Will 1,300 Children Have Nowhere to Run?

Just as parents across Israel protest overcrowding in preschools on Monday, parents from one kibbutz near Gaza are protesting for another reason: the lack of adequate protection from rocket fire. 

Parents' committees from both the elementary and high schools in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai are protesting during the first day of classes on Tuesday, after discovering that the bus stops near both schools are only capable of protecting a fraction of attending students against rocket fire. 

Over the next academic year, approximately 1,300 students will attend schools in Yad Mordechai, located about 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) from the Gaza border. 

However, two bus stops near the school only provide protection for 300 students – a real danger in light of the resumption of rocket fire from Islamists in Gaza. 

"Our biggest fear is to have a code red siren and for 1,300 children to have nowhere to run," parent Meirav Shmilovitz stated to Walla! News Monday. "The Arad disaster is what will happen there, and I can't sleep at night knowing my child could have nowhere to run when I'm somewhere [at work in] Kiryat Gat."

"If anyone in this government, or the [Regional] Council think it can be run this way, when school is located two kilometers from the border, acting as if we live in Switzerland – they are seriously mistaken." 

Yad Mordechai was among the communities which suffered most from rocket fire during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. 

Recently, it was revealed that despite the end of the operation purporting to bring "quiet" between Israel and Hamas, at least 12 rockets have struck Israeli soil in the one year since the war ended – not including dozens of rocket attacks which resulted in hits on the Gaza side of the border. None of Israel's wars have ended with quiet for southern Israel. 

The Eshkol Regional Council insisted despite the onslaught of rockets, however, that the 300-student shelters are simply a temporary solution until better shelters can be built. 

"The amount of money we raised in recent months stands and 2.5 million shekel [$635,615 – ed.] to build new, protected classrooms, as well as to build new bus stops," it stated in response. "However, the bus stops can [currently] accommodate about 300 students and constitute a temporary solution until a permanent solution can be found." 

The Council added that, for the time being, shuttles to and from both campuses were being scheduled at intervals to lessen the chances of all 1,300 children being in the same place during a potential rocket attack. 

"This solution has a successful precedent in the region and is an adequate security response," it said, adding that it is the government's responsibility to add additional protection to Gaza area residents to support the growing demographic there. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200129

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