History

History


On 11.10.70 Jews first resettled Kfar Darom as a semi-military encampment. This was the beginning of the return of the Jewish presence in the Gaza Strip and it was viewed as an act of historical justice. Kfar Darom had first been established on the 11th of Tishrei 1946 as one of the 11 points in the Negev on land purchased from orchard owner Toviah Miller who didn't succeed in founding a Jewish community in the place. In the war of Independence the Egyptian army began its attempt to conquer Israel through the Gaza Strip. They found that it stuck in their throat. Only following the Israeli military command's orders did the residents of Kfar Darom evacuate their community.


The increase of Arab terror in the 70s led to an increase in Jewish communities as a Zionist response. The idea was to break the continuum of hundreds of thousands of Arabs by Jewish communities. This concept was likened to placing five Jewish fingers into the Gaza Strip that would connect its territory to the rest of Israel:


Finger 1: the communities in the northern Gaza Strip (where Eli Sinai and Nisanit were eventually built) were meant to continue the Jewish presence south of Ashkelon until the suburbs of Beit Hanun and Gaza.


Finger 2: Abu Median area (Netzarim). Originally three communities were planned. It was meant to separate Gaza and Dir-El-Balakh.


Finger 3: a group of communities meant to separate between Dir-El-Balakh and Khan Yunis (these include Katif, Netzer Hazani, Ganei Tal, and Kfar Darom).


Finger 4: a group of communities meant to separate Khan Yunis and Rafiah (these included Gan Or, Gadid, Bdolach, Atzmona, Morag, Pe'et Sadeh, and Rafiah Yam).


Exactly in the middle between both of these large groups of community blocs was established, following the Sinai expulsion, a large central community called Neve Dekalim. This community united the community blocs into one large bloc, Gush Katif.


Finger 5 was Rafiah which was meant to create a border between the Gaza Strip and the Northern Sinai.


On Purim29.2.72 Netzarim was established, on the 30.5.72 Morag and on the 29.5.73 Katif (later named Netzer Hazani). They were all semi-military at first and became civilian communities later.


Very few believed these communities had a chance of succeeding. Aryeh Yudfroind OBM of the Poel Mizrachi went so far as to say that the palms of his hands would grow hair before anything grew in that sandy soil.


At the ceremony on February 10, 1977 in which the Katif outpost was demilitarized and became a civilian community called Netzer Hazani, Prime Minister Rabin took part and said: "This is a great day for the state and for communities, a day that symbolizes our hold on this area, that since the six-day-war has become an inseparable part of the state and its security."  After the ceremony, Rabin put up the first mezuza on one of the houses, together with the son of the deceased minister Hazani.


Following the uprooting of the Yamit region there was a huge building surge in the Gaza Strip. In January 1983 was the ceremony announcing the new community of Neve Dekalim –including the laying down of a cornerstone for the elementary school. The community of Eli Sinai was established in the Northern Gaza Strip by expellees. Uprooted residents of Atzmona established Bnei Atzmon.


In December 1987 the Frist Intifada began and life changed dramatically for the residents of Gush Katif. New difficulties became part of the daily routine. Every morning the regional council had to decide whether to send the children to school and risk their lives by the stone-throwing-Arabs on the roads. The most difficult issue to face was absorption: who would come and dwell in a place that's only in the headlines because of negative aspects such as stone throwing, firebombs, and violence and wounded? That was the main struggle. The only comfort was that of continuing to build. In the summer of 1988 the first 20 families moved to the permanent structures of Eli Sinai after living in caravans for six years. On that day there was also a dedication ceremony for a new neighborhood in Neve Dekalim. On Sukkot October 1989 was the third ceremony marking Kfar Darom becoming a civilian place of residence.


The Rabin government brought the Oslo accords to the world and prevented the founding of new communities. But it was the Oslo War that burst afterwards that helped bring about new communities. The neighborhood of Shirat HaYam – an offshoot of Neve Dekalim was founded after the terrorist bombing of the Kfar Darom's children's school bus. It was established within old Egyptian structures on the beach that had previously served as vacation houses for Egyptian officers. The community of Slav was established as well as new neighborhood in Atzmona called "Kerem Atzmona". Additionally, the territory of Kfar Darom was increased. In the southern neighborhood of Kfar Darom were 8 duplexes. These houses were built along the old railway that connected between Ashkelon and Rafiah and Egypt. From 2000 until 2003 there was a 10% population increase. In 2004 there was an 11% population increase in the amount of residents; the largest increase percentage-wise anywhere in the land.
In 2004 there lived in 21 communities in the Gaza Strip 8,693 residents versus 7,820 in 2003.