I am currently on a WIZO mission in South Africa and hearing the news about Israel from such a distance away, is proving nerve racking. As I can now identify with what you usually experience, I thought it only fitting to update you.
Last week Rivla Lazovsky, Chairperson of the World WIZO Executive wrote to you about the situation in the South. I am sorry to say that the new week doesn’t bring “Bsorot Tovot” (good omens/news), but rather an escalation.
Overnight Saturday, two Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel exploded in an open field in the Eshkol Regional Council.
Early yesterday morning two Grad rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel exploded in an open area near Beersheba, No injuries or damage were reported but the schools were closed and the children kept at home.
A rocket fired from Gaza fell and exploded in an open field near Ashkelon in the afternoon. The rocket caused no damage and no injuries.
A further eighteen rockets fell overnight and this morning on the Sderot and Ashkelon Coast areas – meaning a very scary, sleepless night for everyone – babies, toddlers, children, youth and adults. Thank God, no injuries or damage were reported. Today all educational institutions are open but as in the previous two weeks, residents have been told to stay within a 15 second distance of bombs shelters and safe locations.
Yesterday, at its weekly meeting, and after PM Netanyahu and Minister of Defence Barak’s visit to the South last week, the Government unanimously approved a plan to bolster fortifications for all Israeli localities between 4.5 km and 7 km of the Gaza Strip, Everyone is calling for expedition of the implementation of the fortifications, in view of the already decade long suffering of the population
The IAF continues to locate and strike at targets in Gaza, including a rocket launching site in the northern Gaza Strip and a center of terrorist activity in Southern Gaza. It is important to emphasize that not only the civil population is being targeted, Last week, Palestinian terrorists detonated an explosive on the Gaza-Israel border, seriously injuring an IDF company commander. The explosive was placed on a gate in the Kissufim region, near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. His rehabilitation will take many months, but he is adamant to return to active duty. His bravery and courage is an inspiration to us all and AM-Israel can be proud it has such wonderful young people.
Sadly, the situation of rockets and grads falling on the South on a daily basis is again becoming a routine – it isn’t always front page news and it doesn’t always open the news editions, In fact, it shares them with preparations for the coming national elections that will take place on 22 January 2013.
Last week I telephoned Chaim Yelin Head of the Eshkol Regional Council and Alon Shuster the Head of the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council. I conveyed to them WIZO’s continued support for their steadfast stand. They expressed their gratitude to WIZO for its warm embrace and support all the year round, and not just when the rockets fall. My heart goes out to the children born into such an impossible reality and to the adults who have to relive the trauma and fear again and again and again. No one should have to live in this way.
By the way, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, arrived in Israel yesterday to oversee the largest joint air defense drill of its kind, which is currently under way. The majority of the exercise involves the computer simulation of long and medium range missile attacks on the Israeli home front, and their interception. Last Wednesday they simulated rocket attacks, while real missiles fired from Gaza exploded in Southern Israel.
As I finish dictating this letter, I am told that the Color Red rocket warning system was just sounded in Sderot……
Dictated by phone
Tova Ben Dov