I have no pity whatsoever for those people involved in our expulsion and each one of them, in their time, is getting their punishment from above. The first couple of years after the expulsion I had trouble with the army whereas before that I was very loyal to the army. Thank G-d I feel better about the army, but I detest the police and have very little respect for the police force.

What happened to the community? Our community was broken up and is in some kind of rehab. All of us have made new friends from within our community because during our time in the hotels and caravillas, we got to know those we had not really been in touch with before.

The biggest difficulty: As I said before, the community in Neve Dekalim had become my family. It is still hard that we cannot be together in the same way anymore.

Something good that’s happened since: Baruch Hashem we have been given lots of strength, something we would never take for granted. We have our beautiful home. I think in a way our faith in Hashem is much stronger.

What do you wish for yourselves? My main goal when we were being expelled was to make sure that not only my family’s physical welfare was intact but that their emotional state wouldn’t be damaged. I wanted my children to grow up being healthy, functional, G-d fearing Jews even though they went through a very traumatic ordeal. And that is the main thing I wish for us; that my family and my community will be happy and healthy and just flow with life. G-d willing we’ll be able to return to Gush Katif and rebuild it so that it will be even more flourishing than what it was when we were there before.

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One Response to “The Wechsler Family: Formerly Of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan”

  1. Time has given the cruel expulsion distance to be absorbed & reflected on.
    Anesthetized by that space, the author brings out new understandings I'd thought impossible. I remember these most Zionist of people as broken refugees in Jerusalem (REFUGEES IN JERUSALEM? Compare that to the Tisha' Be-Av Dirge that compares the Exodus from Egypt to the "Exodus/Expulsion" from Jerusalem, refugees in Jerusalem is a bitter mix of both). I'm deeply moved and amazed that the healing wound ironically, ILLOGICALLY, deepens belief in Divine Providence instead of only being nurtured as the dark and evil shame that it was, that it is. The refugees have defeated the political machinations that hoped to wipe out their goodness and sweetness and idealism by rising again.

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