The people who live in the temporary tent city in central Tel Aviv are fresh evacuees from Gaza settlements, who came with stories and memories of old homes and forceful evacuations, but with praise for the armed forces.
“If there’s no school in Neve Dekalim, we’ll go learn in Atzmona, said seven year old Naomi Alosh, who was cleared from her home in the settlement of Netzer Hazani.
“I don’t really know where I’ll be tomorrow and I also don’t know where my friends will be,” said the little girl.
Naomi has a sad look in her eyes. When her mother, Savin, asks her to tell my about the moments when she was cleared from her home, she says only that it was very sad for her.
After a few minutes she opens up: “Soldiers came and it was very sad. I was also a little scared, but it was mostly sad. They took us in two buses, all the people from the settlement, and brought us to Hispin. We were also at the Western Wall. But I only want to go home, to my house.”
City of tents in central Tel Aviv (Photo: Noa Raz)
“Naomi, tell her what you did when the soldiers came,” says her mother.
Only then does Naomi smile. “Me? I ran straight to Milki and hugged him. Milki is my dog, he’s small and cute. As soon as the soldiers came I ran and hugged him. Afterwards we took him everywhere, mom argued with all the bus drivers and explained to them that this was a special dog and that they must let him come with us for the ride.”
Naomi, together with her friends from Netzer Hazani, arrived yesterday at Tel Aviv’s Central Train Station, where evacuees erected a city of tents.
At first, the scene resembled an organized summer camp in the middle of the city. Dozens of children ran around on the grass, throwing water balloons, and playing with Bnei Akiva volunteers who came to help the evacuees.
“The officer who evacuated me is welcome for coffee”
Savin arrived at the city of tents with Naomi and five year-old son Elroi. The family’s father, like most fathers, returned to Netzer Hazani to take care of final packing arrangements.
Savin said it was difficult for her to discuss the evacuation. But she had no hesitation to lavish praise on the army. “The army did its work with outstanding sensitivity,” she said.
Soldiers fulfilled orders, they did what they were told. I have no complaints against the soldiers who arrived at my house, it’s not their fault. Kfir, the officer who came to evacuate me and my extended family, is invited to visit us, and sit down for coffee. He was simply charming,” said Svin.
“It’s not only Naomi and the little children, the older ones also don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” she said.
“We got used to making plans 20 minutes in advance, so I can tell you what I’ll do in 20 minutes. I can’t tell you what I’ll be doing tomorrow though. At the moment we have no house."
"We are sending the youths to Rehovot and Tel Aviv, to Dizingoff and Azrieli (shopping centers), in order to try and explain to the people. We have to start talking to each other. I want to see if they will dare look us in the eyes and tell us that they hate all the settlers.”