ABOUT ALIZA AND BANISHED
Rosh Hashana in the fall of 2000, Neve Dekalim was under attack. Everyone was told to leave their place of worship. Women and children were to stay home and the men were to report at a specified place… with their rifles.
That was the beginning of constantly increasing attacks in Gush Katif and other Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip.
I read about the attacks on Gush Katif in the section of Breaking News on israelnationalnews.com. I noticed that it was not uncommon for there to be five or six attacks in one day. I also noticed that damage was relatively light, and injury was even lighter.
I decided I wanted to go to visit this land of miracles. I made arrangements and was shown around by the heads of the communities. If it had been the next year, after the Disengagement was announced, I would have been another face in the crowd. But in the spring of 2003, I was the only tourist. The terror attacks frightened the usual tourists away and the anti-Disengagement supporters of Gush Katif had not yet found out about their mission.
I began to write Opinion articles, published and posted in various Jewish media outlets, about Gush Katif, and later, when it was relevant, about the Disengagement. Through my writing, I began to cherish Gush Katif and to develop a connection to the people who lived there.
My attitude about the Disengagement was that it was not really going to happen… but if we did not fight it… it just might. I became an activist in many ways that went beyond my writing. I hosted visiting activists and helped with fund raising. I assisted in the organization and PR for a number of rallies in the New York area, where I would always arrange for part of the program to include children taking the stage, and leading the crowd in reciting verses of Torah.
It was half a year after the Disengagement when I began to write BANISHED. When I started I did not realize the scope of the project. I thought I was already an expert in many levels of the Disengagement, but the deeper I got, the more I saw there was to learn. At the back of BANISHED I have three pages of acknowledgments. People who helped me with information, accommodations and encouragement.
Most of BANISHED is an adaption of true stories. The characters are from my imagination. The events either did happen or could have happened. Many are based real occurrences and adapted to fit into the story.
BANISHED is a book that will educate people about the importance of understanding the Disengagement, with the determination that we have to stop it from happening again.