Guest Posting By Shifra Shomron - Staple Your Flag To The Caravilla!
"Oh, we’ll rally round the flag boys
we’ll rally once again
shouting the battle cry of freedom…"
(The Battle Cry of Freedom, by George Frederick Root)
Independence day, 5768, I decided to take a walk round the Nitzan Caravilla site, current home to 500 families of Gush Katif refugees (including mine). Many a blue and white flag adorned the neighborhoods of expellees from the agricultural communities of Gadid and Gan-Or; blue and white streamers decorated their cul-de-sacs, blue and white flags were stapled onto their Caravillas or were hoisted on high, blue and white flags and stickers were fastened to the cars… God bless their happy patriotic spirit!
I next reached the large section of Neve Dekalim (the previous regional center of Gush Katif where the residents were independent and not communal). This section is the present temporary home of a community of visible cognitive dissidence; each family decided for itself where they stood in relation to the State. I'm sad to say that the flags were far and few between. In most cul-de-sacs, but most emphatically not in all, there were a few families who saved the day by putting up a blue and white flag. Other households made sure to attach orange streamers to their flag. And among some of the die-hard who with stern faces angrily chant "we will not forgive, we will not forget" the flag was conspicuous only by its absence.
After walking around the various religious sections, I then walked around the largely secular Nissanit section. The community of Nissanit was the first to arrive at the Nitzan Caravilla site due to the implementation of the Disengagement Plan, and they are one of the few Gush Katif communities with nearly all their families gathered in one location. During their first year in the Caravillas they were very busy with home-improvements. But now, in the third year after Disengagement, compensation money is running low, their future permanent homes are still lurking far out of sight and morale is sinking. One Nissanit woman told me that in the first year she put up a flag – but this year? No way! The Nissanit section had more flags than the Neve Dekalim section but less than Gadid or Gan-Or. Several families were quite artistic and decorated their exterior Caravilla walls by stapling the number 60, a star-of-David, a dove and flowers. Only one cul-de-sac in the Nissanit section had nary a flag to grace it.
What did my family do? Being from Neve Dekalim, whatever we chose to do would be an ideological statement and not part of just going along with a community decision. Well, we hoisted a very large and bonnie blue-and-white flag in our backyard facing the main access road. As my father said, the Hareidi won't put one up; less and less of the secular are putting one up; so if we, the religious-Zionist don't – who will? However, if we could find an orange streamer lying around it would be added.
We love this land, we honor its flag and we proudly serve in our army. True, the Israeli government is absolutely rotten – and we fervently hope and pray to change that one day.
Shifra Shomron (21) is a former Gush Katif resident-expellee and the author of Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (Mazo Publishers, 2007).
Travel beyond time and beyond location - into my Gush Katif
Visit Shifra's website: www.geocities.com/nevedekalim