This article first appeared in the summer of 2006.
This is an interview with a very special girl. Her name is Lia Cohen. Last summer (2005), unfortunately, she was evacuated from her home, in Gush Katif in Israel. Interviewing Lia was a very inspiring experience. The way she spoke showed how she really believes in Hashem, despite all the hardships.
Where did you live before the evacuation? What was special about it?
Where did you live right after the evacuation? What did you think of it?
I lived in the Shalom Hotel. I did not like it at all because it was small, closed quarters, and not private at all. I really miss my old home and Gush Katif.
Where are you living now? How does it compare to your old home?
I live in Amatzia, which is near Kiryat Gat. Amatzia does not compare to Neve Dekalim because I’m not living with all the people from my old community; the ones I grew up with. I miss them very much.
What main things do you remember from Gush Katif?
I remember the clean, blue ocean. I remember all the people that were at my house the Shabbos before the evacuation. It was very sad, but it was also an uplifting experience.
What memories do you have from Gush Katif?
I’ll always remember Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), last year. Many Jews were at the gush, celebrating and rejoicing over our land. It was very nice to see how so many people think about us and are there when we need them.
How do you keep in touch with your friends?
I keep in touch with every friend. It is a bit hard since everyone lives far away from each other. I call them, visit them, and sometimes they visit me.
Where do you go to school now?
My old school moved too, so everything is the same, besides for the building and some girls that are learning in other places.
How do you react when you hear the word ‘evacuation’?
I remember the day I was taken out of my home, the day thousands of families lost their homes. I must say that uprooting the graves was a horrifying and sad event. Especially because many of these graves belonged to friends that were murdered in cold blood by the Palestinian terrorists.
Can you please tell us a bit about your family?
We are nine children. First there is Chananel, then there are twin girls- Liron and Yikrat, Ori, me- Lia, Aviel, and triplet girls- Shir, Hallel and Hodaya. Baruch Hashem, before Pesach, Yikrat got married. The wedding was beautiful, happy and fun. It gave us a sense of rebuilding- which of course was a great feeling.
What do you want to say to your fellow Jews living out of Israel?
I could only ask them to come to Israel and help us fight for our land. I would also like to thank them in the name of all the Gush Katif residents for all the help they provided.