An Update on Our Partnership Region in Israel From Ira Kerem

Posted on Thursday Mar 15, 2012 11:29 AM

March 12 -- As you all know, missiles from Gaza are again falling on Israel. In Hof Ashkelon, over a dozen missiles have fallen on empty fields of kibbutzim and moshavim. Thanks to the Ministry of Defense, schools and kindergartens in the five communities within 7 kilometers of the border have been reinforced-protected by new roofs, or have been completely rebuilt. The educational institutions in these communities have not been closed. Other schools and kindergartens in the other communities have been closed since Shabbat. Tuesday, school children from the region were bused to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem as guests of those municipalities. In Jerusalem, the children will go to the Biblical Zoo and a special program at the Binyanei Hauma Convention Center.

Many businesses have closed, there are dramatically fewer cars on the roads, and people do not want to leave the vicinity of their homes. Alert are sounded frequently. The Iron Dome anti missile system is fired frequently and when the incoming missile is hit, a large explosion can be heard from quite a distance. The municipality has opened up a 24 hour emergency psychological service based in the family treatment center and dozens of children and adults have been treated for trauma related to the security situation.

Missiles have fallen in the vicinity of Kiryat Malachi as well. Kindergartens, day care centers, schools and the community center have all been closed. Many stores have been closed and few people are out walking. As in Hof Ashkelon, the sounds of missiles exploding can be heard from a distance and people have gone down into shelters and safe rooms several times every day.There is a strong sense of trepidation in the air and the municipalities have been meeting non-stop to prepare for any escalation.

Most military experts believe that there will not be a sudden end to the current situation. So far, there have been no injuries and no physical damage to Kiryat Malachi or Hof Ashkelon, but the anxiety and fear are taking a toll. We all hope and pray that the missiles will stop falling in the not too distant future. In the meantime, expressions of support from the American communities are always appreciated.

If you would like to get in touch the artists who visited in February, please contact EliseP@JewishInSeattle.org.