Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Rocket-Ravaged Israelis Seek Return to Normal Life

November 12, 2012 4:04 pm 1 comment

The Eshkol Regional High School built with thick concrete slabs against rocket attacks, with view towards Gaza. Photo: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency.

It was a daunting, dismal weekend for Israel’s south, particularly for Israelis living in communities bordering the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Along with the rain, over 110 Gaza rockets struck the south, wounding four Israelis and sending countless others into shock and trauma, while damaging homes, businesses and vehicles.

Beginning Saturday night and continuing onto Monday morning, Gaza rockets have been pounding Israel’s south with the Iron Dome system intercepting those headed towards Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva. On Monday morning, three Netivot houses were hit by a Gaza rocket explosion, which left 10 people in shock and heavy damage.

“I stood in my family’s bomb shelter on our kibbutz today during a siren warning and watched these two people try to run to shelter just as a rocket landed nearby,” said Shir Hermesh, of Sunday’s rocket attacks. “They didn’t take cover in time and were wounded by rocket shrapnel.”

Over fifty-five rockets landed in or around residential communities located in the northwestern part of the Negev, including the Eshkol Regional Council, Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council and Sderot. Eshkol, made up of 13, 500 people living in 32 communities, has been one of the hardest hit areas of the region, suffering power outages on late Sunday afternoon when a rocket struck a power line.

“We are prepared for days like today—for this kind of heavy rocket fire– because we have no choice,” said Nikki Levy, the security chief of the Eshkol Regional Council. Levy has been a security officer in the region for five and a half years. He explains that the Eshkol Regional Council is one of the best prepared in the region.

“Each of the 32 communities within the Eshkol region has an emergency team which includes a social worker that is ready to respond to any situation— be it a rocket hit or someone suffering from shock. The emergency teams also address residents’ concerns and make sure that the security instructions from the IDF and the council are carried out. We have daily meetings updating one another on what is taking place,” Levy told Tazpit News Agency.

One of the most important priorities of the Eshkol Regional Council is ensuring the safety of children during rocket escalations. Because Palestinian terrorists time their rocket fire during the early morning hours to strike Israeli schoolchildren traveling on open roads to school, the decision to keep school open or closed in the southern district of Israel is critical.

The Eshkol Regional Council meeting to discuss emergency rocket preparations. Photo: Anav Silverman/Tazpit News Agency.

“Today we have been forced to cancel school due to the Sunday morning rockets,” explains Ronit Minaker, the spokeswoman for the Eshkol Regional Council. “Although the high school is newly built and completely sheltered from rocket attacks, our concern is transportation safety—the kids are most vulnerable on the open roads and the rockets can strike anywhere,” Minaker explains.

“We can’t risk the chance of a rocket striking a school bus or bus stop with children in the vicinity.”

The Eshkol Regional High School was built in 2009, right after Operation Cast Lead, when more than 500 rockets were fired at Israel within a three-week period.  The school’s concrete walls are 40 centimeters thick and the glass windows are shatter-proof, which allows the school’s 900 students to learn even during warning sirens and rocket fire.

Surprisingly, one of the quieter areas in Eshkol today was the resilience center, which is part of the social and welfare services branch of the Eshkol Regional Council. The Eshkol Resilience Center provides first-hand trauma treatment to shock victims and continuing therapy treatments thereafter. Every resident of the Eshkol Regional Council has a right to mental health treatment in light of the security situation. The center also offers community resilience treatments against anxiety and trauma resulting from rocket attacks.

“Today, it is quiet, because most of the patients have cancelled appointments due to the rocket fire,” explains Tamar Orbach-Avni, the director of the social and welfare services. “Many of our patients who are parents have to remain home with their kids. That means they have also missed work.”

“This is a violent disruption in daily routine. The fact that the kids aren’t attending school today is not a ‘fun day’ for anyone. It means that both the kids and their parents are home, trying to deal with all the stress and fear that accumulates during a rocket escalation,” said Orbach-Avni.

Not too far away in Sderot, however, a rocket attack near a school that was in session, left several teachers in shock, according to Sderot Media Center director, Noam Bedein. “One of the teachers had to be carried to the teachers’ lounge” Bedein said, according to a witness who reported the incident to the media center. “The adults were more affected than the children during the rocket attack,” Bedein told Tazpit News Agency.

For Haim Yellin, the Head of the Eshkol Regional Council for the past five years, the rocket situation is taking its toll. “At the end of the day, it is the council who is responsible for the lives of the residents here—no one else,” he says. “We do everything in our power to ensure that all our residents including the children and the elderly remain safe, but these rocket attacks have to end immediately.”

“We’ve learned how to act effectively during these emergency security situations but our residents are feeling the need to return to normal life now more than ever.”

1 Comment

  • Human beings tried so much 2 solve prblms forthemselves but there is little or no solutn 4 prblms like this! only God can bring solutions 2 such dear people of israel return 2 ur GOD and these ll come to pass! but if u continue in power know u that not a single day u ll have peace till jesus christ the MESSIAH whom u denounce and kill on the cross by PILATE DE ROMANCE in the days ANNA,CAJAPHA(PRIEST) and HEROD DE GREAT! he is ur king and savior and ur life is hiden in him by GOD!,Check Deut 28

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →