With much thanks to and with permission from Miriam Adahan;
It is March, 2006, seven months since the expulsion of some 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif. At that time, I wrote a piece called “Imagine,” decrying some of the tragic aspects of that terrible event. Now it is time for an update:
Imagine that 7 months ago, you lived among proud, hard-working people with zero unemployment, which brought in $2 billion a year, and that now you live in a world where 85% of your neighbors are unemployed – all to satisfy the government’s desire to please Arab terrorists.
Imagine that many of your neighbors are in severe trauma, having lost all sense of community, family, dignity and future.
Imagine that the Israeli government cannot find the money to help you, but funnels almost $200 million a month to terrorists, whose leader, Abu Mazen, y.sh., is called a moderate, although he funded the Munich massacre and based his Ph.D. thesis on the denial of the Holocaust, because he believes in destroying Israel by stages unlike Hamas, which wants it done faster.
Imagine that you are tortured by clerks who promise compensation, only to then tell you that no matter how many forms you fill out, you never have the right information, and then, claiming that you are uncooperative, are therefore, not entitled to compensation.
Imagine that you were once part of a supportive community with a majestic synagogue which held hundreds of worshippers, with batai midrash, beautiful mikvas, well-equipped kindergartens and high schools, with enormous playgrounds bursting with happy children and community centers and spacious streets, and now you are confined to a DP (displaced person) camp, without synagogues, mikvas, schools or playgrounds.
Imagine that your teenagers, whom you were forced to send away to school, won’t come home because there is no room for another bed in your tiny tin can of a house and because they are ashamed of what has become of you.
Imagine that your children who once lived on the same block and your grandchildren, who used to run into your home at all hours of the day, bringing joy to your heart and laughter to your lips, are now living far away.
Imagine that your younger children, once so bright and outgoing, are so traumatized that they cannot concentrate in class and have withdrawn socially.
Imagine that your tiny hotel room could only hold your husband, baby and children up to age 3, which meant that children over 4 had to sleep in another locked room and that you often awoke to find them sleeping by your door and that these sweet children, who had never seen TV, now spend hours watching images you would never want them to see, because you must attend to the babies and cannot race back and forth and anyway, they have nothing to do with their time.
Imagine that you find yourself jealous of the silliest things, like people with a bathtub, a working toilet, shelves and closets, because in your DP camp home, there is no room for a bathtub, and because the builders did not put in a drainage system for the showers, the shower water floods the floors and the toilets often overflow and the walls are so thin they cannot hold more than a piece of paper and certainly not heavy shelves.
Imagine that your child is sick and you cannot bring him food because the hotel dining room is closed and you cannot make him a soothing soup because you do not have a kitchen in which to cook and that your husband, who was as healthy as an ox, now constantly complains of chest pain and that doctors can find nothing wrong – because broken hearts don’t show up on EKG exams.
Imagine that you once housed your 11 children in 8 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms and now live in quarters so tiny that you eat your family meals on the floor or in shifts and that the prospect of inviting visitors, once a joyous occasion, is now an impossible dream.
Imagine that the mainstream Israeli press ignores your plight, except to report that you have received millions in compensation and have no right to whine.
Imagine that you are still paying the $450 monthly mortgage on your home, which was destroyed by the government, and another $450 a month on your tin can and that, after having been a successful businessman, you have now been reduced to begging for handouts.
Imagine that most Israelis cannot understand why you are so upset about what has been done – not by goyim, but about Jews and a government which is proud to proclaim, “WE STAND FOR NOTHING!”
This is the plight of most former Gush Katif residents. Imagine that you want to live in one community but that your wife and children want to be near friends or relatives in a different part of the country and now your once happy marriage is breaking apart.
Imagine that you do not know how to help your children, who are showing serious signs of distress, some severely depressed, talking about suicide, others out on the streets for hours, lost and unmotivated, others wetting their beds, over-eating or anxiety-ridden and that your teenage sons have decided not to join the Israeli army, because doing so will force them to take part in even more brutal expulsions of Jews from their homes.
Imagine that you and your 11 children once lived in a home with 8 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms and that you now live in a caravan so tiny that you had to give away most of your furniture, including your big dining room table.
Imagine that you once enjoy a family atmosphere on shabbos with songs and divrei Torah and now you sit with hundreds of people in a hotel dining room with so much noise that you cannot even hear each other speak, and that singing is out of the question.
Imagine that you finally move into a tiny caravan and receive your container with possessions from your destroyed home and find that all things of value have been broken or stolen, including your camera, computer and tape deck and washing machine and that anything of value which did survive is quickly stolen by that Arabs from the neighboring communities who enter through the unbarred windows at night and take whatever they want and there is no police department to notify and no one to care.
Imagine that you once lived in nature, with the sound of birds and the nearby ocean and now you only hear the never-ending noise of nearby expressways.
And now imagine that the Israeli government is planning the expulsion of thousands more Jews and has already built detention centers for this purpose so that every Israeli living outside the cursed Road Map lives in fear.
A few weeks ago, I wanted to find out when it would be convenient to come and give a donation to an inspiring rabbi, still in a hotel room, whose wife had just given birth to their 12th child. A young girl answered and I thoughtlessly said, “Is your father home?” I heard her breath catch in pain at the word “home.” Will they ever have one?
I can only bless all the refugees that since Hashem took away all their gashmius [materiality], may He bless them with increased ruchnius and may they receive much help in rebuilding their shattered lives!
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