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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘disengagement’

The Top 5 Ways You Can Help Gush Katif Expellees!

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

As we’re thinking ahead and making our New Year resolutions, here are 5 easy ways to help the Zionist pioneering citizens formerly of Gush Katif rebuild their lives destroyed in the 2005 Disengagement Plan.

1. Buy orange. Help the Gush Katif expellees by purchasing quality products from Gush Katif: insect-free produce, organic pomegranate wine, olive oil, beautiful artwork and jewelry, books, puzzles and games. The Gush Katif expellees’ population has a higher unemployment rate than the average in Israel, and this is a great way of encouraging those who’ve returned to the work force and opened small businesses.

2. Visit the Katif Heritage Center in Nitzan. This Center tells the history of Gush Katif – its growth, destruction, and building anew. Thanks to technology, one truly travels back in time: once again joining hands in the Israeli chain and experiencing the struggles that Gush Katif residents faced. Feel their pain as the soldiers stream through the community gates and uproot them from their homes. A visit to the Katif Visitor Center shows our spirit and resiliency.

3. Gift a tax-deductable donation. Your generous donations allow us, the Gush Katif Committee, to promote vital Gush Katif projects for the new communities. These include helping needy families, rebuilding vital community structures such as synagogues and youth centers, and providing the synagogues with all their necessary furnishings.

4. Tell your family and friends. Gush Katif is relevant! Operation Protective Edge and its aftermath have made it increasingly clear that we must keep the words ‘Gush Katif’ on our lips to prevent any politician from considering further withdrawals. Remember Gush Katif –may we merit to return.

5. Tour the new Gush Katif communities. Visiting Israel? Living in Israel and looking for a fun family tour? Hire a licensed Gush Katif, private tour guide! Whether you’re headed north, south, or center, there’s a friendly new Gush Katif community waiting to be explored!

May we all be inscribed and sealed in the book of life for a healthy and happy New Year.

Israelis Living Near Gaza Border Seek Assistance to Move; Will Disengagement Supporters Help?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

This reporter can recall discussing the upcoming “Disengagement” with the mayors of several border communities such as Netivot and Sdot Negev in the spring of 2005. The Disengagement took place in August of that year.

Perhaps the Israeli politicians were more savvy than they felt they could let on, as I was visiting them under the auspices of an Jewish Federation of North America’s mission, and the Federations whole-heartedly supported the Disengagement.

But I was incredulous that these elected officials could not see what was so plain to me, a North American Jew: their towns were going to become the new sacrificial lambs to the militant Islamists who live just a few miles away, and who were about to have their genocidal tendencies given free rein in a unilateral move by the Israeli government.

And here we are – or, more importantly, there they are - almost exactly nine years later. The nerves of the hard-scrabble, resilient residents of Israel’s southern border communities which have endured so much, so many thousands of rocket attacks, so many beds made wet by traumatized children who are long past the age of bed-wetting, were already beginning to fray. And now, a four year old child is dead and nobody is willing to wait for that to happen again.

The first voices have been raised: they want out.

Since Friday, Aug. 22, approximately 700 Israeli families have asked the government to provide them with assistance to move away from the border with Gaza, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is reporting. Friday is when four-year old Daniel Tragerman was killed while playing inside his home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Ninety five rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel on Monday, out of the approximately 125 that were launched towards the Jewish State.

The school year for Israeli children begins next Monday, September 1. Parents and government authorities are still trying to figure out how to accommodate the children’s educational needs wherever it is that the children will be, and for however long they will have to remain out of the line of fire.

A nation cannot continue retracting and long endure. Especially a nation the size of Israel, one whose neighbors’ enmity towards it shows no sign of relenting.

Will all those who encouraged the Disengagement now come forward with financial assistance to help those exposed by that folly? And will the government do what it promised when those thousands of Jews were removed from the Gaza Strip? Will it finally invoke a Zero Tolerance policy?

Lieberman: Kill Hamas Leaders if Soldiers’ Body Parts not Returned

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wants the government to order the IDF to assassinate Hamas leaders in Gaza if they do not return to Israel the body parts of fallen soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Doron Shaul, who were buried with whatever body parts were able to be retrieved.

Lieberman, speaking to mayors in southern Israel, the area that has taken the brunt of Hamas terror since the expulsion of Jews and withdrawal of the IDF from Gaza in 2005, said that ”we have to get rid of Hamas.”

He will get little argument from most quarters. It’s a great idea, but the government has been unable or to scared to do so, and even if it did,  eradicating Hamas is useless without a “day after” pill.

His latest brainstorm, the third in less than month, is to assassinate Ismail Haniyeh and Moahmmed Dief. Haniyeh officially no longer is prime minister because Hamas and its rival terror faction Fatah, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, pulled off a sleight-of-hand whereby Hamas and Fatah declared a unity pact that makes supposed civilian “technocrats” members of the government and placates the United States, which officially considers Hamas an outlawed terrorist group. So what if Hamas gives orders to technocrats?

Lieberman, like almost every other Israeli, is not so dumb as to swallow that position, but his solutions to the problem of Hamas do not put him ahead of the class.

How can it be that Israel, with the best army in the Middle East and one of the best in the world, cannot defeat a motley crew of 26,000 terrorists?

Just kill every single one of them. Nice idea, if it would work.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called Lieberman’s threats, calling them “ridiculous.”

Similar to his latest solution, Lieberman’s previous inspirations have raised the same question of  what he would say if he were to lead  the first tank into Gaza and hunt down all the murderers.

When the war began last month, Lieberman opined that Israel should simply take complete control of Gaza. Interior Minister Gideon Saar has suggested that Israel re-establish Jewish communities in Gaza, giving Israel an online presence. That also would help the economy in Gaza, and it might happen one day. But not today. Or tomorrow. Or this year.

Taking over Gaza would be the best solution for Gazans. Like it or not, they enjoyed their best society in decades when Israel took over Gaza in the Six-Day War in 1967. The flourishing economy rotted when the intifada began in the 1980s, and it has been downhill ever since. Hamas has trampled on civil liberties, has employed children to build tunnels for terror, and it killed many of the workers for ”knowing too much” about the locations. It has made life miserable for the few surviving Christians, and it has been well-documented that Hamas has bombed its own civilians whom it used as human shields.

Life under Israel would be great for Gaza. It also is the last thing Israel wants right now.

It would be the last thing Lieberman would want if he were to jump in the first tank into Gaza and absorb anti-tank missiles.

If he were to survive, he and tens of thousands of other soldiers would remain in Gaza for a few months, if not years, to keep all of the other jihadists from making trouble,

And there is UNRWA, which has perpetuated the miserable and hopeless lives of Gazans by declaring them to be “refugees,” just like a few million others in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon Iraq and other countries.

So perhaps taking over Gaza is not such a smart idea, at least not this year, but Lieberman then came up with the aberration of letting the United Nations take over.

Lieberman insisted to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, “A U.N. mandate over Gaza Strip is a possible option for Israel to rid itself off the headache of Gaza and pass the mission of demilitarization of the strip to the United Nations.”

The Disengagement made Gaza More Dangerous

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

I was surprised to read the following incorrect analysis by a commenter on the Muqata Facebook page where yesterday’s blog post was cross-posted.

Yesterday, I put forward the idea that it is time we return to Gush Katif, and either way, the army will need to be there in key position, even after this operation ends.

Reader Yoni Rubin took exception to that idea, claiming that the war of attrition in Gaza would have resulted in far more murdered citizens if we stayed.

Yoni Rubin jameel, those who look at the disengagement that way today don’t realize what we gained from it. had we stayed in gaza, the pattern of dead soldiers and citizens being murdered would have continued (they were being killed at a rate of something one or two per month on the good months). we would have lost far more than we lost in all of the operations combined. the disengagement was executed in conjunction with the building of the separation fence in the west bank and the two have solved the far more deadly problems we had previously, ie suicide bombings. they were firing rockets and building tunnels long before the disengagement and those are the two threats that have cause the least damage thus far.

