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 situatns.my 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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.