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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Southern Israel’

Israeli Children, Parents On Gaza Border Start New School Year with Mixed Feelings

Monday, September 1st, 2014

On Monday, September 1, schools across Israel opened the school year, as 2,105,394 children took their places in the classrooms a week after a 50-day war with Hamas ended in a ceasefire agreement on August 26. In southern Israel, where cities and communities were most affected by Hamas rocket fire and terror attacks, special activities took place to help children ease back into school following a summer spent mostly in bomb shelters.

“There are mixed feelings – there is great happiness going back to a routine,” Sharon, a mother from Kibbutz Or HaNer, near Sderot, told Tazpit News
Agency. “On the other hand, we do not know what will happen next with the ceasefire,” said Sharon, whose children go to school in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council.

“The children were really happy to go back to school, to walk around freely for the first time in months. Just today, the kids and I had ice cream for the first time all summer sitting out on the grass,” Sharon told Tazpit.

“There is a feeling that the war stopped, but also that it hasn’t. Parents here are full of emotions regarding the return to school after such a difficult summer. Many of us became refugees from the rockets. Just think, teachers who went through this horror themselves are opening the school year,” she added.

Over 4,562 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the summer, striking civilian population centers throughout the country.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister, Shai Piron and Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, showed solidarity with southern Israelis today, visiting schools in southern Israel. In Sderot, Prime Minister Netanyahu visited a new religious elementary school with Sderot mayor, Alon Davidi. The prime minister spoke with first grade students who spent the first lesson learning about the Hebrew alphabet.

“I know that you spent your vacation doing things not according to what you planned,” the prime minister said.” I hope that during the upcoming holidays you will have the chance to have some fun, to play and to be with your families and friends,” the Israeli PM told the first graders.

“Be good friends with each other and hunger for knowledge. This is what distinguishes us and gives our people special strength,” he said. “We are the People of the Book and today the people of the tablet as well. We hold on to our heritage and also the future. Study the Bible, our heritage, math, computers and science. Acquire knowledge for the sake of the nation of Israel, for the state of Israel, for the land of Israel, for yourselves and your families.” ”

Among the 2 million students starting school, 149,705 are first graders and 122,750 students are entering the 12th grade. The Absorption Ministry also pointed out that 1,900 students are new immigrants and are entering the Israeli school system for the first time, which includes 250 first graders.

Education Minister, Shai Piron further added that that he was assigning a special assignment to the first graders this school year, which he noted wasn’t homework but classwork. “Look around you. See who may not have many friends and who may have had few visitors this summer. If a kid doesn’t come to school because he is sick, don’t forget to call him. Act with respect to your teachers. And when you speak to each other on the playground, do not forget to use clean language.”

“Our biggest test is not how we act during times of war but how we act during times of peace. The true test is about morality, identity and love of mankind,” said Piron during his visit to the south.

Mixed Reactions Among Leaders in Southern Israel to Ceasefire

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Details of the current ceasefire between Israel and Hamas are being revealed, and the agreement obtained by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are generating mixed reactions among the leaders of the South. The majority of the reactions are against the truce, and all voiced skepticism about its viability. Itamar Shimoni, Mayor of Ashkelon, harshly condemned the ceasefire, calling it a surrender to terror: “The residents of the South wanted a decisive victory, but it seems they will not receive it,” said Shimoni, “We wanted to see Hamas begging for its life, while in fact we are witnessing Israel running to the negotiations table every chance it has to do so.” Shimoni further believes that objectives set for Operation ‘Protective Edge’ were not achieved: “We did not lose 64 soldiers and six citizens for this ‘achievement’. We sat in bomb shelters for two months and incurred heavy financial losses, but not for this ‘achievement’. we expected much more. Hamas made demands while using force, and it seems they will get what they demanded. the conclusion is the terror pays.” Shimoi believes that the current ceasefire with Hamas will not last long: “We have already begun to prepare of the next round of violence, and it will be more deadly and violent than what we have experienced up until now.”

Tamir Idan, Head of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, also believes that the current ceasefire is a surrender to terror. relating to the IDF’s refrain from responding to Hamas’ heavy fire on Israel hours before the ceasefire took effect, Idan stated: “The ceasefire is Israel’s agreement by silence that it is possible to fire relentlessly at Israel with no response just before the commencing of the ceasefire, and this is very grave. We demand that the State of Israel and the IDF stand by their vow to respond to every incident in a harsh and meaningful fashion.” Yair Farjun, Head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, believes the ceasefire has little credibility. “We cannot become indifferent and must remain vigilant, at least in the coming days. the government must stand fast and ensure that the terror organization does not achieve any meaningful objectives, while planning to bring down the Hamas regime if the fire is renewed.”

