While the Jewish world continues on with the new year, around 10,000 once contributing citizens to Israeli society who lived in homes they bought and built, are still homeless. No, they are not out in the streets with no roof over their heads. No, these people are living in small cramped caravans in caravan sites built for them by the Israeli government as a 2 year temporary solution until their new homes and communities would be rebuilt.
Well, over 2 years have passed and only 7, yes 7, houses have begun to be rebuilt by the government in the first community to be rebuilt. Hundreds of homes have yet to be started. The saddest thing of all is that most communities to be rebuilt still do not have signed contracts with the government to rebuild the communities!
Here are 2 sample stories of the hardships the Netzer Hazani community is having in having a contract signed with the governement to rebuild their community.
Story #1: Farmers from the community of Netzer Hazani received compensation money for their farms. Now the government will be giving them new farmland near the area of Yesodot, where their new community is supposed to be built. But there is a hitch – In addition to giving over their farmland compensation money back to the government in exchange for the new land, the government of Israel is requesting them to pay an additional $1.2 million! The farmers of Netzer Hazani do not have such money and in refusing to pay this exorbitant sum, the contract with the government to rebuild their community can not be signed – so they still don’t know when work will begin to rebuild their new community.
Story #2: One area of land they are supposed to receive for their new community belongs to one government ministry, another area of land belongs to a second government ministry. The problem is that there is land between these two areas that no government ministry is responsible for. So, they were told that they (the community) are therefore responsible for paying for the infrastructure (ie – roads) to be built in this in-between area of land. These are just 2 stories, of the many, that typify the hardships Gush Katif communities are having with the Israeli government in trying to rebuild their homes.
All these people want is to rebuild their communities, their homes and become proud contributing citizens once again. That is all they want. They didn’t ask to move, they were forced to move. It is unfortunate that the authorities that removed them from their homes are not using the same determination and sensitivity to rebuild their homes.