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 US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.