As the summer weather heats up, I slow down.
Sipping an ice coffee while walking
has become a routine.
It seems I am not alone, this man who
walked into my new graffiti photo had a drink in hand too.
It took me a couple of weeks to get to Yoel Salomon Street
to see the Jerusalem, Israel streets’ hottest summer display,
dozens of colorful umbrellas strung above the narrow lane.
There used to be so many used book stores lining the streets,
but another book store is closing,
and these signs were plastered announcing the sales.
At least on the other side of the street there are happier signs
of summer children’s programs at Beit Avi Chai.
Summer festivals will be starting soon,
and posters are up for summer events
in Kikar Safra, Government Square.
But this week leading up to Tisha B’Av
is also ten years since the end of Gush Katif.
I wrote about a visit to the new Netzer Hazani four years ago.
Since that time,
beautiful communities like in this poster,
are now remembered in Gush Katif Museum in Nitzan.
In the courtyard the wonderful sand is displayed.
Moving boxes are used as seats for a video in the museum.
The army was organized and provided everyone boxes
to pack up their lives and leave their homes,
then every last one was knocked down
and every last Jew left the Gaza Strip.
All was not ideal in Gush Katif.
Yaakov Gross keeps a Gazan rocket
that fell into his house in Gush Katif
in his still temporary store.
But after leaving Gush Katif, what have we gotten in return?
The government promised peace,
and instead we got ten thousand rockets
and Israelis have suffered through three wars.
In southern Israel,
an outdoor meeting place has to have a safe area
five seconds away.
And who can forget
last summer as millions of Israelis had to run to bomb shelters.
Some in the south had to huddle in cement pipes
as protection from hundreds of Hamas rockets
that were fired at Israeli citizens day and night.
People are slowly rebuilding.
After ten years
some families have nice homes,
while some are still in temporary living conditions.
One garden stood out in the neighborhood,
newly rebuilt in the sand.
The names of the destroyed towns are listed,
and the pain and division of the nation
are symbolized in this monument.
Tens years on that summer still makes no sense.
Hopefully you will remember,
as there are those who are trying to erase history,
and the Jewish connection to this land.