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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 31, 2005 /26 Meanachem-Av, 5765

Paid-off ‘settlers’ and other myths

By Jonathan Rosenblum


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An army of twenty public relations professionals sold a self-serving message that was (gullibly?) bought hook, line and sinker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the long span of Jewish history, the uprooting of 8,500 Jews from Gaza will not rank as one of the worst tragedies, though it was unique in that those doing the uprooting were themselves Jews. This was not 1492 and the expulsion from Spain or the Holocaust. And the attempts by some in the settler community to appropriate symbols of those earlier tragedies   —   yellow Jewish stars, concentration camp uniforms   —   and by implication, and sometimes explicitly, to cast the soldiers executing the evacuation orders in the role of Hitler's S.S. troops, only infuriated secular Israelis.


Yet if the expulsion from Gaza was not one of the worst tragedies in Jewish history, the trauma inflicted on the Gaza residents and indeed on the entire national religious community, is nevertheless overwhelming. Rarely has a democratically elected government treated a part of its own population so harshly.


The loss for those uprooted from their homes took place on many levels   —   personal, communal, theological, and sociological. The faith in the imminent redemptive process that has animated the national religious community since Israel's miraculous expansion into the Jewish people's historic heartland in 1967 has now suffered an immense blow.


At the same time, the community's sense of itself as the vanguard of Israel society, widely admired as the exemplars of the true Zionist faith, can no longer be sustained. No longer can the national religious world delude itself that only a handful of narrow societal elites stand between it and the realization of a far more Jewish state in Israel. The settlers feel rejected and spit out by a large portion of Israel. And the sense of betrayal and having been stabbed in the back runs very deep.


Secular journalist Ari Shavit, who views the Gaza settlement as misbegotten from the start, even as he is filled with considerable sympathy and admiration the settlers, captured their feelings of bewilderment in the face of betrayal: "They have build a kind of model of Zionism in the sand. . . . A cruel and na´ve Zionism. A Zionism . . . that protects itself with reckless abandon and buries its dead with deep devotion. And maintains on the dunes of Gaza beach a form of the lost Israeli soul to which Israel is itself already foreign. Israel itself no longer wants it."


The trauma is so much greater for having been inflicted by the state and army in which the settlers so ardently believed. Shavit again: "The soil bound Israelis of Gush Katif could not believe that the digital Israelis of Tel Aviv would throw them out like an object no one wants. And would send against them the army in which they believed so much; would send into their homes people in the uniform they loved so much."


Not only have the Gaza settlers witnessed the destruction of their lives' work, they are without any clue as to what the future holds for them. An army of twenty public relations professionals working for SELA, the body charged with overseeing arrangements with those uprooted from Gaza, has skillfully spread the message in Israel and abroad that all the settlers walked out of Gaza with checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, an amount sufficient to reestablish themselves anywhere in Israel.


That is a seriously distorted picture. Those who were renting homes are entitled to only modest checks based on the number of years living there. Most of those were teachers or otherwise employed by the Gush Katif Regional Council, and now have neither homes nor jobs. Even those who had large homes   —   in many cases 250 square meters or more   —   with lawns and gardens, will, in the best case, be relocated to caravans of 60-90 square meters, for the next two to three years. Those caravans have no room for their ovens or refrigerators, which will be stored for years on Negev army bases, in containers where the internal temperatures are estimated to reach close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Far worse, from their point of view, there is no room for their Shabbes (Sabbath) tables or their seforim, holy books. It will be a long time before they can again host for Shabbes their married children and grandchildren, who, in many cases, were living right next door until last week.

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But the image of the generously compensated settlers misses the point in a far more fundamental way. They never wanted the checks in the first place. The idea of providing checks and leaving the former residents of the Gaza Strip to make their own arrangements was to make life easier for the government.


Though the settlers, by and large, refused to carry on individual negotiations with SELA, on the grounds that one does not discuss one's own funeral arrangements, from the beginning they made clear through their legal representative, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, that their primary concern was that they be able to remain together with the neighbors with whom they have built their entire lives together over the last 37 years.


The Gaza Strip settlements were not suburban housing developments; they were faith communities of people animated by a shared vision and depth of commitment. Together they built lush, verdant communities out of the sand dunes, and together they mourned many sons and daughters killed in battle and terrorist attacks. Many of the younger generation have never known any other home. And their most fervent wish was that they could remain together.


Those hopes, too, now appear dashed. According to Yitzchak Meron, an attorney with the Legal Forum, less than ten per cent of the Gaza settlers know what their final housing solutions will be. The largest site planned for the refugees on the Nitzanim sand dunes south of Askelon will hold at most 300 (of the 1500 families uprooted from Gaza), and likely take 3 years to complete. In addition, the government inserted a contract clause that if it does not secure all the necessary permits by the end of the year, the whole deal can be cancelled.


Worse, no more than one-third of those removed from their homes even have temporary housing solutions. The government purchased less than 500 caravans all total, and has explicitly said that it will purchase no more.


As of the start of the evacuation, SELA had procured only a thousand hotel rooms around the country for 1,000 families, many of them very large, with no place to go. Only at the last minute, did it scramble to come up with another 1,500 rooms. The exiles from Gaza were shepherded onto busses with no idea where they were going, and, in many cases, when they arrived, they were told that there were no rooms for them. Even at the first stage, the different communities were split up. Residents of Netzarim, for instance, are now housed in eight different hotels in Jerusalem.


Those who did have rooms soon realized that in the haste and circumstances of their departure, they had failed to take even the most basic necessities   —   soap, toothpaste, diapers   —   and that they had no place to wash their laundry.


With the school year about to begin, parents have no idea where their children will be attending school. Even if the original ten day stays granted by SELA are extended, families will have to move a number of times in coming months, as the hotels fill up for the Yom Tovim. Those groups that found places for themselves in different dormitories around the country will also have to be relocated at the end of summer vacation. Psychologists have said that each of these moves is a separate trauma for the families already traumatized by the loss of their homes, support groups, and entire way of life.


The recitation of these heart-wrenching facts requires no explanation. Jews must know when other Jews are suffering. And particularly so those who believe in the uniqueness of every Jew and our common mission from Sinai.


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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is a columnist, author and Israeli director of Am Echad. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2005, Jonathan Rosenblum