Tamar Adelstein
Tamar Adelstein

Gaza: Why Not? Going Back to Gush Katif in Mind, Heart & On the Ground

BS”D

August 17, 2021

On July 22nd Crown Heights Women for the Safety and Integrity of Israel marked the 16th anniversary of the very wrong and traumatic Expulsion from Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron with an on-line event timed to coincide with the actual week on the Jewish calendar back then which began on the day after Tisha B’Av, r”l.

Entitled Gaza:  Why Not? Going Back to Gush Katif in Mind, Heart & On the Ground, we bring you a program infused with possibility and positivity for the Jewish People’s presence in Gaza and throughout Judea and Samaria and, of course, in Yerushalayim:

In Mind – believing in the possibility b’poel mamash and ignoring the naysayers; In our Hearts – with achdus – unity and love for one another – ahavas Yisroel; and, finally, On the Ground – going back, even better BECAUSE, WHY NOT!

We are releasing the program’s replay now, one month later, on dates that correspond to the secular calendar at that time giving everyone another opportunity to connect with Gush Katif as well as be inspired by the wonderful messages of hope our amazing group of speakers brought to the podium.

You can find the replays on our YouTube Channel:  Crown Heights Women for Israel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuIsBTXxExdJ_R6M0yhkAWA

Below is a brief synopsis of what they said.

PART I – Gush Katif – https://youtu.be/wjGVv-fwWQA

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice president of Igud HaRabbonim presented an expert Halachic and Hashkafic look at going back to Gaza, emphasizing Jewish Law’s imperative to do so in order to protect Jewish lives and ultimately even those of the enemy who, the Lubavitcher Rebbe firmly believed, will lay down their weapons when they see Israel is up and ready to strike first.

Joining us from Gush Katif were Laurence Beziz project coordinator for Merkaz Katif, The Gush Katif Heritage Center who shared her story and told us about the wonderful work Merkaz Katif is accomplishing, especially in the realm of fostering National Responsibility to one another.

Avner Franklin, joined us next; he is the English-speaking tour guide for the Gush Katif Museum in Yerushalayim.   Avner filled us in on the Museum’s important role in keeping the memory and significance of Gush Katif alive in the public’s mind. Visiting the Museum should be included on everyone’s agenda when traveling to Yerushalyim.

PART II – Identity in the Land of Israel – https://youtu.be/m1BlKEHesw8

Because a Disengagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum, we feel, as so many others do, that one of the main factors enabling this reckless decision was the disconnect from Jewish and National Identity.

Pointedly, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who often addressed this topic, was unequivocal in referring to Israel not as the Medina but only as either Eretz Yisroel or Eretz Yisroel HaKodesh.

Rabbi Michoel Seligson, a well-known Chabad scholar, opened this segment of the program on Identity with a sicha from the Rebbe explaining that states come and go but the Land of Israel is an eternal and unchanging entity that will always belong to the Jewish People.

Needless to say, the confusion clouding Israel’s Identity has also had a direct impact on Israel’s Arab communities.  As much as the Oslo Accords and the Expulsion dramatically altered Jewish lives, Arab lives under the PA and Hamas rule have also been radically changed.

It’s well-known that many, many Arabs employed by Jewish farmers and other industries in Gush Katif were distraught when the Expulsion was announced and begged their employers not to leave.  They correctly foresaw that independence under the PA and subsequently Hamas would hardly materialize into the boon for them it was promised to be, instead; Gaza today is a nightmare with no end in sight.

In our opinion, everyone benefits from living under Israeli sovereignty.  Without a doubt going back to Gaza on the ground will not only better ensure Jews’ safety but will also bring renewed prosperity and personal safety to those Arabs who wish to remain there in peace.

Assaf Gibor, was our next guest speaker for this long overdue discussion.  An award-winning Israeli journalist with close ties to the Arab community in Gaza and elsewhere in Israel shared he shared with us his first-hand understanding of what the Arab community is thinking and truly wants.

PART III – The Northern Shomron – https://youtu.be/sFQ86UhDnOk

From the coastal plains in Gaza we journeyed, as it were, up north into the hilltops of the Shomron where we were honored to have the doyenne of the Settlement enterprise Daniella Weiss and rising star Lital-Mamerosh-Slonim, head of the foreign relations desk for Nachala join us to talk about the beautiful renewal taking place in Judea and Samaria including the newest Jewish community, Evyatar.

We are certain you will be as inspired as we were by their encouraging outlook for the present and future in Judea and Samaria.

PART IV – On the Ground with Jeff Cohen and Zehut – https://youtu.be/lKub0R10Ukc

Our final guest for the program was Jeff Cohen, USA director for Zehut International who joined us once again to talk about the Zehut peace plan with respect to security and the military path back to Gush Katif.

About the Author
I am originally from Buffalo, NY and although I did not have a religious upbringing I always felt a strong connection with Yiddishkeit and Eretz Yisroel. I still get chills recalling the moment the Rabbi announced that Israel had been attacked on Yom Kippur. In the weeks that followed, even though I really didn't understand all the details, I was the one student in my 10th grade Social Studies class who challenged our German-American teacher when he said Israel would be wiped out. Interestingly, the rest of Jewish kids in the class who came from much more Jewishly -oriented homes than I were silent. Years later I met one of them and was astounded to find out how they were all silently cheering me on. On the day the Jews were "disengaged" from Gush Katif, I was stopped in the grocery store (in Buffalo) by a little Jewish lady who whispered to me that she didn't think it was right what Israel was doing. Which just goes to show that there is a vast silent majority of Jews who agree with the Rebbe's approach to peace.
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