Formerly Homeless Terror Orphan Begs: Don’t Destroy My Home in Givat HaUlpana
Didi Dickstein was only 15 when his parents and brother were murdered by terrorists in 2002, leaving him a homeless orphan. His home in Givat HaUlpana is the only home he and his siblings have in the world, and now that too is scheduled for destruction at the end of this month. Watch Didi’s moving story…
Didi Dickstein: 15. For years I would wander around with a big backpack. I didn’t have a home. From the age of 15 until I married. And when I got married and moved to Givat HaUlpana, that was the end of being homeless…
We arrived at this home. And suddenly you, you have a home. A place. And consistency. And in your heart you feel stable. And now, all of this talk about moving has awakened memories…
Today, the State of Israel is requesting to expell Didi Dickstein from his home in Givat HaUlpana in Beit El. Along with many other families that live there, they fear that this evacuation of 5 homes is just the beginning…
Didi: It’s a very difficult feeling. To first of all see a flowering and thriving neighborhood. And our home, the home and neighborhood where our daughters were born. And since we got married, we have lived here. To think that this neighborhood is going to be destroyed, to be turned into a ruin.
The truth is that as I’m fighting this battle to save Givat HaUlpana, I’m also organizing the 10 year memorial for my parents and brother.
Didi’s wife remember’s Didi’s father z”l: Saba Yossi, that is what we would call him at home. He was a happy man. Alive.
Didi: My Abba had a way of singing…Sometimes it was embarrassing for us. It wasn’t so fun for us, for example, to have to make a big dancing circle in the middle of the Western Wall Plaza [laughs].
And every Thursday, we had this tradition…We would wash the floors, all the children together. The problem is that in a 4-room apartment it’s impossible for everyone to move all at once. But we had 10 mops, and every single child would mop, and one would move the water this way, and the other would push the water in the opposite direction. In the end, we would all stand outside on the porch, and each of us would receive a popsicle, that was a part of the tradition, and my father would mop up after us.
But that was our thing, we would do everything all together.
After an hour, everyone was happy, and the house was clean.
My mother had great faith in each and every one of us. She gave us that feeling, and she would give us big responsibilities. I remember when my family moved to Psagot from Jerusalem, and I was 13 or 14 when the house was being built, and Eema would take us to choose the color of the flooring. And we chose everything together, for my room, for everything,truly…
My father would take me to meetings with the contractors, and we decided things together, like what kind of heating we would have,
as though…yes, this is going to be your house too, and you are our partners.
Now, as an adult, I understand how surreal that was, what did we children understand? We didn’t understand what things cost or what were the consequences of our decisions…
But it didn’t matter, they made us partners in everything, and would run
around with us to choose the marble counters for the kitchen, and to choose the kitchen itself, and everything.
They had great faith in us, and gave us the feeling that we could
initiate and affect others and take responsibility.
At the time of the murder, my brother Shuvel Tsion z”l was 9. Sweet and small, that’s how he’s remained in our memories. He was a child who had many close friends. He had a very developed imagination, he would tell fantastic stories to our younger siblings.
I spoke with my parents that Friday, twice with my mother. And I wished my mother a “Shabbat Shalom,” and then I turned off my cellphone. And 15 minutes after that was the terror attack. My parents were driving in South Mt. Hevron, to a Shabbat with friends in
Maon. And at the Zif junction, a group of terrorists was waiting…
Over the past few months, it’s been very stressful at times. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and you dream that you see soldiers jumping in through the windows, and what’s going to happen? Or somebody comes into your home without knocking, and you
It’s not a terrible thing that 30 families are going to be thrown out of their homes?
And still, in my heart of hearts, I believed it wouldn’t happen….
Interviewer: Do you believe that they are really going to build you new homes if they destroy Givat HaUlpana?
Didi: No. The “caravilot” (large caravans) that they promised us are exactly what they promised the evacuees from Gush Katif 7 years ago! And the Gush Katif evacuees have never received their caravilot, or permanent housing. So we know what all these promises are worth.
This neighborhood was built with the encouragement of the government, the government invested in the infrastructure here and even provided grants to all of the families who agreed to buy homes here 12 years ago.
Our home in Givat HaUlpana is the only real home my siblings have had
since our parents were murdered.
My siblings spend many family Shabbats here. We made the Shabbat before my brother’s wedding here. We were happy that there was a big brother who could finally host everyone.