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Full News Release: OPERATION REBUILD LAUNCHED TO RAISE FUNDS TO REBUILD ISRAELI COMMUNITY

12Tribe Films Foundations Launches Special Project to Help Former Gush Katif Residents Restore Their Dignity

 

 NEW YORK, NY Jan. 1, 2008:  12Tribe Films Foundations is now launching Operation Rebuild to help raise funds to rebuild the community of Netzer Hazani documented in the movie “Home Game”. 12Tribe Films Foundation is a “For Impact” not for-profit organization dedicated to creating awareness and raising funds by promoting creative projects about the Jewish people and the land of Israel that connect, entertain, and inspire.  

More than 2 years have passed since the former residents of Gush Katif were removed from their homes, yet they still live in temporary caravans not knowing when they will move into their new homes that have yet to be built.

Last week the Gush Katif Residents Committee released its latest report on the state of the families removed from their homes during the Disengagement of 2005. The starkest finding: 85% of the expellees are still, 28 months later, living in temporary quarters.
MK Ze’ev Elkin (Kadima) proposed legislation in July 2007 that would require the government to speed up the process and complete all preparations for permanent housing within a year.  He proposed the bill, Elkin explained, “in light of the government forecast that at this rate, 75% of the expellees will move into their new homes within 2.5 years from now, or 4.5 years from the expulsion.  This is of course unacceptable.” 

Elkin’s bill was jointly sponsored with MKs Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Zevulun Orlev (Ichud Leumi), Amira Dotan (Kadima) and others, and was supported by no fewer than 65 Knesset Members.

Almost a half a year has passed and still little work has been done.

The community of Netzer Hazani, the first civilian town established in Gush Katif in 1976, is currently living in the interim small caravan site of Ein Tzurim, just south of Kiryat Malachi, after first spending 11 months in temporary hotels and youth hostels. 

Still today the farmers of Netzer Hazani have not received land to rebuild their homes or reestablish their agricultural businesses. Some of the farmers, most of whom have not yet received full compensation, have in the interim taken on minimal paying jobs while others are still unemployed.  

“All we want to do is go on with our lives, move into real homes and return to being productive citizens” said Anita Tucker, spokeswomen for the community and also known as the famous Gush Katif celery farmer. “We just want our dignity returned to us. The most important thing to spearhead this process is the rebuilding of our community.” 

According to an official Israel Government decision the community of Netzer Hazani is to be relocated and built anew in a permanent community site adjacent to Moshav Yesodot, part of the Nachal Sorek Regional Council. The rebuilding project of their new community costs a total of $32 million and so far $30 million has been allocated – $15 million from the government and $15 million from the Netzer Hazani residents’ compensation funds. $2 million still remains to be raised in order for the government to sign the agreement to begin the rebuilding project for the Netzer Hazani community.

“Operation Rebuild” is a special project where community centers, synagogues, schools or even individuals can organize special screenings of “Home Game” the movie as fundraising events to help raise the money necessary for the community of Netzer Hazani to receive the government approval necessary to rebuild. In this way every synagogue, school or individual can have a part in helping rebuild a community in Israel as well as help former residents of Gush Katif have their dignity restored. 

The Netzer Hazani community was a farming community. Their farmers were a staple of the 350 family agricultural industry in Gush Katif that represented some 10% of all agricultural produce raised in Israel; accounting for 65% of Israel’s organic export industry; 90% of Israel’s bug-free leafy vegetables; 45% of tomato exports and 95% of Israel’s cherry tomato exports and 60% of Israel’s herb exports.  

Gush Katif farmers employed 5,000 Jews and 5,000 Palestinians; Gush Katif hot houses covered an estimated 900-1,000 acres and were estimated to be worth over $80 million with total annual revenues around $60-70 million. (Statistics taken from the Jewish Agency website). To this day only a handful of the 350 farming families have been able to return to be productive farmers. 

Taking part in Operation Rebuild is a chesed (charity) project worthy of every community since it gives once productive members of Israeli society the ability to re-establish themselves and become active contributing members once again.  

“Home Game” has become known throughout the Jewish world as a captivating new film that encapsulates the surreal story of normal teenagers 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 film emphasizes the journey of these teenagers and their determination to win against all odds, both on and off the court. 

To see the Home Game trailer see our website: http://www.12tribefilms.org/project.php?id=1  

For additional information about taking part in “Operation Rebuild” or inquiries about donating towards this effort please send an email to avi@12tribefilms.org 

ABOUT 12TRIBE FILMS FOUNDATION:  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. 

-END-

Contact:Avi Abelow

12Tribe Films Foundation

avi@12tribefilms.org 

Website:  www.12tribefilms.org

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