in the southern part of the country spent the Jewish Sabbath holed up in bomb
shelters under nearly continuous rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the largest
such barrage since last fall. By Sunday, schools throughout the region had
closed, with the army’s Home Front Command continuing the order through at
least Monday as air force sorties target Palestinian terrorists and rocket
In all, one
million people were warned to remain in or near shelters due to the security situation.
By 5:00 p.m. Sunday, hundreds of missiles had been fired at targets around
southern Israel, including the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, and the
small town of Netivot.
Kutner, director of the Chabad Terror Victims Project, said that last week, he
asked all Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in the country to visit as many victims
of terror attacks and their family members as possible during the holiday of
Purim, which took place Wednesday night and Thursday. The decision proved to be
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“Because of the
talk lately of an increase in attacks, I asked our representatives to make a
special effort over the holiday to reach terror victims,” explained Kutner,
whose organization distributed 3,000 food packages for Purim.
Kutner opened a
special crisis center in the central Israeli village of Kfar Chabad to deal
with the psychological and financial trauma caused by the latest violence.
Thanks to the U.S.-installed Iron Dome anti-missile system, though, things
could have been much worse.
“So far we have
seen many miracles,” stated Kutner. “There have been very few injured, thank
G‑d. But one cannot rely on miracles alone, as you know, and we are preparing
for the possibility that we will need to send volunteers to visit those who are
injured and to be with their families.
situation continues much longer, we will also send volunteers out to the public
shelters to entertain the children,” he added. “They will play music, perform
magic shows, and in general provide an alternative to the interminable waiting that
children in southern Israel have been forced to endure.”
Israel and elsewhere in the world, members of Jewish communities prayed,
recited Psalms, and increased their charity
and good deeds in the merit of those in the rockets’ paths.
Israeli Police work the scene of a rocket explosion in southern Israel. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
one missile struck an empty school. A second missile exploded in a residential
neighborhood, causing damage to 15 homes, a car and a central water pipe. No
one was physically injured, although five people were treated for shock.
The Iron Dome system
reportedly intercepted 90 percent of the attacks on urban centers throughout
the weekend bombardment.
Sunday morning’s Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained
that the barrage had come in retaliation for the elimination of a top terrorist
planning another massive attack.
“There is no
doubt that the [Israel Defense Force’s] activity prevented this attack. The IDF
hit them hard, and I wish to praise the army and security forces for their
work,” he said.
Netanyahu warned Israelis to be prepared for further attacks.
“We are taking
all the necessary steps to ensure safety and security, but we also plan to take
offensive action when necessary,” he explained.
began Friday with 35 long-range rockets raining down on Beersheva, Ashkelon,
Ashdod, Gan Yavne, and elsewhere.
At the latest
count, at least 21 Israelis have been physically wounded, including a foreign
worker who was critically injured.