Recollection of the Expulsion from Gush Katif
Oct. 15 2005
(TI) — It
is now almost 2 months since the pogrom, although it has taken me
until now to sit down and write about it. Actually, I haven’t
been able to sit down and read or write anything lately.
I seem to have developed a short attention span and inability
to concentrate. I am afraid I will not remember everything
— people have a tendency to forget things that are awful.
What I seem to have disengaged from are my emotions. I feel
as cool as a cucumber and suddenly I find myself bursting
into tears for no apparent reason.
tragedy is dwarfed beside the national tragedy that will go
down in Jewish history as one of the darkest stains the Jewish
people have seen. A cruel and truly wicked dictator managed,
by undemocratic means, to make unprecedented cynical use of
the Israeli security forces. Jewish soldiers aided the enemies
of the Jewish nation from all times and exiled the Jewish People
from part of its holy land, thus encouraging further terrorism
and endangering the entire state of Israel. The damage is yet
to be told…
The Day of Deportation, My
Dekalim, Israel, August 17th 2005 — The
army announced that we would be permitted to attend a tfila
together at 11:00 am and that they wouldn’t start dragging
people out until afterward. We hoped we could believe them,
and went with the kids to the temani shul where we once again
poured out our tears and wrenching hearts to Hashem, not
knowing that His answer would eventually be "NO".
We returned home at about 1:00 pm with our hearts in our mouths.
afterward "Shiri", as she announced herself, came
to the door. I looked through the peephole and saw the young
brunette who had been sent to destroy our lives. I screamed
at her and told her what I thought of her mission, and that
it was her obligation to refuse such orders and that she should
leave, which she did, although she returned about an hour later.
We told Menachem to tell her that his parents were not home
(although we were right next to him) and that she should go
away. She came back several more times in the following hours
and each time Menachem told her that we were not home.
were exhausted. We hadn’t slept the previous night, and we
hadn’t slept well for a long time. Every time we would doze
off for a few seconds, a knock on the door would pull us back
into the nightmare. Some man dressed in an orange vest marked "Rabbi" came
a few times to try and convince Menachem to open the door.
I don’t think he actually was any sort of "rabbi".
He believed Menachem that we were not home, and I was appalled
that he stooped so low as to try and convince a young child
to do something against his parents’ consent when he is home
alone and frightened.
between 5 and 6 pm "Shiri" returned with a great
entourage. There were at least 40 soldiers with her. They all
wore those pathetic blue vests and caps with Israeli flags
— just so we could be sure we knew who sent them. They told
Menachem they were going to break the door down even though
his parents were not home. He informed them that his 2 year
old little sister was standing near the door and that they
could kill her by doing so, but this didn’t seem to bother
them, nor the "fact" (which in fact, was a lie) that
his parents (we) "were not home". Obviously, we held
2 year old Rachel away from the door, and as they started breaking
in the door we moved into the kitchen, and locked the door
behind us. Within about 20 minutes, there was a repeat performance
with the door after a give and take between them and Menachem.
time we moved into the girl’s bedroom and locked the door.
About a half hour they broke into that room too.
is when our monologues began. Chananel and I poured our hearts
(and words) out trying to make them see what a heinous crime
they were partaking in, and they (as they were brainwashed
to do) listened through us without saying a word. Shiri —
the commanding deportation officer — asked us to board the
bus, which was standing outside our house. We told her that
we would not help them in any way and that we would not take
any part in helping commit this crime.
by one, each of us and each of our five children were lifted
by many soldiers and forced onto the bus where there were more
soldiers assigned to each passenger to make sure we wouldn’t
run off. It had just turned dark. According to halacha, it
was already the following day, the 13th of Av. Only a week
later would I realize that it was Simcha’s birthday, which
we would have spent together in our home as a festive event
had we not been dragged off into the abyss.
Bus Ride — The bus ride was a harrowing experience.
Some of the men on the bus managed to kick out the windows
and run. The soldiers ran after
and brought them back to the bus. We were at complete standstills for hours
at a time. The soldiers, who only moments earlier heartlessly dragged us out
of our homes suddenly became stewards and stewardesses — handing out mineral
water and potato chips (and some sandwich that we wouldn’t eat anyway because
the hechsher was unclear). We would rather choke than take part in such a game.
After we gave the children to drink we used the water to pour over the policemen
who lined the streets on our way out. One of them got very angry at having
been wet by the water I threw at him, and came up to the bus. I spit at him
— even though I don’t think he deserved to have my spit. Just then I realized
— I had forgotten! Our "illegal" guests, who we had hosted for the
weeks preceding the expulsion, were hiding in our house! I quickly called them
on their cell phones to make sure they weren’t found. It made me feel good
to know that they were still there. I hoped and prayed that this entire nightmare
would be over and that we would be able to turn around soon and go back home.
