Some Gaza Settlers to Don WWII Death Camp Uniforms for Pullout

Elei Sinai official: Most settlers oppose the move; Lapid slams media coverage of Holocaust comparison.

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Some residents of the northern Gaza settlement of Elei Sinai said Thursday they planned to wear Nazi concentration camp prisoner uniforms when security forces evacuate them from their homes during the disengagement.

The striped uniforms, which were to include yellow Stars of David with the word "Jude" sewn on to the lapels, have already arrived.

The secretary of the Elei Sinai settlement, Yaniv Ben Hagai, condemned the move, the latest in a series of comparisons settlers have made between the disengagement and the Holocaust. Ben Hagai said most of the 400 Elei Sinai residents oppose the idea.

"This is the silly stupidity of one, maybe two residents. It does not represent anybody. This is sheer ignorance," Ben Hagai told Israel Radio in an emotional interview. "We are going through a great crisis. This crisis does not resemble the Holocaust or anything else."

The Elei Sinai secretariat decided Thursday to dismiss the settlement's youth coordinator, Zuri Genish because of his plan to wear the uniform.

But protest organizers are hoping to see many settlers join them, Itzik Gabai, one of those spearheading the protest, told Army Radio.

"I can't find any difference between what is happening to us now and what happened then [during the Holocaust]," said Gabai.

He said the government has not offered any housing solutions for the settlers, except temporary campsites.

"The Sela [Disengagement Administration] directors have come out with different announcements that there is a solution for every settler," said Gabai. "I don't see any solution - they haven't provided any solution."

The protest, like the controversial comparisons to preceed it, has drawn widespread condemnation. Settlers have previously adopted orange Star of David badges and inked their identity numbers on their arms, in simulation of the numbers Nazis tattooed on concentration camp inmates' arms.

"It's awful and disgusting, and needless to say, has no historical basis," said Dr. Motti Shalem, who directs the International School for Holocaust Studies at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. "With all due respect to their evacuation, they are not being sent to death camps."

Opposition leader Yosef Lapid (Shinui) called the protest an "unjust concept," and criticized local media for covering the issue.

"We have to ask whether everyone who's crazy for publicity deserves publicity," said Lapid, a Holocaust survivor.

However, National Union MK Zvi Hendel, who lives in the Gaza settlement of Ganei Tal, refused to condemn the use of Holocaust comparisons.

Responding to repeated questions about the validity of such comparisons, Hendel criticized only the disengagement, telling Israel Radio: "I condemn all those who participate in this destructive process... It's audacious that they humiliate an entire populace."



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