We know we belong to the land…

Tonight my husband and I went to Modi’in’s Cultural Center where a visiting troupe was performing the musical “Oklahoma.” We actually had seen “Oklahoma” a few times before. Both of us had seen the film when we were young. We saw it on Broadway in the early years of our marriage. We saw it again when we were living in Oklahoma. Each time we enjoyed it, and seeing it while living in Oklahoma was particularly fun.

But tonight’s performance was amazing. The troupe consisted of old and new olim from many different countries as well as native born Israelis. The lead, “Curly”, was a student from the US currently studying in Israel. The singing and dancing were wonderful and the acting was terrific.

During the intermission we spoke to the couple sitting to our left. They were friendly and nice, She asked where we lived and I said -in Modi’in. I asked where they were from and she said “Gush Katif”- currently living in a “caravilla”.

For those who don’t know, Gush Katif was one of the Jewish communities in Gaza that was brutally evacuated by the Israeli police and Army and razed to the ground in order to guarantee peace with our Arab neighbors. The inhabitants of these communities had begun living there over 30 years before, encouraged by the Israeli government to develop the area and to make it beautiful. And they did. We visited Gush Katif in 1994 and it was beautiful. They had made gardens and greenhouses, had friendly relations with the Arabs in their area, and were living peaceful, happy lives. When the Army evacuated the residents of each of the 17 Jewish communities, they carried men and women and children screaming and crying from their homes and within days the homes were rubble while the people were dumped into hotels and temporary dwellings. Subsequently, the Arabs burned down and destroyed all of the synagogues. The evacuees were promised quick resettlement which some received, to “caravillot” – a contraction of “caravan”, the Israeli term for trailer/mobile home and villa/ot, the Israeli term for a private home that only people with means can afford. The name was just as cruel and ironic as the rest of the evacuation. Almost 4 years later, these people are still living temporarily in these tiny trailers. Many of the farmers who used to export large quantities of food products to Europe and around the world are still out of work. It is an ongoing tragedy.

And tonight, there I sat next to two people who I later found out have been articulate spokespeople on behalf of the former residents of the Gaza communities and together we listened to the people on stage singing out with their whole hearts “we know we belong to the land…”

We do. It is ours. And all we want to do is to continue to live our lives here at peace with our neighbors. May that day come soon.

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Comments

  1. yeah, it was cool seeing Oklahoma with all them hick Oklahomans performing at the Cabaret Supper Thee-eight-er.

    Of course, Oklahoma completely ignores all the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache who were displaced and should be given their land back immediately!

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