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JFNA Briefing: Israel's South Under Fire

March 11, 2012

Following the targeted assassination of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee leader Zuhair Qaisi by Israel Defense Forces this past Friday, over 100 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip to the south of Israel, forcing Israelis back into their shelters and breaking down the daily routine. JFNA Israel is in the field to inform you of recent developments.

Breaking news reports this evening in Israel said a rocket had struck a school in Beersheva -- though fortunately the school was empty after officials had decided to keep students home in the wake of the escalated attacks.

Although schools within seven kilometers of Gaza are open – they are all reinforced and have sufficient shelter for children, schools between seven and 40 kilometers from Gaza are closed. You can see a map showing distances from Gaza and seconds for finding shelter here.

Videos of the rockets' flight and impact as well the IDF's responses can be seen here.

The Iron Dome defense system has intercepted around 90 percent of targets and Netanyahu has pledged to increase its deployment in the coming months despite the steep cost involved ($100,000 per-Iron Dome response). Use of the Iron Dome has meant that Israeli ground forces have been able to delay entering Gaza, with the Israeli Air Force shouldering the burden.

Otzma has several volunteers living in afflicted areas, two in Netivot and four in Kiryat Gat. David Korenthal, 23, from Chicago, is in his sixth month of the program and reports "hearing booms, seeing flashes and witnessing the Iron Dome at work. We feel safe; we know where the shelters are and we're in contact with Otzma and the Chicago Federation representative [Kiryat Gat is twinned with Chicago under the P2G scheme]." All Otzma participants have been offered the opportunity to be relocated at any time.

All necessary security precautions are being undertaken in accordance with our emergency preparedness protocol and all program participants have been contacted with a confirmation that they know how to act during rocket attacks. We are also monitoring mission and VIP activity in the wake of these developments.

A member of the Cohen family from Sderot reflects on the unfortunate frequency of rocket attacks, saying that "Sderot is being shelled less now than in the past and our children feel relatively safe. But today, for the first time after a long period, we were forced to take them back to the reinforced shelter." Meanwhile, the Shoshan family from Asheklon reports on the improvements the Iron Dome has brought. "The truth is that the situation has been kind of swallowed up in our daily life. The Iron Dome has made us feel calmer." (source: the Maariv daily newspaper.)

It is not clear at the moment whether the situation is linked to the increasing threat from Iran, or how it may develop. JFNA and its Israel office will continue to keep you informed as the situation demands.

News Articles:

Ynet: Palestinian teen killed in IDF strike 

Israel National News: Iron Dome Foils 90 Perecent of Missiles 

Jerusalem Post: 'The situation in Beersheva is unbearable'

 

 
 

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