Israelis Expelled from Gaza in 2005 Make the Parched Land Bloom with Etrog Trees

October 1, 2014 | Debra Kamin
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Nine years after the Gaza disengagement, about a third of the Jews forced to leave Gush Katif are still living nearby, often in temporary housing. Many are in the Negev community of Halutza, where they have built farms and planted orchards. Among other crops, they are growing citrons (etrogim), traditionally used in the rituals of the holiday of Sukot. Although they lost much of their crop this year to rocket attacks from Gaza, they have not lost hope.

“We believe in something. We have a mission,” [one resident] says. “We are building the tate of Israel. Now it’s the Negev. It’s the biggest national mission today, more than any other part of the country. And we don’t see the obstacles. We just see the target in front of our eyes.”

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