The Truth in Statistics1
A Jerusalem Post article headline from just one year ago, reported,
“Gov’t: 75% of Gaza Evacuees Have Jobs”.2
At the time it was wishful thinking but was more likely a cover-up for the
One year later, one of the former Gush Katif farmers’ reactions remains the
A drop of simple kindness and morality needs to be added to the official
equations when it comes to creating figures for the next government
“statistical” report. People out there are suffering!
The government statistics brought out in the article that appeared one year ago
in The Jerusalem Post, quote figures that were (and remain) very far
indeed from reality.
Visiting the temporary sites and learning the individual stories can help reveal
the on site truth to all who care to make such visits.
There are many former employees of the Hof Aza Regional Council who were put out
of work on pensions of approximately 1,200 NIS a month and at the ages of over
40 and 50, cannot find other jobs.
“Statistically”, they are apparently not considered “unemployed” as they are
receiving a pension.
Farmers who are not working may not, according to these “statistics”, be
unemployed because they were not previously employed but business owners.
Farmers, like myself, who have reached the appropriate age (61 for women) and
have, since the expulsion, begun to receive National Security “old age
insurance” are also not included in the “statistics”. In Gush Katif, I might
have managed my farm for many more years.
Farmers who received land as compensation, and are now considered self-employed,
are also going further into debt because the government did not bother checking
whether the land they were given was appropriate for intensive agriculture, as
in the case of Kibbutz Zikim (whose main enterprises are mango, avocado and
dairy farming and a polyurethane factory). They too are, of course, not
in the “statistics”.
There are farmers who were to receive land for compensation, but the
transactions are still on paper and, in fact, the government has not yet bought
the land for them (with the compensation money they are holding) and therefore
they, as yet, are not working nor do they have an income; but they too, of
course, are not in these “statistics”.
All those who have “no rights” according to the compensation law, although they
were born, married and had children in Gush Katif and had never left the
community until the expulsion, may not be in these statistics, as they are not
included in any of these “statistics”.
Anyone who is enrolled in a vocational retraining course is also most likely not
included in these “statistics”. This, in spite of the fact that limited numbers
of those who have completed these courses have since found employment.
Many of the people are now employed in half- or quarter-time positions, although
prior to the expulsion they held full-time jobs. This is especially true of many
who were employed in institutions which had to keep them employed. Since they
are, in many cases, now living in other geographical areas, they were forced to
move to a different branch of their companies and were given fewer hours to
work, according to what was available. These people are certainly not included
in the “statistics”.
Many teachers, aged 45 years-old or over, found they could no longer teach after
the trauma of “disengagement”. They received an early pension, and now have an
income equal to the salary of one position, though previously they worked 2.5
positions, thereby earning 2.5 as much as they are now with their pensions and
consequently cannot support their children. They are also not included in these
“statistics” but are desperate to find work and rebuild their lives and
All the young people, who finished their higher education and/or their army
service since the expulsion, and who normally would have been absorbed into
their parents’ farming or other businesses in Gush Katif, are now unemployed and
they too, are not included in these “statistics”. Their trauma and their
family’s temporary situation make it more difficult for them to find work.
There are endless more examples to prove that the “statistics” reported by the
government have no basis in reality.
Reporting these “statistics” is typical of the existing situation where our
government bureaucrats are required to provide excellent excuses for everything,
yet are given no tools for timed solutions to the real and very painful problems
that the poorly planned expulsion created.
The figures in the article do not tell how the funds budgeted for the regional
councils for absorption expenses have been worked out. They do not tell what the
real costs of absorption were, or what the costs of surviving in these
circumstances are. They do not tell that the budget for the interim communities,
which is to be distributed via the regional councils, has been drastically cut
even though the costs have risen. Some of the intensive professional costs
involved in preparations for the new towns are not budgeted and fall on those
whose homes and towns were destroyed to a pile of rubble, with the small help in
donations the organizations involved are able to raise from individuals.
The funds appropriated for 2006 and 2007 for planning new towns have been used
immediately and the towns are planned and approved but the government is
avoiding signing contracts with appropriate funds to enable building anew what
Endless excuses and explanations are provided by our government’s bureaucrats.
An exact timetable with appropriate funding is needed to ensure that every
family will have a place.
Today the Prime Minister’s legal advisors have become experts on digging up old
dormant limiting laws that they suddenly want to enforce, starting with some of
the Gush Katif expellees thus robbing many families of their land. The letter of
the law might be followed, but justice certainly will not be done.
A drop of simple kindness and morality needs to be added to their equations in
providing figures for the next government “statistical” report. People are
1 This article was originally
written a year ago, on 18 Tevet 5767 / January 8, 2007. The facts, and the
situation of those expelled from their homes, unfortunately, haven’t changed.
2 Tovah Lazaroff, “Gov't: ‘75% of
Gaza evacuees have jobs’”, The Jerusalem Post, January 8, 2007.