With all due respect (because he seems to be a good guy), Yoni’s numbers are numerically correct, but his conclusions are invalid as he quotes his numbers in a vacuum and out of context from all the other terror attacks going on at the same time.

Commenter Moishe Pupik (what?!) points out that when you compare Gush Katif terrorism fatalities to the terrorism fatalities the rest of the country was dealing with, you see an entirely different picture.

Pupik’s first point is that in proportion to the number of overall fatalities by terrorism the rest of the country was facing, Gush Katif was in better shape and even trending down in relation to what the rest of the country was suffering.

But more importantly, his second point is that after leaving Gaza, while the overall number of people in Israel being killed by terrorists dropped (for reasons that had nothing to do with the Disengagement), there was a significant proportional increase in deaths caused by Gazan terrorists in relation to the rest of the country, and actually reaching a historical high.

Moishe Pupik The problem with that argument is that you are talking about a period starting around 1991, where 1500 or so Israelis were killed by terrorists, at a rate of 11 a month.

You might as well make the argument that if we weren’t in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem (where far more Israelis have been killed by terrorists) all those people wouldn’t have been killed either.

Let’s compare the numbers of Israelis killed by terrorists (soldiers and civilians):

1993-1999: 37 Israelis were killed in Gaza out of 260 total killed in the country (14%).

2000-2005 120 Israelis were killed in Gaza out of 1356 total in the country (9%).

2006-2014 (Despite no longer being in Gaza) The Gazans have managed to kill around 60 Israelis out of 177 Israelis (34%).

So I’d say the percentages were far better back when we were in Gaza, than after we left.

Talking about 1 murder a month in Gaza sounds horrifying, but when you consider that Israel was averaging 19 murders per month (on average) from terrorism between 2000 to 2005, it puts that number into a different context.

And worse, when you consider that 34% of all fatalities by terrorism since the Disengagement originated from Gaza, compared to the previous high of 14%, it throws that argument out the window.

It’s Time to Go Home

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

As the IDF cleans up Gaza from the terror tunnels, and destroys the rocket launchers, it’s considering the next phase, which is the eradication of Hamas itself.

Meanwhile, the world is eagerly looking forward to the next round of financing of Gaza, with the US and Qatar already promising $47 million dollars in aid. Which is of course a bad investment, because if nothing radically changes on the ground, it’s only a matter of time, before the IDF will need to destroy everything again in the battle against Palestinian terrorism.

So what’s next?

There’s a stupid line that often repeated: Israel can’t get rid of Hamas (or Arafat, or the PA…), because whatever replaces it might be worse.

It’s a stupid line, because we have the option and the ability to decide what will replace Hamas. The question is, do we have the will to make it so.

What’s clear is that the IDF will have to stay in the Philadelphia Corridor that separates Gaza and Egypt.

The Palestinian Authority certainly can’t be trusted to guard the border, just as they can’t be and aren’t trusted in Judea and Samaria (just last week, a weapons shipment was caught as it was being transported across the Dead Sea).

It’s also clear that the IDF will need to stay inside Gaza too (whether we do or don’t is another question).

But as we are almost 9 year to the day that the Jewish residents of Gaza were expelled from their homes in the Disengagement, maybe it’s time to consider something else.

To me it is clear that it’s time to correct the evil done to our fellow citizens and to ourselves, and return to our homes in Gush Katif and Gaza.

To begin with, the US, the EU, Qatar and everyone else should be clearly told, don’t waste your money rebuilding Gaza.

Before the war, 70% of Gazans wanted to leave. I’m sure that percent is even higher now.

Use that international aid to relocate them. They want to leave. Help them in the way they actually want to be helped, not in a way that perpetuates the conflict.

Why throw more money into a bad solution that maintains the problem, when there is a clear solution, that all the parties want, that will end the conflict?

