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Nezer Hazani, GAZA – Until yesterday, it was an unoccupied sandy lot. By late last night, dozens of teenagers transformed it into a nearly complete neighborhood. Welcome to the new dormitories of Jewish Gaza.
With their communities slated for evacuation Aug. 17, the kids of Nezer Hazani, a mid-sized farming community within the Jewish neighborhoods of Gaza, yesterday began building nearly 30 new structures to serve as dormitories for the scores of students flocking to the area in solidarity with the residents here.
Teenage boys in Jewish Gaza building dorms. Photo: WND.
Early yesterday morning, a construction truck poured 24 square slabs of cement on an empty plot of land at the Nezer Hazani entrance that had been earmarked this week for student housing. Teenage volunteers from the community came out and worked for several hours flattening wet cement and fashioning a stone road from a grassy hill that will lead to the housing project.
When the cement began to dry, boys hammered slabs of wood onto each structure to serve as the founding walls for the new dorms, while girls removed the sticks and plastic wrapping that had been used to mold the cement.
“We’ll be finished within three days. By the end of the week, about 50 new students will be able to move in,” said Mayaan Yadai, a Croatian Jewish immigrant living in Nezer Hazani who spearheaded the dormitory project.
Yadai said hundreds of students from dozens of religious schools in Jerusalem, including the prestigious, mostly American HaKotel Yeshiva, have asked to move to Jewish Gaza in a show of support for its residents. The students will study in yeshivas within the Hazani community, which boasts several religious institutions and a large central synagogue.
“The students coming aren’t activists. They aren’t troublemakers. These are good kids who just want to be here because they think the evacuation is wrong,” said Yadai.
With protesters from across Israel moving to Gaza the past few weeks in hopes of halting next month’s withdrawal, there is currently a shortage of housing in all communities here. Many newcomers here have been living in tents pitched on the beach and even in the backyards of current residents.
“We didn’t want the students to have to sleep on the streets, so we’re building them what we can,” explained Aviel Tucker, the housing manager of Nezer Hazani.
Each dormitory structure, about 20 feet by 20 feet, will house two students.
The units will provide shelter from the sun, but not much else. Bathrooms and running water are located in a nearby facility.
“The structures will have beds and closets. We’ll see later about running water; right now it’s not feasible,” said Tucker.
But the students had better hurry here. Anti-withdrawal activists recently announced a march to the area that is likely to result in the early closure of the Gaza Strip next week.
The Yesha Settlers Council said it will lead a massive protest march Monday to bring tens of thousands to “aid our brave brothers” in Gaza and “halt the disengagement plan.”
Girls molding cement for dorms. Photo: WND.
According to the Yesha Council, “A huge operation will be launched [Monday], aimed at delaying the [evacuation] plan by transferring many people to Gush Katif (the main area of Gaza’s Jewish communities). Starting in the morning, convoys will depart from all cities and all towns across the country. After convening in the afternoon, the people will set out in convoys to the Gush. Wherever police officers decide to stop the vehicles, we will start walking.
“The aim is to reach the Gush Katif settlements within two or three days and populate the settlements with hundreds of additional families. Reaching the Gush and the rate of progress depend on the responses of the authorities. Even if military and police forces try to prevent the advance of the protesters, they will continue to advance on foot until they join our besieged brothers in the Gush,” the council said in a statement.
Military sources told WND the protest will force the army to close Gaza shortly.
“We will not allow any of these protesters into Gaza. It will be closed before Monday. Probably permanently,” said a senior military source.
The source would not say whether Gaza would be closed before the weekend or on Sunday.
Still, Yadai said the dormitory project will go on:
“There is a need. Students will be here. If we build it, they will come.”
Editor’s note: “ISRAEL BETRAYED?” – the July issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine – is devoted entirely to an in-depth exploration of the controversial forced removal of thousands of Jewish residents from Gaza planned for August, and the likely creation of a Hamas-run terror state many believe will follow. Read more about “ISRAEL BETRAYED?”