Sunday, August 2, 2009

What Remains by Hadassa DeYoung

What Remains

I probably shouldn’t have done it in Adar, but I did. And then I refrained from sharing my findings until Av. I had been meaning for quite some time to look for videos of post-expulsion K’far Darom. It may be defect in my psyche, sometimes when I get homesick I want to see how K’far Darom has changed, more precisely, exactly what the Arabs didn’t destroy.

I found a selection of expulsion and post-expulsion videos that I had either seen or were very similar to those I had previously viewed. And then I found something I hadn’t seen. It seemed to be filmed by a native English speaking crew with the cooperation of local Arab journalists. Much of the audio was Arabic either dubbed into English or with English subtitles.

Neve Dekalim now hosts a local Arab government in the Na’ot Katif school building and the Gaza Beach Regional Council building (Gush Katif is only part of the area the Jewish communities comprised. The Jewish communities were all under the Moetzet Hoff Azza – Gaza Beach jurisdiction) has been taken over by El-Aksa University. I knew that.

The rubble of Tel Katifa was being removed. Then the camera panned north on Highway 4 towards K’far Darom and reached it, or so the narrator said. I recognized every curve of the almost straight road, but K’far Darom? All I saw was an empty, brown, dusty lot. I couldn’t discern a single landmark. I stopped and replayed the segment several times and saw not a tree, not a pile of rubble, neither an internal road nor path. I scrutinized the computer screen and found nothing.

I inadvertently didn’t save the link and it took me quite some time to find the footage again. I found it as a Channel 10 (Israeli TV) clip from the second anniversary of the expulsion. “Nothing remains of K’far Darom,” the announcer stated. He seemed to be trying to hide – or perhaps not trying – a satisfied smirk.

“Nothing remains of K’far Darom.” Is that true? Neve Dekalim wasn’t totally razed. Did the Arabs leave nothing of K’far Darom, not even a tree or even a bush?

I again looked for a landmark and finally found one: the pedestrian bridge linking the residential area of K’far Darom to the Torah and Land Institute on the opposite side of Highway 4. The Arabs had removed all traces of the community and leveled the terrain. They did not leave a single tree, bush or even electric or telephone poll. Our beloved ficus tree that a Nahal unit planted in 1972 and Doron Shorsan, hy”d, later immortalized with a tree house for the children is gone. I’ve been wondering for three and a half years how my hedges are doing. Now I can only wonder how strong the roots are and if they will sprout again when their owners return.

However, does nothing remain of K’far Darom? “Nothing remained” after Tuvia Miller’s date plantation was uprooted during the Arab riots of 1936-39 , but in 1947 Kibbutz K’far Darom redeemed his land. “Nothing remained” after Kibbutz K’far Darom withdrew in 1948 after fending off the Egyptian forces for 222 days. A Nahal unit redeemed their land in 1972 . The civilian community of K’far Darom followed in 1990, and was expelled in Av 2005. But does nothing remain?

We still remain and we have vowed to return. If not us, then G-d willing our children. If not our children then G-d willing their children will merit redeeming the land of their ancestors.

During a last, long, final stare at the stopped frame of the empty, brown, dusty lot, I noticed that the ground wasn’t brown. The ground of K’far Darom is still orange.

Hadassa DeYoung
K'far Darom/Elon Moreh


Netivotgirl said...

As I pray daily, may you and all the "m'gurashei ha'gush" be blessed with health, happiness and good parnassa! May you all live until 120 and merit seeing both the coming of Moshiach and your return to the rebuilt Kfar Darom .

From the hundreds of Gush residents I've had the pleausure of meeting throughout the years, I can say without hesitation that you are the "creme de la creme" of Am Yisrael.

People like you, Hadassah, make me proud to be a Yid!

Hadassa said...

Shalom, Netivotgirl!
We knew you'd take our places, even though we tried not to let it happen.
Hang in there, G-d willing we'll be your neighbors again.