And secondly, once this war is over, the Jews should go down to Gaza and reclaim their homes and businesses they were brutally uprooted from in 2005.

The Gazans want to go, and the Jews want to go home. There is a peaceful solution.

How about trying something different for a change.

JobKatif: Strength for Those in Need

Monday, July 21st, 2014

It has been nine years since Israel’s disengagement from the Jewish settlements of the Gaza Strip. About 500 people still remain without jobs and stability, a dire predicament exacerbated by the current turmoil in Southern Israel, where many of the evacuees went to rebuild their lives. JobKatif continues to bring relief to thousands of these unemployed and underemployed families through vocational training, employment placement, counseling and coaching.

Itzik, a restaurant owner in Southern Israel, finds himself paralyzed this summer. Normally, his café and catering company are bustling with customers. Yet this summer, because of the constant barrage of rockets targeting the region from Gaza, people are barely leaving their homes, let alone going out for a meal.

For Itzik, surprisingly, this is not grossly traumatic. While his business is suffering and he is concerned about sustaining his family and paying the bills, he remembers all the struggles he faced before he could even open his business. Itzik and his family are just one example of the thousands who relocated to Southern Israel following the Disengagement of 2005.

Nine years ago, the Israeli Government decided to withdraw the Jewish settlements of Gush Katif in Gaza. These families lost everything: their homes, communities, businesses, synagogues and more.

A majority of these people relocated to towns and cities in the South of Israel, which for years has been targeted by rocket fire from Gaza. Today, Israel is in a state of emergency; at least 70 percent of Israeli residents are at risk of rocket fire from Gaza and have had to experience the horror of the Code Red Siren, which gives seconds notice before a rocket strikes.

Aside from the obvious distress that this situation brings, income is down by nearly 90% for businesses in the South. Many people are unable to go to work; children are staying home from school and camps. Much is left unknown.

Making ends meet Prior to 2005, Itzik lived with his wife and five children in Moshav Katif. He worked in a marketing department in Beer Sheva and enjoyed the rural community life in Gush Katif. Following the Disengagement, his life began falling apart.

“I was at home for nearly a year,” Itzik recalls, “I wasn’t able to hold down a job for more than 3-4 weeks, tops. Our whole financial situation deteriorated, until there was not enough money for food. You are dying to work, but you simply can’t.” Like many evacuees, there was trauma and gaining stable ground seemed worlds away.

He and his wife dreamed of opening a catering business. Slowly, they saved money and recruited customers. “I remember the first Shabbat meals that we did,” he said. “To save money, I recruited our kids to help us. The business began to turn a profit, but it was slow going,” Itzik says with a smile.

In 2009, Itzik was contacted by the staff of JobKatif, an organization established for the sole purpose of assisting Gush Katif families left bereft of their livelihood to become financially independent. With some funding and advice from professionals, Itzik and his wife purchased a restaurant.

“JobKatif was a true and faithful ‘shaliach,’” he admits. “They helped us and thanks to all their support, we are where we are today. They believed in us.”

Eight-three percent of former Gush Katif residents are now employed.

However, there is still more work to do, especially as the situation in Southern Israel has become more severe.

Some 500 individuals from Gush Katif still remain out of work. Because of the security situation in the South, even JobKatif needed to temporarily shut its training centers and counseling programs because people were just unable to attend. This year, the Israeli government renewed their commitment to these important endeavors and has promised to match up to 75% of the programming costs to help Gush Katif families find meaningful employment. But these funds are returned retroactively and dependent on JobKatif raising money from donors.

Over the past nine years, 2,500 people have found employment because of JobKatif. Among these people, 570 participated in vocational retraining courses. At least 200 small businesses are operating because of JobKatif’s start-up funding and guidance. Another 202 students now are studying in colleges and universities across the country, thanks to scholarships provided by Amutat Yedidut Toronto. To assist those remaining without work, JobKatif developed customized programs tailored for specific populations. These groups include: Bnei Menashe (Jews from India), small business owners on the threshold of success, people over 55 years, individuals with challenges, students and employed individuals who are dissatisfied with their jobs. The organization has over one year left to accomplish its goals.