I said tfilat haderech — and added vtachzirenu lbeitenu bshalom with lots
of extra kavanna.
around midnight we were dumped onto some street corner in Sderot.
Did we find Yonatan Bassi handing out refreshments? Of course
not. There was bedlam. Crying babies and children, dumbfounded
adults, and no one knew who was to go where. The garin hatorani
from Sderot organized a light dinner and some toys for the
kids to play with until we would continue the next leg of our "journey".
They helped us carry the children, who were half asleep as
well as the few belongings we managed to take with us. About
an hour and a half later, we found ourselves on a bus going
to a hotel in Natzrat Elite. We arrived at about 5:00 am
Hotel — Did we find Yonatan Bassi at the hotel handing out
refreshments? Of course not. There were a few good Jews who
came out to help us with
kids and to
do whatever they could. What on earth could they do???
and I were given a large room for all the kids and a room for
us attached — with one mattress. This angered me so!! It was
already morning — neither of us had slept for one minute on
the bus (Rachel kicked and cried the entire way) and now —
only one of us would be able to lie down. Someone brought us
some shirts to give the girls to sleep in — we had no pajamas
— and we all "conked out" for a few hours.
we got up — I took the kids to get some breakfast. The Arab
who ran the dining hall said, "Breakfast is over." I
disregarded him and went and took whatever I could find and
sat the kids on the floor in the hall and let them make a mess.
Seeing all the Jews who were vacationing particularly troubled
me. They were on their way to the swimming pool at the same
time that The Jewish army was busy exiling the Jews from the
holy land of Israel and from their homes. The little ones kept
running into the elevator. I was sure that there was no way
I could continue like this. I realized that geographically,
I was so far away from where I needed to be. If we would receive
permission to go back and pack up the house — how could we
manage from so far away? How would we make such a long trip
to the lawyer with the kids? We certainly couldn’t leave them
alone there — not even with a babysitter. They probably would
think they would never see us again the same way they were
told that they would never go back home again!!
Klavans — Yossi Klavan (formerly of Teaneck, NJ) was one of
the first people I spoke with, not because I had the wherewithal
to call anybody,
persistent in calling me to find out what was going on. As soon as he knew
where I was, he came to get us. He took a week off work to chauffer us to anywhere
we needed, and Leba, who had recently given birth, watched the kids and even
took them to the pool a few times. We really didn’t know where to stqart getting
ourselves together. Yossi was very helpful. He suggested we shut the phone
and electric line — which we hadn’t thought of, and he started helping us
work on getting permission to go into Gush Katif, and pack up the house —
which we had left untouched. All the while we continued to hope and pray that
the nightmare would soon be over and that we would be able to go back home,
but we started to understand that this would probably not be the case?
few days later, Chananel was allowed to join a group that went
into Gush Katif to pack. I was not allowed on the bus as the
strict orders prescribed that only one member per household
could enter. After a long and dragged out journey, Chananel
arrived in Neve Dekalim, and was given 30 boxes. He was let
off in the Neve Dekalim industrial zone with no car. He was
informed that the truck was to arrive in about 2 hours. How
can anyone pack an entire house in 30 boxes and in 2 hours?!?!?
walked home and cried. He called me on our phone (which hadn’t
been shut off). The whole house was standing and intact. The
whole predicament was surreal. He was unable to pack. Yossi
and I tried to find out how we could get some soldiers to go
help. I spoke to MK Benny Elon and pleaded with him to find
some way for the order to be given! There were tens of thousands
of soldiers there! Why hadn’t they been going from house to
house to help pack?? Benny Elon explained that this was no
mistake. He told me that they want to thoroughly break us.
They want us to scramble around like Jews in Europe who were
told to "quickly pack one bag". Then they could have
some reporters come and photograph a few soldiers "helping
the settlers pack" as if this were the norm.
— Yossi spoke to the moving company. We asked them to postpone
the move until the following day. He explained that we needed
to bring in some people
The mover told us we would have to get the OK from Brimo and accidentally gave
us Brimo’s number — something he apparently was not supposed to give out.
