Kibbutz key handed over to evacuees (Photo: Amir Cohen)
After long months of negotiations, Shomria’s 13 families transferred legal ownership of the kibbutz, in return for USD 300,000 per family, to the evacuees. With the money, the families will try to start a new life not far away, and in the meantime will live in temporary housing. In their place, some 50 families, who have been living in a tent city called “City of Faith” near Netivot since their evacuation from Gaza, will move into the kibbutz’s empty houses, cara-villas (luxury mobile homes) and caravans.
Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office Ilan Cohen, and the Disengagement Authority said that they see this as a victory. The residents, however, seemed less enthused. Head of the Disengagement Authority Yonatan Bassi told Ynet, “Tonight is the answer to anyone who slandered the Authority.”
Emotions overflowed (Photo: Amir Cohen)
The Atzmona evacuees thanked the Disengagement Authority and the Prime Minister’s Office. One of the evacuees, Noa Rice, told Ynet, “We have mixed feelings. We’re happy to come to a new place and take upon ourselves the challenge of settling a new place, but I don’t forget where we came from, and I remember Gush Katif more and more. The people of Shomria’s sadness about leaving is one of the factors in this sea of emotions. As always, we will enlist and apply ourselves to the great
Ilan Cohen addressed the Atzmona evacuees in his speech: “Its not shameful to say thank you to the Shomria residents, who have acted nobly all the way.” He also remarked on the Disengagement Authority’s mediation of the deal. “You took upon yourselves one of the most difficult and thankless jobs. We are witness to much criticism these days, and this country knows well how to criticize but doesn’t know how to say thank you. If we do anything, they say we’ve done too much. If we don’t do something we’ll be slammed for inaction.”
Kibbutz Shomria Secretary, Yigal Aflala, told Ynet, “For me this is the end of a chapter in my life. This is a new beginning for us in a new place, and a new beginning for Atzmona evacuees here.” At the end of the ceremony, tears flowed freely. In a voice strained with emotion, Aflalo said, “We aren’t going with a whole heart.”