17 Years Southern Israel Under Attack from Gaza

17 Years Southern Israel Under Attack from Gaza

The last Israelis in the Gaza Strip were forced from their homes 13 years ago.

Since 2001, 25,000 rockets and missiles have hit southern Israel from Gaza.

Eighty-one communities are under fire, on the front line of a war zone.

Seven months ago a new terror method by the Sons of Zawari in Gaza began in the form of fire kites and balloons.

Damage from fire balloons and kites along highway in southern Israel

These blackened areas show the result of this assault on the environment.

One of the southern border cities most under attack is Sderot.

New train station in Sderot is bomb shelter

The new Sderot train station has a cement bomb shelter cover.

Sderot train station is bomb shelter Israel

From the highway the train station appears inconspicuous.

Caterpillar Park in Sderot Israel for protection of children from rockets

Because of missile and rocket attacks, in 2008, the ‘Caterpillar’ park was established as a safe haven for children on playground when an alarm is sounded.

Inside caterpillar cement structure for child to run in Sderot Israel playgournd

The Legacy Heritage “Park of Good Wishes” has grown over the years.

More cement pipes have been added as missiles continue to fall.

Bomb shelters in school in Ashkelon Israel

Not only in Sderot but in Ashkelon as well, all new school buildings have cement roofs.

Half a billion dollars has been spent to provide bomb shelters in southern Israel.

This month a bomb shelter “safe room” saved a mother and her three children when a rocket made a direct hit on her house in Beer Sheva.

Sderot school with bomb shelters on field where children play

Not only safe rooms, but these decorated free standing bomb shelters have been erected in this new school playground next to the garden that the children are tending.

Sdeort AMIT high school southern Israel

Bomb shelters stand near the bus stop for the local AMIT high school. Solar panels are visible over the cement roof that was added to protect students.

Israel bomb shelter near road

A street crossing, a bomb shelter; seconds to run to safety has become a way of life.

new building in Sderot Israel seen from view on Hesder Yeshiva roof

In spite of all, Sderot is growing and it is hard to keep up with the building demand.

Sderot view from top of yeshiva

In all directions, construction and cranes are a regular feature in Sderot.

Display in Sderot police station of rockets from Gaza

Meanwhile, the missiles, rockets, qassams collected and displayed in the Sderot police station have multiplied.

View of northern Gaza from Israel border

Near the Israel border, Gaza and the sea are in full view.

Northern Gaza near Israel border

With a zoom lens from this Israeli vantage point, Gaza looked peaceful.

Gaza as seen from Israel border

Northern Gaza has expanses of open land.

Northern Gaza view from Israel border

I will not flood you with all the photos like this I took of Gaza.

Ashelon power plant which supplies electricity to Gaza

But here is the Ashkelon power plant which supplies Gaza with power, even when Isarel is under attack.

Under the white balloon is the security camera operating over the Erez Crossing.

Security wall in southern Israel

Behind this security wall 81 Israeli communities are growing, but weary of being under fire.

This wall decorated with the way to Shalom, Peace, looks much the same as it did on my last visit.

Here is a photo of the second wall in 2016.

Thousands of visitors have come through and added their ceramic pieces to the wall.

Today the path to peace only appears further away.

Netiv Ha'Asarah entrance moshav near Gaza border

Netiv Ha’Asharah is a lovely, growing moshav on the border.

Israel near Gaza border art piece decoration

Thousands of residents of the south go about their daily lives under constant threat.

Netiv Ha'Asara new house olive tree as sunset.

Building new homes, planting new olive trees, working, trying to protect and provide for their families.

However, tired of being on the front line of a war zone, after years of feeling they are ignored, the “backyard” of the country, residents are speaking up.

Walking home on a recent Friday night after dinner, Miri’s family was in the open, not near a shelter when missiles from Gaza fell on Sderot without warning. There was nothing to do but cover their children with their bodies. This is not a way to live, she and others are demanding action.

A group of students who have grown up under threat from Gaza terror are marching, on their way to Jerusalem.

One hundred high school students are on a five-day walk from Sderot to Jerusalem, Israel to the Knesset.

Quiet for 17 years, but no longer, residents of the south want to live in peace and have their anguished voices heard.

3 Things to Remember after Operation Pillar of Defense

Most Americans are back to work,

 having finished their leftover Thanksgiving turkeys.

Australians down under are getting ready for summer holidays.

Israeil tank

The Israeli tanks facing Gaza  

Israeli soldiers

and the IDF battle-ready reserves at the border have returned home.

But before pre-election politics takes over all the headlines, 

there are three important things to remember

now that Operation Pillar of Defense has ended.

3.  Schools were closed for over a week in much of Israel.

Not only young children stayed home with anxious parents,

 but medical schools and universities in the line of fire were closed.

Or Etzion yeshiva, Yeshiva beit midrash. study hall

This yeshiva study hall is located on the second floor of the building.

 It is usually full of students day and night,

but it was emptied during Pillar of Defense.

Many students were called up for army service,  

and for the rest, it was too dangerous.

 It was more than 15 seconds away from the nearest shelter.

2. Bomb shelters had become a way of life in Southern Israel.

Israeli bomb shelter

This Kiryat Malachi shelter was furnished with activities for children,

Israeli playground

but the playground nearby was empty,

shelter in Kiryat Malachi

as parents with young children stayed close to the shelter entrance.

Remember, there are only 15 seconds to get everyone to safety.

Ethiopian couple in Kiryat Malachi

With a break in the rocket fire, there was time for simple things 

boy smiling

like food shopping.

Israeli bomb shelter

Some people were forced to sleep in community shelters for safety.

“Lucky” families had their own reinforced room at home. 

safe room

These girls have grown up with the threat of rockets.

As we all gathered in their safe room during a red alert siren, 

they were happy to make faces and smile for the camera.

near Gaza border

Many Hamas rockets do land in open spaces in Southern Israel.

 But perhaps the ONE most important thing to remember

destroyed apartment Kiryat Malachi

is that those Hamas rockets from Gaza can and do kill.

It only took only 20 seconds to murder

three people sitting in this living room.

After 12,000 rockets from Gaza,

it was time to #StopTheRockets.