Friday afternoon: Just when it appeared that the problem was solved, the Disengagement Authority apparently did not reach an agreement with the hotel after all, as a result of which, according to Israel Radio on the PM news, it has cut off electricity, and will not be providing food for the residents of Gush Katif on Shabbat. At the time of this writing, close to Shabbat, an in-house Bdoloch spokesperson could not be reached. Aaron Farjun, who moved from the hotel to a caravan in Nitzan a few days ago, said, “Now everyone will see who the Disengagement Authority is. This country is governed by criminals.” Only a hotel secretary was available to talk, and she said, “They’ve closed the hotel because they [the Disengagement Authority] didn’t extend the contract. I don’t know what the people will do.” It is half an hour before Shabbat.

Holocaust Survivors – Looking Forward, from Neve Dekalim to Meitar

Miriam and Yehuda Gross, both 83 years old, live in Meitar now, near Be’er Sheva, near a married son. They lived in Neve Dekalim for 18 years.

They were both from Hungary. Yehuda spent the Holocaust in a work camp. Miriam was sent from one concentration camp to another, also spending time in Aushwitz.

They met and married after the war, and came to Israeli in 1957 with five children. A married daughter, Yehudit Tzveig, lived with her family in Ganei Tal, also in Gush Katif, and Miriam also had married grandchildren in Gush Katif.

The breaking point for them came a week before the 17th of Tamuz.

Miriam: “We saw what they had done to the [Palm Beach] hotel, how they took the people out. The whole area was full of soldiers and policemen, it was such a terrible sight. We had gone to visit our daughter Yehudit in Ganei Tal, and we could hardly go home. I said Yehuda, It’s not for us, we’ve gone through too much, this is not for us.” Then our son, who lives in Meitar, said there was a house there, so we moved here; the children helped us so in one day everything was in place.

“In Neve Dekalim, we walked around a week among the boxes. We’re here now. Nothing helps; it hurts, but I always look forward, I wanted us to rehabilitate ourselves. It isn’t bad here, but the 18 years in Neve Dekalim were the most beautiful time of my life; I never felt so at home as I did there. It was a beautiful period. And see what a nice story – I had a Poinciana tree, and there was a reporter there and an Israeli photojournalist, Shaul Schwartz, with whom we became friendly. I told him that what hurts the most is leaving that tree.

“One day he came to visit me here in Meitar and said, ‘I have a surprise for you.” He had extracted and brought me that tree, and two other palm trees as well, and he brought people to replant them by my house in Meitar. I didn’t know what to do, I was so emotional.

“I also became friendly with Yair Ettinger from Haaretz, a wonderful boy, and he wrote exactly what I said. He lived by us for some months. Shaul Schwartz said he made a film about us and will edit it in New York. They loved us there. Not just them – everyone. We were the oldest couple there and I had such a good connection with the young people around me. I’ll have that nowhere, no matter how nice the people are here, but the connection there, doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

Regarding compensation, Miriam says, “We got some of it, but the bureaucracy with the Disengagement Authority was a nightmare. We brought all the paperwork we needed at one time, and then for a whole month they asked for more, and for more… fortunately I have a son and a daughter-in-law who are attorneys and they helped me. The Disengagement Authority gave us such heartache, as if they wanted to make it as difficult as possible. But now we’ve received some of the compensation. I thought, maybe they don’t want us to really leave? It’s as if they didn’t appreciate the fact that we left early. We had many mixed feelings, but we have to get over it and go forward. When a person is sad, all the desire for life is over. We have to find joy and do the best we can. I love people, I love everyone.”

G’did Community Sent from Neve Ilan Hotel to Decrepit Hotel in Tiberias for Rosh Hashana

The community of G’did, currently living in the Neve Ilan Hotel, was told that they have to vacate the premises for Rosh Hashana.

The hotel arranged for them to be sent to a hotel in Tiberias. A spokeswoman for Gdid told us, “Some of the rooms were okay, but others were filthy, disgusting. Dirty dishwater ran in front of the hotel entrance. Three women fainted inside. The air conditioner in the ‘synagogue’ caught fire. Some people slept in the hotel lobby to escape from the terrible rooms.

They say they contacted the media but nobody wanted to “spoil the Rosh Hashana atmosphere.” Chaim Altman of the Disengagement Authority said, “I knew nothing about the problems with the hotel in Tiberias.”

More on the Gdid community and Neve Ilan in the next report.

Toby Klein Greenwald 0523-822104