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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ashkelon’

Ashkelon Backs Down from Ban on Arab Workers near Kindergartens

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni has walked back his decision to lay off city Arab workers in the aftermath of the deadly synagogue attack in Jerusalem.

On Sunday, Shimoni agreed to allow the workers to complete construction work on bomb shelters in the city’s preschools and relocate the students to the local community center.

Last week, Shimoni caused a storm in Israel, which foreign media gladly lapped up, when he publicly announced that he ordered a halt to the building so Arab workers would not enter.

Virtually every political leader jumped over each other to denounce Shimoni, who insisted he was not a racist but simply was answering the concerns of parents pressured him out of fear of another Arab murderer picking up a knife or axe and attacking Jews

Shimoni announced the ban three days after the barbaric slaughter by Jerusalem Arabs who killed four Jews while they were praying in a Jerusalem synagogue. Others were seriously wounded, and one Canadian-American, as reported here yesterday, is in a coma.

“Unfortunately, my decisions were taken out of proportion,” Shimoni told Ynet. “I was simply listening to the parents of the mentioned kindergartens. At no point did I order the expulsion of Arabs from Ashkelon.”

Had he said that when the media and politicians were all over his case, he might have reduced the damage to Israel. Instead, he bathed in support from his supporters in the city, which has suffered thousands of missiles and rockets in attacks from Gaza over the past decade, and until this week he did not make a peep that he had not barred Arab workers.

Shimoni undoubtedly expressed the raw feeling of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

Why let Arabs work if “they” kill Jews?

Such a ban theoretically could get the message across to the majority of Israeli Arabs to pressure the minority to take their anger to Syria and die there as ISIS martyrs, but law-abiding Arabs are just afraid of their brethren as Jews are.

I personally don;t ever let an Arab or Bedouin even near my house, let alone work. but that is not because of fear rather it is because I am willing to pay more so that Jews can work. That is  great solution on a private basis.

Israel has to find another way to deal with the reality, and the threats of legal action against the mayor of Ashkelon apparently convinced him that to climb-down from a weak limb.

International media hardly care that he has repented, even if for the wrong reasons.

JTA contributed to this report.

 

‘Equal Opportunities’ Chief Rules Out Ashkelon’s Ban on Arab Workers

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The Commissioner for Equal Employment Opportunities, directly referring to Ashkelon’s ban Arab workers in the area of kindergartens, stated Thursday that the law specifically bans such discrimination.

Tziona Koenig-Yair stated, “During these difficult times, I expect employers to exercise responsibility and leadership to encourage tolerance and equal opportunities, and not exclusion, particularly local authorities such as the Ashkelon municipality, which publicized that it has terminated the employment of Arabs in the municipality, a step which breaks the Equal Opportunities Law.

She said her department “has received a not insignificant number of requests regarding employers firing or wishing to terminate the employment of Arab male and female employees, solely on racial grounds” but that the Equal Opportunities Law “clearly prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees on account of their race, ethnic origin or religion.”

She added, “Local authorities also have public responsibility towards all their residents, Jews and Arabs alike.

“Such authorities must show leadership and act to calm the storm, and not take collective action which may fan the flames. We all need to work together to improve the situation, and continue to work towards equality and tolerance for all citizens of the State of Israel, both Jews and Arabs.”

Ashdod Joins Ashkelon to Impose Racism to Stop Terrorism

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Ashdod and at least one moshav farming community joined Ashkelon Thursday to declare that Arabs will not be allowed to work in the area of kindergartens despite widespread condemnation from political leaders.

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni got the ball rolling with his public announcement Wednesday that no Arabs are welcome, as reported here. He not only refused to back down on Thursday but also stood his ground that his decision is legal because of the need for security.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she has asked the Attorney General to enforce the law against discrimination and stop Shimoni in his tracks. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called Mayor Shimoni’s policy a surrender to terror and a denial of co-existence.

Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett took the opportunity to show a liberal face of the national religious community and went off the edge to declare that “99.9 percent of Israeli Arabs are loyal to the country.”

Everyone is racing, no pun intended, to show he is the most democratic politician since ancient Greece, even if it was not so democratic.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “There can be no discrimination against Israeli Arabs. We must not generalize about an entire public due to a small and violent minority. The vast majority of Israel’s Arab citizens are law-abiding and whoever breaks the law – we will take determined and vigorous action against him.”

