Saying good-bye: Hugs and tears flowed openly Monday in the northern West Bank, as some 30 residents of the Kadim settlement gathered to lower the flag for the last time.
"Heaven knows our home will always be here," said Debby Drori, a long-time resident.
Hugs, tears in Kadim Photo: Ahiya Raved
By Tuesday evening, Drori – the last family to leave town – are expected to quietly evacuate their home, drawing the final curtain on a community that was established in 1983.
We are family
One resident after another recalled better times, and spoke about the difficult emotions wrapped up with leaving the community.
One, Carlos Wassrus, thanked his neighbors for supporting him after he was shot during one of the many shooting incidents that plagued access roads to the community, just one month after moving to Kadim.
Community secretary Mazal Emek said she felt like she was at a funeral.
"But a person's strength comes from the family he's got around him," she said. "I feel like all of you are my family. I won't forget you; please don't forget me. We are family."
'We will return'
Last to speak was Debby Drori, one of the first residents of Kadim.
"We salute you, today, Kadim," she said. "We will return, one way or another. Heaven knows, our home will always be here."
She also said she would keep the Israeli flag that flew over the settlement, and vowed it would once again over Kadim.
"If not us, then our children, or perhaps our grandchildren. But one way or another, we will return to Kadim," she said.
Taking down mezuzahs in Ganim
Not far from Kadim, IDF chaplains spent the day removing mezuzah scrolls from homes and gathering religious items from abandoned houses around the village.
Packing up in Ganim Photo: Reuters
At the same time, residents gathered for one last prayer service in the community synagogue. As the service ended, several residents dismantled the Holy Ark and removed the Torah scrolls, in order to transport them to their new home in the town of Raychan, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) away, just over the Green Line.
One resident, Benny Ezer, said he felt like a loop had been closed: 20 years ago, Raychan was supposed to receive a Torah scroll from the Di-Zahav settlement in Sinai, but the community at that time had no synagogue. Instead the Torah went to Ganim.
Now, it will finally make it to Raychan.