Monday, June 23, 2008

Expellees and Illness by Hadassa DeYoung


Batya, Shalom!
The following is a result of some of my thoughts, pre*- and post-expulsion. I do not know how many of my fellow expellees agree with me, although I do know that some do. In addition to my personal thoughts I have, of course, discussed these issues with expellee friends. I have also had the experience of translating numerous letters and other documents from fellow expellees with whom I am not at all acquainted. Most of the letters have been heart-breaking. Some people had such faith in the government, and the "solution for every settler" slogan publicized before the expulsion. BeSheva was the only major newspaper that had the journalistic integrity not to publish the lie.

I welcome you to give your opinions and to ask other expellees theirs. More settlements are on the chopping block and if we internalize the ramifications of more displaced families – and more land given to the enemy – perhaps we'll be more successful this time at preventing an expulsion. On the subject of displaced families, I met two people at the Hotel Paradise (now the Golden Tulip, same wonderful staff) in Be'er Sheva who identified with our situation. One was a Greek woman from Cyprus who spoke beautiful English and said, "I sympathize with you." The other was an Jewish man from America who was, with his wife, visiting their son, a student at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva. (He also, upon hearing that we were from K'far Darom, said, in the voice of someone remembering events of the past, "Yes... You put up some resistance..." And to him that was a positive act. Dancing with the soldiers earned no respect from anyone with any self esteem.) The man related to us that he had been born in a displaced persons' camp after the Shoah, and that he understood our situation. He wished us well.

I read in one of your blogs that you'd discussed with an expellee friend the high rate of cancer and other illnesses among the expellees and explained the root of the causes. There's one aspect that you didn't mention: Those who saw it coming, those who didn't and those who buried their heads in the plentiful sand of Gush Katif when they saw it coming. Those who saw it coming had the opportunity to mentally prepare themselves and decide how, when - and of course if - to protest the expulsion forces when they came. (We lived directly opposite the synagogue of K'far Darom. Jewish soldiers - yes, most of these particular soldiers were Jewish - lined up in circles five deep in their black, tan and green uniforms around it, waiting for orders to storm it. If acts like this are not predicted, we have no hope of maintaining our settlements.) Those who saw it coming also were obviously not prone to sitting around after the expulsion with their heads in their heads wondering, "How could it have happened?" They were also more likely not to suffer nervous, marital or physical breakdowns. (Anyone who didn't see it coming after the Regional Council of Hof Azza gave the hotel to the IDF and the Yesha Council lead the travesty in K'far Maimon was suffering from delusions. I hate the fact that the Yesha Council doesn't see fit to protect all settlements.) Those who didn't see it coming were most likely to either suffer breakdowns or after the initial shock pick up the pieces and pull their lives together. Most of them are probably still clinging to the caravilla sites, but that's just my opinion.

The most problematic group are, of course, the people who denied reality. They so much wanted to believe that they would never leave their beloved Gush Katif that they could not accept the fact that our defeat was imminent (due to faulty strategies). They are probably still living in a daze and clinging the most tightly to the caravilla sites. Again, that's just my opinion.

This is the result of very informal surveys on my part. There are, however, lessons to be learned from realizing that these three groups exist. That these groups exist is, I think, a certainty.

What is also a certainty is that the government has slated tens of settlements and thousands of families for the same fate as Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Will we make the same mistakes again?

Hadassa DeYoung, K'far Darom/Elon Moreh
note: * Background information: K'far Darom did not plan ahead for the day after. There was not one container on the settlement until after we were all forcibly removed. Rav Shreiber mentioned at a meeting before the expulsion that he had seen a where-they-are-going chart on the Internet. The Rav stressed that "half of the information was lies", but he went on to say that K'far Darom was the only settlement with a question mark.
We had a members' meeting several months before the expulsion at the Givat Washington College Campus. The media reported it as K'far Darom deciding where they were going, which wasn't true. We discussed not deciding where we were going and what we were going to do to stop the expulsion. I remember one member saying "If it [G-d forbid] happens, two months after the expulsion no-one is going to care about us." That, by the way, is one of the reasons why it is so important to resist expulsion. I remember that very clearly because I thought to myself, G-d help those who haven't figured that out yet.

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