Lest anyone think Netanyahu is flying on a left wing, he added that “in the framework of the draft nationality law that I will submit to the Cabinet on Sunday, we will enshrine the full equality before the law of every citizen regardless of religion, race or sex alongside ensuring Israel’s identity as the national state of the Jewish People.”

Mayor Shimoni’s declaration brought out the gut feeling of Israelis who reacted to Tuesday’s massacre of Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue exactly the way future murderers want – fear.

His ban on Arab workers in the vicinity of kindergartens comes on the background of trauma in the city from more than a decade of rocket and missile attacks on the port cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

It took the mayor’s statements to arouse Israel’s yellow journalist media to take a break from its own racism the past week that has tried to demonstrate that Israeli Arabs as a whole are at war against Israel.

Bennett grossly exaggerated to say that 99.9 percent of Israeli Arabs are loyal to the country. Netanyahu was more on the mark when he said a majority, without measuring it, are “law-abiding.”

Mayor Shimoni hit a raw nerve

Placing all Arabs in one basket of terror is racist, illegal and immoral.

It also expresses a frustration that the police must heed so that Israelis can be safe.

Ashkelon to Cease Hiring Arabs for City Kindergartens

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

In the wake of unremitting Arab violence across Israel — and Tuesday’s horrific terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue — a southern Israeli city has called a halt to hiring Arab workers for local city kindergartens.

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday night that he would stop construction by Arab workers on bomb shelters around the city until further notice.

Kindergartens and preschools located next to construction sites where Arab laborers are employed will be guarded by armed security personnel as well, Shimoni wrote.

Ashkelon is one of the main targets struck repeatedly by Gaza terrorists when missiles are fired by from the coastal enclave.

During Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer against Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, residents spent weeks in their bomb shelters as the city was hit by hundreds of rockets and missiles.

On Tuesday this week, four prominent rabbis and an Israeli Druze police officer were murdered and at least six other people were wounded in a horrific terror attack by two Jerusalem Arabs.

Hamas and its allies handed out candies to celebrate the slaughter later in the day, smiling as they praised the way the terrorists used axes, meat cleavers, knives and guns to butcher their way through a packed synagogue while Jewish men were praying the morning service.

The four rabbis were laid to rest just hours later, accompanied to their graves by thousands. A similar number of observant Jews made their way to the northern Galilee village of Kfar Yanuch-Gat to pay their last respects to Zidan Sayif, the heroic officer who gave his life to draw fire from the terrorists so they would be forced to focus their attention away from slaughtering any more Jews.

Jewish Diaspora Donors Infuse NIS 50M Into Southern Israel

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Jewish donors have injected an infusion of some NIS 50 million ($13.22 million) into rocket-battered communities in southern Israel.

The package was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, whose Board of Governors is meeting this week in the coastal city of Ashkelon and surrounds.

Ashkelon was one of the primary targets of rocket and missile attacks launched by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization before and during the IDF’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer.

The funds are being used to help the south recover from the damage inflicted by Gaza terrorists during the 50-day war, which ended on the eve of Tisha B’Av.

Comprised of donations from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren HaYesod-UIA and others, some of the money is aimed at programs to expand the population of communities closest to the border with Gaza.

Approximately 1,300 scholarships of more than NIS 5,700 each ($1,500) will be offered to students living within four kilometers of Gaza (2.5 miles) for help with rent, in a move designed to draw young adults to the area.

In addition, there will be funding for special loans to local businesses located within the “40-kilometer (25 miles) zone” whose operations was affected by the war. There will also be grants for victims of rocket attacks, financing to pay for refurbishing private bomb shelters via the Amigur housing subsidiary, coordinated between the Jewish Agency, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Defense. In addition, the Jewish Agency will provide support for new immigrants in local absorption centers in southern Israel and IDF lone soldiers wounded during the war.

The Jewish Agency Fund for Victims of Terror also provides a grant of NIS 4,000 ($1,060) to famkilies immediately after an attack if they have experienced an injury or loss or their homes were damaged by rocket fire during a war. Subsequently, if the government of Israel recognizes a family as a “victim of terror” the Fund provides additional aid of up to NIS 25,000 ($6,600) to the family as well.

Yet, world Jewry has responded magnificently with compassion and grace to help provide the massive amount of money required to address the needs of Israel’s war-torn southern population, so badly traumatized following the summer’s events.

Opening this week’s gathering, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Scharansky thanked the agency’s partners in the Jewish world.

