Monday, August 22, 2005

Netzarim to Ariel College

CJS Release
August 22, 2005
CJS to Host Netzarim Community

The College of Judea & Samaria (CJS), scheduled to become Israel's next university, will provide housing to the 500-strong Gush Katif community of Netzarim, with families expected to begin arriving in Ariel this evening.
Netzarim's former residents, consisting of approximately 80 families, will move into student dormitories on campus and also receive food supplies, logistic support, basic equipment and a synagogue from the College.
"Absorbing the people of Netzarim is an act of national responsibility. By opening our arms to the community, we hope to create a supportive environment and to ease the trauma they are currently experiencing," said Yigal Cohen-Orgad, Chairman of the CJS Executive Committee.

During the summer months, only a third of the dormitories are occupied by students. With the College anticipating a 10% increase in academic enrollment this year, school officials are working to find alternative accommodations for several hundred students, if the Netzarim families remain on campus after the beginning of the fall semester.

The initiative to absorb Netzarim's former residents in the City of Ariel was promoted by two CJS faculty members, Dr. Miriam Billig of the Behavioral Sciences Dept. and Prof. Shraga Shoval of the Industrial Engineering & Management Dept.

Both recently attempted to facilitate talks between the Prime Minister's Office, the Housing Ministry and the Netzarim leadership to base the evacuation on professional and planned parameters. Two key principles were stressed: 1) To keep the original community together, and 2) To preserve the community's social, education and municipal framework, in order to help reduce the trauma that former residents would experience in the coming months.

"As long as the Netzarim community stays together, it is much easier to care for the families with the help of its own leadership and with outside assistance", said Dr. Billig.

In addition, residents of Ariel and other nearby communities have begun organizing initial assistance to build children's playgrounds and to fund social support networks for the former Netzarim residents.

For more details, please contact:
Office of Development & External Affairs
College of Judea & Samaria, Ariel, Israel
Tel: 972-50-771-4700; Fax: 972-3-906-7440

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