What was to be a 10-day stay has turned into an odyssey of uncertainty whose provisional end will only be seen in another few months when the Zelingers and other evacuees from the community of Neve Dekalim will be settled in temporary quarters at Kibbutz Ein Tzurim. Five years down the line, the remnants of their community will be reunited in permanent housing near Kibbutz Amatzia in the sparsely populated Lachish region.
“People assume that after seven months, we’ve all gotten our lives back together, we’ve picked up our compensation checks and gone forward,” Dana says. “It’s not true. Almost no one has received compensation. Unemployment is rampant and savings are gone. No permanent housing solutions have been created yet. And those highly-touted ‘caravillas’ that some families are living in, which are really just prefab caravans with fancy red roofs, are also just temporary.”