‘Excitement and shock’: IDF soldier finds family memento from former home in Gaza Strip

‘I cried with excitement… each of us has a picture with this sign.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

An IDF officer in Gaza discovered a wooden sign with a family name on it belonging to an Israeli soldier whose family was forced to leave the area 19 years ago during disengagement, as reported by Ynet.

The sign said “Yarhi Family” and the officer asked a friend he knew who also grew up in the region.

They found the rightful owners, Amiel Yarhi who along with his brother is fighting in Gaza not far from the place his family used to live before the government ordered them to leave along with the almost 8,000 other Jews in the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Amiel Yarhi said, “I cried with excitement, it was a powerful moment of reflection. Each of us has a picture with this sign.”

The sign is being sent back to the Yarhi family who at first couldn’t believe that the sign was still in the Gaza Strip after all of these years.

Amiel Yarhi, who is 27, was only eight years old when his family were forced to leave their home in Netzarim.

“I cried with excitement and was in shock. It was almost unreal.”

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“I hadn’t seen this sign for almost 19 years, and it took me a moment to process. It’s a throwback to a home that we loved very much.”

Amiel described the complex emotions of fighting so close to the area where he spent his early childhood.

“We left Gush Katif, and now I have come here to fight. There is a feeling of homecoming to the place where you grew up. I had a fantasy or hope to come in and maybe identify that there was something here.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid admitted early in January that Israel’s 2005 policy of disengagement that displaced 8,000 Israelis from the Gaza Strip and left the area open for Hamas to eventually take over was a mistake.

Lapid said, “Today there is no debate, the Disengagement should not have been done without reaching some kind of agreement.