“We have nearly accomplished our mission of assisting all Gush Katif evacuees to earn a living so that they can support their families with pride and dignity. As they once did in Gush Katif,” says Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon, founder and chairman of JobKatif. “We have made so much progress and with continued support, we can make sure that the burdens are eased and our brothers and sisters can live with peace of mind and stability.”

As it moves towards completing what it set out to do, JobKatif is seeking partners from across Jewish communities worldwide to join in relieving the struggles of unemployment in this difficult time. To contribute to JobKatif’s Shabbat Chazon campaign, tax-deductible donations can be sent to JobKatif 71-47, 171st St. Flushing, New York 11365 or online at www.jobkatif.org. For more information, please contact info@jobkatif.org or +972-2-547-4548. All donations will be matched 3:1 by the Israeli Government.

The Formula for Holding On to the Land

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

We usually worry about the unknown future, since not knowing what to expect can exacerbate a difficult situation. Putting this in terms of the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel,” the darkness of the tunnel represents the doubt of the unknown and the light symbolizes the certainty of knowing.

From time immemorial people have sought relief from worry not by waiting patiently for the passage of time – or the end of the tunnel – but by striving to develop knowledge of what the future may hold. The nations of the ancient world sought advice and instruction from necromancers, the crystal-ball soothsayers and readers of hand lines who probed the unknown.

Jews are forbidden (Devarim18:9-15) forbidden from seeking enlightenment from such sources (even if those sources should at times prove to be accurate) and are bidden to rely in such matters solely on the pronouncements of our prophets, who possess the divine power to accurately predict future events.

In the context of the above-mentioned verses dealing with this issue, the Torah enjoins us to be “tamim,” whole and complete (ibid 18:15), and not to imitate those who seek information from the necromancers. Rashi comments (ibid): “Walk with Him with tmimus, look forward to Him, and don’t delve deeply into the future, but whatever comes upon you accept with tmimus, and then you will be with Him and of His portion.”

The question Rashi seems to be addressing is: Why should there be an emphasis on the extreme other end of the spectrum? Why is it necessary to be tamim, in the full observance of all the mitzvot, in order not to transgress these few prohibitions? This seems to lead Rashi to conclude that tamim here does not mean whole and complete, as it does in many other contexts, but rather “simple,” lacking sophistication and astuteness –as, for example, the tam, the simple son of the Haggadah.

In our context: you must remain unsophisticated and may not delve on getting to know what the future holds, even at the cost of remaining incomplete and lacking that type of knowledge.

The next question Rashi then addresses is: If indeed we are not allowed to probe into the future, is there nonetheless a “kosher” way that may enable us to prepare for possible calamities? After all, a fairly accurate weather prediction enables us to better plan for a possible tornado or tsunami, and thus tone down our worry.

To offset this question, Rashi adds: (a) “Look forward to (the help of) God”; (b) “Don’t delve deeply into what the future holds”; and (c) “But whatever comes upon you accept with tmimus.”

This may be explained as follows: God abhors our being preoccupied with and delving deeply into the predictions of necromancers (even if accurate), but wants us to “look forward to His help” and offset worry about the future by adopting an attitude of full acceptance regarding whatever the future may hold.

Accordingly, worry is mitigated through unconditional acceptance rather than through whatever clarity one can gain about the future. We must still understand why Rashi adds further: “You will be with Him and as His portion.” It is because of the general theme of these verses, which is: “Do not seek predictions of the necromancers for God abhors this and is therefore chasing these evil nations out of the Holy Land.”

By implication, then, if one follows the injunctions of steering clear of the pundits and necromancers and instead puts his full trust in God and accepts what He has in store for him, it will secure his hold on the Holy Land and, in effect, set the stage to truly be “with Him and His Portion.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-formula-for-holding-on-to-the-land/2014/05/15/

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