Alon Shuster, Head of the Sha’ar Ha’Negev Regional Council, is the only leader to voice support for the ceasefire. “The great pain caused by the bloody incidents in the past days emphasizes the need to stop the violence in our region. I support the ceasefire and the negotiations that are supposed to commence in its wake,” said Shuster. Despite his support for the ceasefire, Shuster too is skeptical about its practicability. “If the terror organizations renew their fire that will be the sign for Israel’s government to enter into a deep military campaign in the Gaza Strip that will uproot the Hamas regime. if the terror ceases its crimes and cooperates with a disarmament process, the rehabilitation of Gaza will be possible,” concluded Shuster.

Despite the ceasefire, the residents of the south are reportedly reluctant to return to their homes after fleeing them weeks ago. They have little faith that the truce will hold for long, basing their decision not to return on past experience. As the opening of the school year nears they will have make a final decision if to risk relying on the current truce.

“We Were the Happiest Family in the World,” Says Mom of 4 Year Old Daniel Tragerman at Funeral

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

The four-year-old victim of the Hamas rocket at attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Friday, August 22, was laid to rest on Sunday morning. Daniel Tragerman was killed on Friday afternoon by rocket shrapnel in his family’s home, when a mortal shell fired from the Gaza Strip exploded outside his family’s home on Friday afternoon.

Three seconds passed from the moment the siren on the kibbutz went off to the moment of the mortar explosion on the kibbutz, which is located in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, home to 11,000 people. Daniel, who was fully trained knew to run to the safe room whenever the siren sounded according to his mom. Given the three seconds, he did not have enough time to make it to the family’s safe room. “He always rushed to the protected room,” said Daniel’s mother, Gila.

“The second the alarm sounded, he knew what to do and where to go. He would always run first and call his little brother to the shelter and then in a second it all ended.”

The family had been home at the time of mortar explosion and had been planning to leave to central Israel with their suitcases already packed when the rocket attack took place.

“Daniel was a beautiful, smart, sensitive boy. We wanted to watch him grow up with his brothers and fulfill himself,” said his mother.

The young boy, the first Israeli child victim of rockets during the current war, was buried at in the Hevel Shalom cemetery in the Eshkol Regional Council in the northern Negev at 9:00 AM today, where hundreds of people attended his funeral. His mother spoke at the ceremony, saying, “We were the happiest family in the world, and I just cannot come to grips with it.”

“We are with you in deep mourning,” said Alon Shuster, head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council at the funeral of Tragerman. “Here in this painful place, we are waiting for another day, a day where children can play in their yard and bomb shelters can be just another room. So many children made it to the bomb shelter and Daniel didn’t make it; we will do all that we can so that life will go on.”

Shuster also quoted the Talmud saying, “The land of Israel is acquired through suffering.”

“As a mother, this tragedy is shocking,” Orit Zadikevitch from nearby Kibbutz Kfar Aza told Tazpit News Agency. “When a mortar shell strikes our area, the distance that shrapnel pieces can reach is far and can be deadly,” she told Tazpit.

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, the mortar shell that killed Daniel was fired near a school used as a shelter in the Gaza Strip.

IDF Warns Hamas Made ‘Bad Decision’

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Hamas made a ‘bad decision’ in choosing to renew its attacks against Israel, IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner told news media on Friday.

“The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted,” Lerner said in a statement.

“Hamas’ bad decision to breach the cease fire will be pursued by the IDF. We will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel.”

Israel waited three hours Friday morning to see if Hamas would cease the rocket fire on its own, but when it did not, the Israel Air Force took to the skies.

The IAF strafed Gaza with air strikes across the region Friday as terrorists continued to fire one barrage of rockets after another at Israel.

More than 45 rockets exploded in various cities and towns in the southern part of the Jewish State. A number of homes were damaged, and four people were wounded.

While the cease fire was in place earlier in the week, Gaza’a Greek Orthodox Archbishop Alexios courageously shared with CBN News the fact that Hamas terrorists had set up their rocket launchers on a roof terrace outside his office at the Saint Porphyrios church. The cleric was given little choice in the matter, nor were the hundreds of innocent civilians who had taken shelter in the Gaza City church.

Direct Strike on Homes in Sderot, Ashkelon in Rocket Barrage from Gaza

Friday, August 8th, 2014

A Qassam rocket slammed directly into a private home in the Gaza Belt community of Sderot at around 3:30 pm Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the start of the Sabbath. It was the second home in Sderot to be hit by a rocket today. No one was physically injured in the attack.

