Monthly Archives: January 2008

Thirty Years in Thirty Minutes – The Story of Netzer Hazani as Written by Anita Tucker

Constructing  a community ,a public building, a home  all demand defining goals, identifying a location ,planning , permits, financial backing ,building  , then planning  and filling the structures  with functional and aesthetic furnishings.

Netzer Hazani Video Clip

Most important and most difficult is filling it with people, content, meaning, then evaluating its success in meeting the original goals.  

It is a big team effort that can take years. Destroying it all takes only minutes.  

I lived in Netzer Hazani for thirty years –we built this town on bare sand dunes that were not inhabited since Abraham and Isaac, our forefathers, who lived there. 

We built from scratch. We built synagogues, mikvahs, schools, community centers, youth centers, homes, businesses, playgrounds sports fields and swimming pools, agro -businesses, community based businesses, light industry.  

Most important and challenging, we succeeded in filling them all with meaningful contents.  

These communities became known as Gush Katif.

 When it was decided by the Knesset of Israel that bulldozers would destroy it all, piles of rubble remained of the flourishing community.   

Soon the shifting winds of the renewed desert-like area again covered the rubble with sand. This once blossoming oasis is again empty sand dunes as they were after our patriarchs moved. 

We were careful to take out with us the Torah scrolls and the pictures and writings of our Rabbi, the renowned scholar Rabbi Yitzhak Arama, murdered by Arab terrorists two years prior.  

Our youth carried out the heavy Torah scrolls that sat safely in the sanctuary read and reread year after year, generation after generation   .

Many of the scrolls were covered by the traditional Sephardic wood and metal coverings , our youth hugging them with great love, aware that this was what they still  had  left of the town where they were born, grew up ,loved and had hoped to live. 

The traditions, the spirit, the learning, the vision that are the contents of those beloved Torah scrolls hugged and protected our families as they left Gush Katif . We struggled to look forward, yet we could not easily forget the pain of destruction. 

The families wondered from tents to hotel rooms to interim caravan type living quarters, struggling for survival as humans, as families as communities, as Jews at home in the State if Israel, as soldiers in our Israel Defense Force.

All this interim period, we were, as well, dealing with the drawn out bureaucratic procedure and negotiations to try and receive appropriate compensation for our businesses and homes. This has been a very very trying and frustrating challenge and in most cases is not yet near completion as appeals are yet in procedure. 

The communities were spread out in every direction.

However each community made super human efforts to keep together. Our community leadership wisely utilized those eternal values and spirit carried out of Gush Katif to give strength to the community. The community in turn gave strength to the families and the families to their members.   

With the eternal Torah values and spirit keeping the community together we hoped and expected to build anew as a community as defined by the Disengagement –Compensation Law.

 Two and a half years later, having easily defined our goals we suddenly discovered how much more difficult was to be identifying locations, planning, applying for approvals, etc.

However, my community has accomplished this in cooperation with the Government Ministries.  We now seek to define our financial backing which, not by chance, connects with our long-term goals.  

For my town, Netzer Hazani, the first town built in Gush Katif in 1976, we will be receiving a government budget for building anew and we will invest all our compensations and additional loans we will have to take, in building anew.  Yet still we can’t begin construction in lieu of destruction as we had so hoped!   

According to the latest adjusted government figures required for payment prior to signing contract there are still some gaps in the financing. Our experiences have taught us to seek the solution in the challenge.  

Our big challenge today in building a new town in Israel is how to connect to Am Yisrael, the People of Israel.  

There was a terrible lack of dialogue, a lack of identification, a lack of brotherhood between Jews of different thinking and background during and after the disengagement-expulsion from Gush Katif, Gaza.  

The position of Jewry around the world, the position of Jewry in Israel all point to a screaming need for dialogue and rallying around the eternal Jewish values of those Torah scrolls that our youth hugged, as carrying them out of the ruins of our communities.  

Our beloved Jerusalem, more than ever, prays to us for unity around these values and spirit. I feel this intensely each time I pray at the Kotel, in Jerusalem, each time I word Jerusalem in my prayers. I am certain you feel this with me.  

In building these communities anew, those that rally with us around these values will surely choose to enable construction in lieu of destruction, filling the structures with the meaningful content of these values and this spirit of the People of the Torah through the generations.

We yearn that Am Yisrael will connect and partner with us in our efforts to build anew.  

Anita Tucker Netzer Hazani (May it be rebuilt), temporarily in Ein Tzurim 972-547775268   

(My grandchildren, who were born in Netzer Hazani, carried a sign as they left home that read “The Tucker family, Thirty years, three generations, this music will continue.”)

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A New Educational Resource for Educational Programs and Institutions

I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to a new educational resource for your educational institution, the 12Tribe Films Foundation – This new not-for profit educational organization was founded in order to provide contemporary cultural programs, including movies, plays, art exhibits and speakers to help Jewish schools and communities connect to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.  

Below are a number of our upcoming programs that can be used at your school.  

