By Katy Sorsher Smith
I wasn’t in Israel in August of 2005, when on the 10 of Av, one day after what is considered the saddest day throughout Jewish history, the disengagement from Gaza began. I didn’t experience emotions and I didn’t weep with thousands of Jews who were uprooted from their beautiful homes for the sake of peace in the Middle East.
My weeping and mourning came some time later, when I watched the accounts on the internet, and heard the personal stories, watched the footage, listened to prayers and cries of Jews whose only desire was to remain in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – a desire denied to them.
As Israeli radio and TV channels go back to their archives in the last few days, those emotions and sadness are floating back, and I can’t help but try to hold back the tears . I’m not really succeeding, and once again I cry with those who cried in anguish ten years ago.
Some families left Gaza strip “willingly” – without resisting. Others were evacuated kicking and screaming. The biggest imprint in my memory from those days is seeing soldiers hugging the Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip, crying together, and trying to find some words of comfort for one another, just to make it all look better.
In my 37 years of living I have witnessed a lot of tragedies and disasters on our planet – wars, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorism, hurricanes, and tornados. But among all these, the disengagement from Gaza stands out above all the rest.
Wars and terror acts begin and end (providing you identify your enemy and do everything possible to eliminate it). Natural disasters pass and the damage they cause is repaired. But we are still reaping the consequences of leaving Gaza… and we will continue reaping them for a long time to come.
When I was in high school, anticipating being drafted into the IDF, my greatest desire was to have peace with our Muslim neighbors. In my mind, no concession was too high a price to pay if we could be safe and live without worries in our land.
These dreams started shattering when buses began exploding in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and cities across Israel. I remember sitting for hours glued to the TV after terror acts… watching the horrific pictures that were looping over and over on the screen… hoping for the death toll to stop rising…
As time flew by, the innocent dreams of living side by side with Palestinians were replaced by the sober understanding that peace requires two sides who want it. I wanted it. Muslims didn’t.
By the time of the disengagement I was already a believer, and knew that peace will only come when Yeshua returns. I knew exactly what leaving Gaza would mean for the Jewish nation. I was against it from both the Biblical and non-religious points of view.
And here we are today… For the past ten years we have witnessed everything promised by those who opposed the disengagement happen. What Israelis built with love and cared for has been destroyed. Land that once produced the best fruits, vegetables and flowers is now used as launch sites for tens of thousands of rockets that have rained on Israeli citizens since August of 2005. Hamas has taken over the innocent Gazans, and is now using them as human shields, ruling by fear and force. Israel has had three operations against Hamas terrorists in Gaza – the last one just a year ago.
Was it worth it? Are we being punished by God for the sins of our people? There are so many questions no one can answer right now.
My only hope is the Lord. He has the answers. He has the power. He has the solution.
While the pictures and sounds of the disengagement will remain in my mind for as long as I live… while I will continue crying again and again as I am reminded of these days each year… I take comfort that God has promised to wipe off every tear… to turn for good all that the enemy meant for evil… that one day, all this land will be ours, and there will be no more pain… no more sorrow… and our mourning will turn into dancing…
May that day come soon.
Here are some heart-piercing videos about the disengagement…
And here is a special documentary in two parts…