Day 3: The Nine Days

A new week in the Gush — and I have a feeling it will bear a different tone than last week, which was filled with euphoria. This week will be filled with more solemnity, as we are counting the nine days leading to the destruction of the second temple — and the planned destruction of Jewish communities in Gush Katif. Everyday at Gush Katif brings something new — a new friend, a new experience, a new idea, or a new understanding. I heard that a group of students against the expulsion, the “Orange Cell,” had landed in the Gush, illegally of course, and I thought I would become acquainted with them. They were roughly my age, some of them were secular, and the leader was pretty cute and charismatic. He flirted with me too, although I later realized that he flirted with almost every female. They invited me to join them at Morag, the southernmost settlement and the most precarious. It’s surrounded by three Arab villages, which make them a popular target for mortar attacks. Morag is slated as one of the first to go. A 50+ year-old man with a grey beard, a teacher, welcomed us into his home to get acquainted. He explained that there were 40 families in Morag and that they were split regarding their dedication to refusing the pull-out, but he believed that the media exaggerated the percentage of families who would leave willingly. He […]

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Day 2: Shabbat in the Gush II

The last time I spent Shabbat in Gush Katif, the topic of Disengagement was a self-imposed taboo; this time it was all the families could talk about. Mothers, fathers, children were all venting their anger, upset, humiliation, suffering, pain, and most of all — incredulity — incredulity that the Israeli government could be so cruel and heartless by putting them through such a traumatic ordeal. I entered the home of the family hosting me for the Friday night meal — it was not a house — but a home. The home was filled with hundred of plants and paintings and sculptures created by the artistic mother — and with warmth, generosity, and love. The table was set immaculately for their four children and five guests, and ten different kinds of salads added color to the table. “Doesn’t your mother get a kiss for Shabbat?” the lady of the house asked her handsome, lean 22 year-old son as he walked in from shul. He looked more like her brother. He immediately obliged. As we sat down, the conversation easily turned to the subject of the Disengagement — no, it’s not a “Disengagement” the mother reminded us, it’s an “Expulsion” — and the father simply declared the unofficial Israeli anthem, trying to emanate strength: “It will all be okay.” But we all knew it wouldn’t be. The couple came to the Gush 30 years ago, when the area consisted only of sand

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