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Photo: Meir Azoulay
Tearing apart a family (Archive Photo)
Photo: Meir Azoulay
'State wants to take my kids’
Foster kids will be taken away in six days if settler family does not move; Disengagement Authority says it’ll find solution

GUSH KATIF - The Shani Family (pseudonym) has six days to find a new home in Beer Sheva.

 

If the Gush Katif family cannot find an appropriate home in a traditional neighborhood, it will lose its foster children, a Gaza family was told by a government backed child care body.  

 

 

The Summit Institute, which looks after the needs of adopted and foster children and has state backing, does not want the children to experience the trauma of disengagement.

 

But for the parents, who have not yet found a new house, the pullout will become a double tragedy – losing a home and loved ones.

 

The Shani Family has been welcoming foster children into its large home for the past 20 years.

 

Stark alternatives

 

“A month ago, I got a call from the Summit Institute and they said that the children had to be out of Gush Katif before disengagement, ” Mrs. Shani said.

 

The alternative was that the children are taken to orphanage.

 

“It was very difficult for me to hear this,” said Mr. Shani. “You can rebuild a home, but how can you rebuild the soul of a child is torn from his parents.”

 

Ever since receiving the ultimatum, the couple has been searching for a new home in Beer Sheva, but so far have not found a new home with the required seven bedrooms.  

 

One potential home is still in the process of being built, but the family only has a week left.

 

“The children feel the earthquake getting closer,” said Mrs. Shani, who tries to be strong for her children but cries herself to sleep at night. “They don’t want to leave the house alone; they don’t want to go to asleep alone.”

 

Trying to find a solution

 

The situation of the Shani Family has touched the hearts of the neighbors and Disengagement Authority head Yonatan Bassi, who spoke with Welfare Ministry and Summit Institute people.

 

“We cannot get into details, but we are trying to find a solution to this personal dilemma,” a statement from the Disengagement Authority said, “like other problems experienced by Gush Katif.”

 

The Summit Institute said that the original decision to remove the children had nothing to do with disengagement, “but in light of events, we operating out of welfare concerns.”

 

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