This is the second home to be damaged in a Qassam rocket barrage from Gaza today (Friday, August 8, 2014). Miraculously, no one was home.

This is the second home to be damaged in a Qassam rocket barrage from Gaza today (Friday, August 8, 2014). Miraculously, no one was home.

The Code Red rocket alert system allows residents of the communities in the Gaza Belt area – those in the Eshkol, Sdot Negev and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council districts – only a 15-second window within which to reach a safe space before rocket impact.

Less than half an hour after the house in Sderot was hit, a home in the coastal city of Ashkelon suffered the same fate.

As in Sderot, however, the terrorist rocket found no victims; the owners of the home were safe in a shelter and were not physically injured, although the building was damaged. Residents of Ashkelon have a window of 30 seconds within which to reach shelter before an attack.

A few hours earlier, the director of Sapir Academic College, Dr. Nachmi Paz, age 71, was wounded by shrapnel when a Qassam rocket exploded at the entrance to the community. A 20-year-old soldier also sustained shrapnel wounds in the same attack. Both running for shelter but weren’t quite fast enough when the rocket slammed into the ground nearby. Sapir College is located in an area on the outskirts of Sderot.

More than 50 rocketswere fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists in the past eight hours, since the 72-hour humanitarian cease fire ended at 8 am. Four Israelis were wounded.

IDF Chief Tries to Reassure Southerners, ‘It’s Safe to Go Home’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

IDF and Israeli government officials are doing their best to convince southern residents that it’s safe now to return home to Gaza Belt communities.

But Hamas assurances that the terror group intends to resume its rocket and mortar fire promptly at 8 am Friday, combined with the limited technology that has made it impossible for the Code Red alerts to detect incoming mortar shelling from Gaza, raise serious questions in the minds of the residents who say they are the ones who are placing their lives and those of their children on the line.

A lot of Israelis are not buying the government reassurances; nearly 60 percent of those who live along the Gaza border, in fact, says Yair Farjun, head of the Ashkelon Coastal Region council.

Still, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen. Benny Gantz gave it his best shot on Wednesday. Gantz told reporters at a briefing there is “devastation in Gaza, and guilt for the tragedy rests on Hamas leaders,” who he described as “hiding in their basements.”

Gantz stressed that although some 30,000 reservists had been discharged and were returning to their homes, some 55,000 IDF soldiers were still remaining in a staging area outside the Gaza border.

“I am convinced the residents can return to their houses, work their fields, live well here just as it was before,” he said. “Just as there was peace here before, it will be even quieter after,” he sought to reassure.

“The IDF is not going anywhere. It remains to protect people, to do what is necessary, to seek the next challenge. Together with our citizens we will continue to improve security in this area,” he said.

Hamas officials in Cairo threatened Wednesday night to resume rocket fire at 8 am on Friday unless there is “significant progress” in the cease fire negotiations, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Thursday.

Israel reportedly offered generous terms in the talks, according to an Egyptian source who spoke with a Hebrew-language Israeli newspaper. But Israeli representatives refused to compromisee on the issue of disarming terrorist groups in Gaza, the source said.

IDF Kills Swarm of Terrorists Emerging from Tunnels Near 2 Kibbutzim [video]

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Two Gaza Belt communities were saved by IDF soldiers who spotted two squads of terrorists suddenly materializing from the earth.

Two separate squads of terrorists emerged from two tunnels between the communities of Kibbutz Nir Am and Kibbutz Erez just after 6:30 am. They were detected “infiltrating through two tunnels from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel,” the IDF said. One was spotted and targeted by the Israel Air Force. Ground forces immediately engaged the second squad, the IDF spokesperson explained.

Residents in Erez, Nir Am, Ein Hashlosha and Re’im were warned to stay in their homes as IDF troops opened fire at the terrorists, eventually killing all of them. In the exchange, a number of IDF soldiers were also injured by an anti-tank missile fired at them by the terrorists.

Ominously, IDF soldiers also later discovered during a search of the bodies a number of injectable tranquilizers and handcuffs. These were to be used in subduing kidnap victims captured by the terrorists, had they succeeded in infiltrating the nearby kibbutzim, or roads along the way.

Roads in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council district were sealed off to prevent the terrorists from advancing to other communities, including Route 34, Route 232 and Route 4. Those roads were opened hours later, once it was determined that every single terrorist was eliminated.

While soldiers were exchanging gunfire with the terrorists in the area and on into the morning, numerous barrages of Qassam rockets were launched from Gaza at all of the communities in the area and beyond, including the nearby city of Sderot.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-terrorists-swarm-from-tunnel-towards-kibbutzim-idf-kills-dozens/2014/07/21/

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