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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Important School Items for Southern Israel: Bomb Shelters

Nadene Goldfoot
Parents and students in Portland are looking forward to the start of school by buying all sorts of school supplies; crayons, pencils, Elmer's glue, etc.  Channel 8 is even helping out with a drive for donations for students that can't afford such things. 

Southern Israel parents and students have a different need.  They feel their future means continued rocket attacks from Gaza-based terrorists that won't end for years.  Because of this, they need bomb shelters for the schools.  They now have mobile bomb shelters to place near schools.  They can accomodate up to 18 people for a short period.  That could be one class per shelter. 

The residents are within  5 kilometers  (3 miles 188 yds)  from Gaza and get shellings that come so fast that they only have 15 seconds to get to shelter. 

Not all the schools within bombing range have shelters.  Ofakim will be prepared but the elementary schools in the Ashkelon areas farther away do not have any.  That's where the large hospital is and they have had to prepare for such attacks as well. 

Many of the largest schools in the region are prepared for missile strikes but many school care centers aren't.  Chabad has schools for boys and schools for girls from kindergarten up through 4th grade and they now have bomb shelters. 

I remember going through fire drills, earthquake drills and bomb drills in Portland as a child.  Bomb drills were executed in the hallways.   These children go through drills of how fast they can get to bomb shelters. 

Sderot, being the first town usually attacked as it is the closest to Gaza,  was able to get bomb shelters for their schools, but Israel can't afford to supply Ashkelon with them. 

I taught in northern Israel in Safed at the junior high.  That's fairly close to the Lebanon border.  We had a bomb drill that was quite an experience for me.  I was lucky that the students knew just what to do because I didn't.  We went to a basement area where there were all sorts of art supplies and a movie projector.  I have memories of needing to climb out on a ladder that I refused to do, wearing a skirt and being afraid of doing it.  It seemed like we had to hang in there for a terribly long time. 

Each apartment building had a bomb shelter.  I wasn't going to be able to bring my female German shepherd with me, so decided that I would hold up in my basement apartment if need be.  My dog was a bigger scaredy-cat than I was, so I couldn't leave her alone to hear horrible sounds of sirens and possible explosions.   

Yes, there's all kinds of things to think about when you're living in an area that is being shelled by your neighbor.  It affects your whole life.  It's not just how many casualties are numbered that counts.  It's the daily routines of life that are affected.   In Israel they just worry about getting through a day without being bombed.  These brave people are taking the stresses in their stride.  These are just problems to solve. 

Parents have reason to worry.  2009 was a terrible year with 569 rockets and 289 mortars raining into Southern Israel.  2010's count was 150 rockets and 215 mortars.  2011 also has had constant shelling.  In just the first few days of January there were 17 rockets and 31 mortars that fell.   July 30th grad missiles hit Ashkelon sending 8 people to the hospital in shock.  Apartments and other buildings sustained damage. 
On August 2nd Eilat, the furthest southern city was hit.  One missile went right into Aqaba, Jordan accidently and killed one person, and wounded several others.  That shows that the range of these missiles has stepped up.  August 18th  was another bad day of lots of missiles and rockets shot into Israel. 

One thing, those kindergarteners will learn to count to 15 very fast; Akhad, shtaim, shalosh, arbah, Khamesh, sesh, seveh, sh'monah, taishah, esser, akhad esar, sh'naym assar, sh'lo shaasar, arba aasar, kha 'mee shaasar.

UPdate 2;48pm Stand For Israel; "Responding to the escalation of attacks on southern Israel, The Fellowship is purchasing 100 bomb shelters for $1 million to be placed in areas targeted by terrorists in recent months. "Our mission is to help the people of Israel in whatever way we can," Rabbi Eckstein said."
Resource:Arutz sheva Missile Threat Not Abouty to End by Chana Ya'ar.

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