“This is a continuation of the Jewish world’s massive outpouring of solidarity with the people of Israel and the residents of the South over the course of the summer,” Scharansky noted. “During the war, we stood with the residents and channeled the solidarity and support of world Jewry. Today, we are partnering with the government of Israel to ensure that [their] pioneering spirit endures well into the future, drawing ever more people to this area and keeping it strong and vibrant for many years to come.

“This is the Zionist response to this summer’s events, and it is an expression of our commitment to the residents of southern Israel.”

The agency’s Board of Governors also toured Kibbutz Nahal Oz, one of the Gaza Belt communities that was held under siege with rocket and mortar fire by Hamas and allied terrorists prior to and during the war.

IDF Southern Command GOC Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman told the governors, “We are fighting for our homes here. Your decision to hold the Jewish Agency Board of Governors’ meetings in southern Israel after Operation Protective Edge is a massive source of strength for me personally, and for the soldiers under my command.”

Hundreds of World Jewish Leaders to Meet in Rocket-Battered South

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world who are part of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governor will convene in Ashkelon, one of Hamas favorite targets for rockets and missiles, next week.

The Board had been set to meet in Mexico as part of its annual rotation amongst the world’s Jewish communities, but in light of this summer’s hostilities, it decided to move the gathering to southern Israel as an expression of support and solidarity with its residents.

Speakers will include Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, and Racheli Fraenkel, the mother of one of the three yeshiva students whom Hamas terrorists kidnapped and murdered this summer.

Firsthand Account from Ashkelon Rocket Strike

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A Hamas rocket slammed into an Ashkelon home early Tuesday, lightly wounding 6 people, including three children. Two rooms in the home were completely destroyed, including the master bedroom where the mother and father had been just moments before the blast. Some 30 people were taken to Barzilai hospital for treatment following the blast.

Shortly after 6:30 am, a Code Red siren sounded in the southern city of Ashkelon, prompting Ofrah Cohen and her husband Yuval to leave their bedroom and gather their children to take them to the bomb shelter. “Suddenly there was an explosion,” she recounted, “and the whole house was filled with blackness. The entire house was destroyed. I do not even want to think what would have happened if we had stayed in the bedroom.”

Cohen could scarcely believe that her house was destroyed. “It was an indescribable explosion.” The mother of two marveled at the fact that her family escaped death with nothing more minor cuts from glass shards. “I really feel we received the gift of life,” she remarked.

14-year-old Naor Cohen, the younger of the Cohen’s two children, said he was still asleep when his parents came to evacuate them to the bomb shelter.

“Then there was a big explosion and fire,” he said. “Debris flew, everything suddenly collapsed. We’ve never been in that situation. I still cannot comprehend what happened here.”

In Ashkelon’s Barzilai hospital, the emergency room was filled with dozens injured in the blast, including 9-year-old Liam Atizon, who vividly recalled the rocket impact.

“I was asleep in bed. There was a siren, and my mom woke me up,” said the boy. “We have no safe room in the apartment. We ran to the stairwell and then there was a loud boom, the whole building shook. There was shattered glass, and a piece flew into my face.” Liam said he was lucky that the debris caused only a small cut on cheek, joining dozens of other victims who escaped more serious injury in the latest major attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas.

“All the windows and the shutters flew off the buildings,” Liam added. “My mother was also hurt. She was taken by ambulance, and I got my first ambulance ride. It was just Mom and I at home. I was very scared.”

Liam explained that his family had moved recently. “For three months we lived here, and for two months we have been at war.” Commenting on the security situation, the boy added, “I was born and grew up in Ashkelon. I am already nine years old and during this entire time the situation continues. It makes no sense that we have been living life like this the whole time.”

A number of elderly were also among those admitted to the hospital following the attack.

In the aftermath of this morning’s strike, Ashkelon locals once again condemned the country’s leadership of abandoning residents of the south. One resident asked why the authorities were waiting for someone to be killed before taking decisive action, while another called the government’s unwillingness to eliminate Hamas a “disgrace.”

The IDF continued its operations overnight against terror targets in the Gaza Strip. An IDF spokesman told Tazpit News Agency that Israeli forces have scored 23 hits on Hamas infrastructure since midnight, while the terror group launched a total of 53 rockets and mortars at Israel’s civilian population.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/firsthand-account-from-ashkelon-rocket-strike/2014/08/26/

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