We had no idea who Brimo was but we later would find out that Brimo was working
for misrad habitachon and in charge of allowing or not allowing certain moving
companies to enter Gush Katif. We surmised that only those companies who gave
him a nice "cut" were allowed in which explained the outrageous price
that was being asked for us to pay. Brimo is probably a good friend of the
has a way with words — even with Brimo! I don’t know how,
but he managed to get Brimo to agree to us going into Gush
Katif the following day to pack. We were instructed as to where
to go to get the permission slip. It seemed too good to be
true? Where was the catch? Brimo screamed at Yossi and made
it amply clear that if he dared have any orange ribbons or
stickers on his car or on his body he would have him arrested
as he had done to someone in orange the previous day. He specified
that he would not tolerate a sticker that said "Am Yisrael
Chai?!" As appalling as this all was, Yossi kept his cool
and kept sweet-talking. Yossi arranged for us to go early the
following morning, and Leba would baby-sit for my kids all
day. Chananel decided to stay home in Neve Dekalim — this
was illegal — until the next day when he would pack with us.
Yossi’s boys went all over to find as many boxes as they could.
My parents did so as well. Yossi arranged to go in 2 cars —
his and Steve Leavitt’s. We first had to go see Brimo…
arrived at the "Brimo headquarters" a few minutes
before 8 AM — a few minutes before they had their act together
— a few minutes before they closed the gate – a few minutes
before they had the chance to not let us in — We has tons
of siata dishmaya all along the way. They had no intention
of us arriving to get permission to enter after all. We were
yelled at by everyone who saw us including Brimo himself: "WHO
LET YOU IN HERE?!?!?" Since we were there already, and
since no busses were being allowed into Gush Katif that day
— Brimo did an "act of kindness" so he could feel
good about himself for the next year and he kept his word and
allowed us in. He gave us a slip of paper and entered us into
the computer that showed we had permission to go in.
were told to stay in a convoy from misrad habitachon that was
going into Gush Katif, which we did, even though they were
driving so slowly that we could have probably walked faster.
Just as we arrived at the Kissufim checkpoint, a particularly
hot-headed (and blood thirsty) police officer violently stopped
us and forced us to leave the convoy. He would not listen to
what we had to say, and refused to look at our permission slip.
He also refused to ask the army officer in the car ahead of
us as I pleaded that he do about our being part of the convoy.
He was gonna have some FUN!!! Just as he was about to beat
the living daylights out of Yossi, the army officer from the
car ahead of us miraculously came to our rescue and said we
were with them — leaving the poor policeman to having to wait
for a different Jew boy to have his fun with.
When we arrived at the gate of Neve Dekalim we had to wait
almost a half hour until we were allowed in. Shortly afterwards,
I was back home. I went into the boy’s room and burst out into
tears. Everyone started working immediately. I bothered them,
and was of no help whatsoever. Yossi, who had never done anything
like this in his life, took apart all my closets with Steve
and his friend. (I forgot his name). Shabie from Ginot Shomron
worked like a stick of energy almost non-stop. They packed
everything in about 11 hours? Everything — and I really mean
everything! Even the windows, doors, and light bulbs! I was
soon to find out that I would be ripped off by the moving company
big time — about 23,000 shekels worth of rip off. I would
also learn later that others who used this company had found
their belongings ruined, stolen or vandalized. I still have
no idea what condition my things are in — wherever they may
to Yossi’s House — Yossi and Leba continued to take us wherever
we needed to go — to the lawyer in Tel Aviv, to buying sandals
for the boys, shirts
for Chananel, developing
our photographs of what we managed to take during the eviction? Yossi even
took us to visit Chananel’s great aunt in Ramat Hasharon. We really had no
idea where we were headed, though.
got in touch with Rabbi Yom Tov Zilberman — who runs the main
branch of the schools that the boys were going to which we
had been so pleased with, and asked him to tell me which places
would be appropriate for the boys to continue in. He asked
me which area we were interested in. I knew that at this time
I could only see myself continuing the battle over the land
of Israel. I would not let some wicked fat man dictate to me
where I can go in my own land. We are the antithesis of this
despicable anti-Jewish government. They will do anything for
a buck. These whores will sell their souls and everything that
is holy for money. We, on the other hand are willing to lose
everything for what we believe in. After we spoke with Rabbi
Zilberman, I began arranging visits to our new prospective
homes — Hebron, Beit El, and Gush Dolev-Talmonim. Yossi was
very helpful with this too, as he knows people everywhere,
and was very instrumental in getting me in touch with the right
Schlep — We began schlepping the kids on a long journey
and we didn’t know when it would end. We used my parent’s
Beit Shemesh as our base
and went from there
to Hebron, Yerushalayim, Beit El and Gush Talmonim. We slept in many different
places and wasted a ton of money on transportation. At one point, my cousin
Atara from Beit Shemesh came and insisted we borrow her car. I was very uneasy
about the whole thing, but she was persistent. Without this great help I
can’t imagine how we ever would have been able to get ourselves
together so quickly.
