Mood of Former Gush Katif Residents With Approach of Yom Ha’Atzmaut 5766 …

Holding On, by Rachel Saperstein


During Pesach, we heard the endless shelling of Israeli artillery into Gaza. We heard the voices of our people, out of work. We heard the sadness in the voices of our people, many struck down by stress-induced heart attacks and cancer.

Groups came to visit during Pesach. I speak to the people, but I am not pleasant. I cannot forget or forgive. The Jewish National Fund will be bringing a group here next week; I have warned them that I will not be pleasant.

On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day we had a solemn ceremony for our Six Million. I heard the plaintive voice of one of our young boys singing, Rachem (Mercy): “Mercy, O Lord, on your people.” I remembered the same words so clearly sung by our youth in the synagogue of N’vei Dekalim, as they wept and swayed in prayer the last moments before being dragged out by the Israeli army.

The youngsters on our makeshift stage spoke of the Warsaw Ghetto surrounded by barbed wire, of identity checks, of the lack of food, of despair. And I stood and silently wept, remembering the empty shelves in our N’vei Dekalim supermarket, the identity checks at the checkpoints in and out of Gush Katif, and finally, the masses of soldiers who came to pull us out of our homes.

Next week, we will celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Independence Day. This year, we will have no Israeli flag on our caravilla. My heart breaks that I cannot rejoice with the flag of Israel because I am ashamed of how it was used. Instead, we will plant the flag of Gush Katif on our lawn.

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