This is a complicated story, the story of the expelled Jewish families of
Gush Katif, if you try to understand all the politics and opinions that
But it can also be seen as a simple story: that
1700 families got caught in the middle of a bad situation, through
no fault of their own, and their situation remains dire, unremedied,
and in need of resolution one year later.
At its most basic level, "Some 250 families are living without any communal
framework, in different locations across the country. Many of them need
special support, yet are not receiving it." This statement is
according to a recently submitted report by a Land of Israel Legal Forum.
All 1700 families have been displaced, are not yet in their permanent
homes, and have yet to restart their means of livelihood in any real way.
The Erin Rachel Pincus Foundation is seeking to raise funds quickly,
with the intention of hitting at the heart of the problem - the
restoration of lost livelihoods for these displaced families.
These are not uneducated refugees but rather experienced
professionals who have made their living through small family
owned businesses which they worked their whole lives to create
and support. Much of the local business was through highly
successful agriculture which was destroyed as a side effect of
We want to begin by helping the farmers of Gush Katif
who still want to farm, to relocate their farms, so that the long
process of creating a viable
family farm can be begun, and with it will begin the start
of a new community of their choosing. To avoid yet another year of misery
many things must be done so that they can plant in time for
what takes a long time to grow.
Funds are needed to secure the new lands. Government assistance
may come but it is too slow to rely on to expect any change of
status and provide relief in the near term. Help us help these
families now, and the helped families will extend the benefits
to their friends. Let's begin to reverse the situation
building on their strength and positive attitude and love of
life and of the Land of Israel.
A Life Remembered
They began on sand dunes, where no one really believed anything
would grow. Over about 30 years, beautiful and sophisticated
communities were developed, providing community and economy
and stability to the residents. Netzer Hazsani was the first of
the Gush Katif communities, established in 1969.
Anyone who has had his own business knows it takes an unlimited
amount of persistence, ingenuity, equipment, resources, time,
hard work, and love, to make a good product, find and hold
a place in the market, and to make it thrive. Sometimes it takes
a whole lifetime to make something to pass to your children
which will support them too through their own hard times.
This farmer in Netzer Hazsani had such a business until
the disengagement changed everything.
Disengagement and Destruction
What is built slowly over a lifetime can be destroyed so quickly;
warehouses emptied, houses incinerated, communities dispersed,
rubble where there once was the hustle and bustle of activity.
Regardless of the reasons, these were the results. What is shown
here was in Netzer Hazsani on August 31, 2005, one of 21 such
Towns take a long time to build. This is the state of life one year
later for one group of people who had no choice in the matter.
And, even so, to keep their group in this temporary location,
they had to agree that what you see being built here will be
flattened again within 3 or 4 years and returned to the owners.
Meantime, where is their real future?
Search for a New Community
Israel is full of beautiful property zoned for agriculture, and
the government will help these people obtain new land. But nothing
happens overnight, everything with governments everywhere is
very slow. Meantime markets have been lost to others that
haven't lost their land. New equipment must be purchased where
the depreciated value of old perfectly useful but now destroyed
will not be compensated for. Funds are needed now to secure
property deals. Infrastructure must be purchased and put
in place. Seeds must be obtained. Planting must occur - by
August, next month, if there is any hope of getting back to
normal life within the year.
Securing the new location is the first key to future hope
for stability and a community that can again grow and prosper.
Looking Forward with a Brave Heart
You can always complain, or just get on with it. The Erin Rachel Pincus
Foundation is working with leaders of the community of Netzer Hazsani
who are committed to keeping their community together, and to making
a fresh start where they can get their lives back under their own
control. Below, Yitzhak Cohen wants to plant his peppers; Anita Tucker wants
to plant her celery, by August. The Erin Rachel Pincus
Foundation wants to help them do this; we want you to help us help them.
Get inspired. Join our
Adopt-A-Gaza-Jewish-Farm-Family Program today with
the Erin Rachel Pincus Foundation's Project Fresh Start.
Contact us for details.