— After having seen the different schools (the kids participated
in classes in Hebron and in Beit El) we decided that the
school in Neriya would be
for the boys. We also found a good school for Simcha in Dolev (these places
are in Gush Dolev — Talmonim) we had made up our minds about the general
area we wanted to be in based on the childrens’ education,
but we still had nowhere
to live and no job.
having seen the area, our hearts pulled us in the direction
of Haresha – a small community of 30 families on a hilltop
near the boy’s school (5 minutes). Unfortunately, the Israeli
government does not recognize the existence of this place —
although the army does. It is the most vital strategic asset
the army has in the area, as it is 900 meters high and overlooks
the entire area, including Ramallah. I wouldn’t want to know
what catastrophe could happen, G-d forbid if Haresha got into
the wrong hands.
of the homes in Haresha are trailers (caravans). They range
from 45 to 90 sq. meters. It is not very easy to live in such
conditions, but the people in Haresha are worth sacrificing
some earthly comforts. We decided that we would like to live
in Haresha and we requested a caravan. We had no time for bureaucracy.
I explained to the vaadat klita that I wanted my kids in school
the next day on time like every other normal kid in the country.
I also explained that if they could not arrange a caravan yet,
that I had been planning on sleeping on the grass. After this
meeting I took the kids to the neighboring town (Kiriyat Sefer
— about 20 minutes away) to get dinner. There, we received
a call from the vaadat klita of Haresha announcing that they
had a meeting and that we were accepted to the yeshuv. They
also said that there was an empty 60-meter caravan available
for us. We were happy. I asked if they could arrange to have
some mattresses in it for us and they said they would. When
we arrived, we found that they not only had cleaned the place
from top to bottom, but that they had set up beds for all of
us with sheets, pillows, towels, and blankets, as well as a
table and chairs, shelves, a stovetop, a microwave, a toaster
oven, some food, and even a refrigerator (that was borrowed
from the kindergarten, the rest was from our neighboring families).
They got us a new set of dishes and toveled them! They set
up books and toys for the kids and a tape recorder with some
tapes. They even put toothpaste, soap and shampoo in the bathroom!
2 days meals were prepared by our neighbors and sent to us.
Our neighbors continue to take care of our laundry until now.
Haresha has a very nice kindergarten and beautifully run day
care facility for the little ones, and there is a very nice
kollel for Chananel at the foot of the mountain (less than
5 minute drive).
don’t have anywhere to bring our stuff to yet (if it still
exists) but we are still working on it. We might be able to
rent another caravan to put the stuff into. In the meantime,
we are being charged 2,000 shekels a month for what they call
haven’t found a job yet, but I am hopeful about next year.
Schools don’t leave themselves "high and dry" for
an English teacher waiting for a cruel dictator to evict Jews
from their homes thus creating a deportee who is an English
teacher who will come live in their area and want to start
am trying to collect unemployment, although the bureaucracy
I have to go through is endless, and I recently found out that
the amount of money that is paid is barely enough to starve
on. Chananel also cannot find a job before next September,
which puts us in a very difficult situation. We have no source
of income, and therefore we have not paid the kids’ tuition,
nor our rent, utilities, or anything else. We have not seen
one dime from the government even though we have filled out
all the forms they asked us to via a lawyer. If the government
had spent a fraction of the money they spent lying and claiming
that we were all compensated on actually compensating us, we
would all be millionaires. Their cruelty and wickedness truly
has no bounds.
Yesha and other organizations say they are collecting money
to help us but I haven’t seen a dime from them. My friend and
neighbor from Gush Katif, Rachel Saperstein, has set out to
collect. She is not taking off any of the money for herself
as opposed to others who are taking a nice percentage from
donations. No one has seen ANYTHING OR ANY MONEY except the
two times Rachel gave out envelopes. (The first envelope was
500 shekels per family, and the second one was 1,000 shekels
money from Rachel came in handy to pay for food, although we
don’t have enough blankets.
turns to friends for help and support in times of emergency.
Frankly, I am shocked that we haven’t been offered help from
close friends and family. We were soldiers on the frontlines
of a battlefield for years — representing all the others.
Is it proper to discard your wounded veteran in such a fashion?
What is really most inconceivable is that MY government created
this whole situation!!!
families from Gush Katif are going through very difficult times
now. We have chosen the way of the Torah. It is the way of
truth. With strength and determination we will continue moving
forward, regardless of Ariel Sharon and his friends, who find
it necessary to destroy so many Jewish lives.
need your help and support now. I need your help and support