Please let me know if you would like to join our email list to receive updates about our upcoming programs. Soon we will be publicizing our programs that you can use for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel Memorial Day, Israel Independence Day and Jerusalem Day.  

Our premier movie program, “Home Game”, has already been screened at many Educational Institutions in Israel and America.

I look forward to being able to provide programs to your school as well.   Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,Avi AbelowFounder and CEO12Tribe Films Foundation   

1. Connecting with the people of Sderot: 

The people living in Sderot and outlying areas have been living a reality of falling rockets for a number of years. Many people worldwide still do not understand what our fellow Jews are experiencing.

12Tribe Films Foundation offers special movies, a children’s play, an art exhibit and speakers for schools to schedule so that the students can become familiar with the human situation in Sderot, behind the headlines. These programs are suited for Middle School and High School age students. 

2. Connecting with the People of Gush Katif: 

Many Israeli schools are dedicating the 22nd of Shvat, January 29th, as a day to commemorate the vibrant communities of Gush Katif.   The past few years the Jewish world placed much focus on the political ramifications of Gush Katif and the disengagement plan and very little attention to the human aspect, including the miraculous developments in the gaza strip sand dunes at the hands of Israeli citizens, both religious and secular, with the support of consecutive Israeli governments.  

Any school worldwide can join in this important endeavor, on the same date or another date, to celebrate the accomplishments of the State of Israel and Israeli citizens in Gush Katif and allow their students to learn about the wonderful communities that existed there and the people who lived there. 

12Tribe Films Foundation offers “Home Game” the movie together with a discussion document for schools worldwide to use to educate their students about the people and communities in Gush Katif.  “Home Game” is suited for 9th-12th graders. We are in the process of obtaining the rights to a movie that is suited for Middle School age students as well. A speaker can be scheduled together with the movie screening.  

Information about the movie program and scheduling can be found at the following website:  

Opportunity to Enhance your Shmitta and Tu B’shvat Program:

This year of Shmitta is a special opportunity for Jewish educational institutions to allow for their students to better appreciate and understand the mitzvah of Shmitta.   

Instead of planting a tree, this Tu B’shvat students can own a piece of land in Israel and be privileged to fulfill the mitzvah of Shmitta. This special opportunity for educational institutions allows them to make the mitzvah of Shmitta much more tangible and appreciated by their students. See here for more information:  

Contact Avi at to receive more information about any of these programs.

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An Entertaining and Meaningful Synagogue Program

This winter you have the opportunity to provide your community with an entertaining program that can also make a huge impact on the former residents of the Gush Katif community of Netzer Hazani.    

Operation Rebuild – Rebuilding Homes and Lives

12Tribe Films Foundation – will be launching “Operation Rebuild”, which is dedicated to raising funds to help rebuild the Gush Katif community of Netzer Hazani, documented in the movie “Home Game”.

Over two years after being removed from their homes, the former residents from Gush Katif are still living in temporary caravan homes. Unfortunately, much money is needed in order for them to even receive the government approval to begin to rebuild.

As you might know, finally beginning to build their permanent homes and restart their agricultural businesses will not only improve their lives but also help restore their dignity and assist their process of returning to their prior selves as contributing members to Israeli society and Am Yisrael. 

Have Your Synagogue or Organization Join

You can take part in Operation Rebuild by organizing a screening of the important film “Home Game” in your community.

You will not only be offering your community members the important opportunity to see this meaningful and important film (“Fabulous and Powerful Movie” – Prof. Yisrael Aumann, Nobel Prize Laureate”) but you will also allow them to take part in donating towards the rebuilding of a community in Israel and more importantly take part in the process of restoring fellow Jews’ dignity.  

Take a Peak at Home Game

We welcome you to view the Home Game trailer online and read some of the press coverage by clicking here.

Contact Us

Please contact us to find out how your community or organization can take part in Operation Rebuild or how you can donate towards this important project. I will be pleased to respond to any and all inquiries and can be contacted by email: 

Avi Abelow

Founder and CEO12Tribe Films Foundation  


Realizing that the media coverage of the disengagement focused solely on the political and sociological issues, “Home Game” was produced to give a voice to the little known human story of the former residents of Gush Katif also giving context to their situation today 2 years later. The film presents people the opportunity to connect to their Israeli counterparts through an experience that few even know occurred. “Home Game” is a captivating film about the surreal story of normal teenagers from the community of Netzer Hazani trying to continue an annual basketball tournament during a very abnormal summer in Israel – the summer of 2005 during the disengagement from Gaza.  This powerful docu-drama emphasizes the journey of these teenagers and their determination, emunah and heroism to win against all odds, both on and off the court. 


12Tribe Films Foundation (“12Tribe Films”) is a “For Impact” not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting creative projects about the Jewish people and the land of Israel that connect, entertain, and inspire.  While the projects of 12Tribe Films address religious, political, sociological, and current events effecting Israel and the Jewish people, our goal is to be an informative and educational resource that focuses on the underlying Jewish values and human experiences beneath the issues. The proceeds from 12Tribe Film Foundation programs go towards the causes they represent.  

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