Mevo Modi’im displaced residents demand compensation

The residents of the moshav, most of who are still living in temporary housing, say that the fire was an act of arson, but the government is reluctant to recognize it as such.

Moshav Mevo Modi'im protesters (photo credit: BRACHIE SPRUNG)
Moshav Mevo Modi'im protesters
(photo credit: BRACHIE SPRUNG)
Residents and friends of Mevo Modi’im, a pastoral moshav near the city of Modi’in that was severely damaged by fire on May 23, staged a musical protest demonstration near the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.
The residents of the moshav, most of whom are still living in a hotel or in some other form of temporary housing, say that the fire was an act of arson, but the government has been reluctant to recognize it as such and so far has provided minimal help toward reconstruction.
The victims of the fire say that without government assistance, resources for the rebuilding of the moshav may never be allocated.
Brachi Sprung, 36, who was born and raised on the moshav, said that there are currently 64 families comprising the 223 people who are displaced, and they cannot understand why the police have closed the file on arson. Nor can they understand why the government hasn’t come up with comprehensive solution to their problems.
Hannah Stein, who also grew up on the moshav, is living with her family and others from the moshav on Kibbutz Hafetz Haim. She has four children age from one to nine, all of whom are suffering anxiety syndromes, she said.
“They are confused. They don’t where they are and they stick closer to their parents than ever before.”
When asked “Where do you live?”, they answer: “Nowhere.”
“I want keep giving them hope that one day we will go home,” she said.
Members of the Schwartz, Naftaly, Richman, Kasher, Golomb, Gilmore, Shapiro and Solomon families held up placards with photographs of life as it used to be for them. One man held up a placard that read: Homeless in our Home.
Other placards held up by children had a slogan typed in large black letters: “Cast me not off in a time of fire.”
Pasted around in smaller red letters were attributes of the moshav’s residents: Served in the IDF, did National Service; serve in the Reserves; pay taxes, Zionists, Love Israel.
There were cries from the crowd: “Bibi, we are your people. We are loyal citizens. Help us go home. Don’t do to us what was done to the people of Gush Katif. We beg you to help us go home. We want to sleep in our own beds in our own homes. Give us the compensation we need.”
Among those who attended the protest were soul singers Yehuda Katz and Chaim Dovid Saracik. While the two do not live on Mevo Modi’im, they were frequent visitors there and often performed with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach – who founded the moshav in 1975 – in Israel and on his tours abroad.
Moshav veteran Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman said the demonstration was the first of many in an effort to raise consciousness, anad that he was very grateful to the friends who came to show their support. These people had been to the moshav for various joyful events, and now in a time of need, they continue to stand and sing with the residents of the moshav, who concluded their demonstration by singing the Carlebach melody Am Israel Hai (the People of Israel Lives).