Tel Aviv, Sept. 1 – Children across Israel returned to school today. The start of a new school year comes after a wave of terror attacks across the country killed 10 Israelis and wounded more than 50.
Whether it was resilience or excitement, the kids returning to south Tel Aviv’s Bialik-Rogozin school seemed unfazed that over the weekend a terrorist from Nablus in the West Bank stole a car, ran over police officers and then started indiscriminately stabbing people right around the corner from their school. The terrorist wounded a total of eight people.
Instead, it was stories of summer vacations by students and photo opportunities for proud moms and dads.
Likewise, children in southern Israel started school after days spent in bomb shelters to protect them from the nearly 200 rockets fired from Gaza over the past two weeks. Since the start of 2011, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 500 rockets at Israeli civilians.
When asked how she felt about returning to school, one young girl told Israel Radio: “We’re so excited. Yeah, maybe we’re scared, but we’ve lived through wars here. And we still have to go to school. We’re still very excited.”
MDA, Israel’s emergency rescue service issued a statement stating that it was “prepared to meet any needs that might arise” as children return to school.
In other parts of southern Israel, despite the fact that a million Israelis live within rocket fire range, life carried on as well.
Eilat, the southern resort city on the Red Sea – an area that was recently targeted by Gaza terrorists who killed eight Israelis -is reportedly bustling with vacationers and families despite alerts from the police and military about another terror plot.
Egypt reopened Rafah, the border crossing with Gaza. When Gaza opened it three months ago it made it possible for terrorists in Gaza to freely enter Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and then infiltrate Israel through the porous Egyptian-Israeli border.
Israel yesterday rushed to deploy its third anti-rocket protective barrier, Iron Dome, in Ashdod, a port city north of Gaza. The deployment coincided with the start of the school year. Iron Dome is a moveable system that shoots down incoming rockets before they land. It is produced by Israeli manufacturers and the government has ordered more of them. Two other cities Beersheba and Ashkelon already have Iron Dome rocket interceptors.
Meanwhile, Israel is pouring $85 million into improving East Jerusalem schools
The Jerusalem municipality is investing $84 million to construct 285 new classrooms in East Jerusalem, some of which are already under construction. At least 42 new classrooms will be opened: 18 at the beginning of the school year and 24 during the year. The classrooms include six kindergartens, a special education classroom and new sports facilities in Isawiya and Beit Tzafafa.
The municipality is also investing $210,000 to advance gifted and talented pupils and strengthen girls’ education. An additional $422,000 is being allocated for organizational expenditures.
Another component of the educational plan is the distribution of approximately 1,600 computers and 350 additional personal computers to foster a technological, interactive environment for East Jerusalem students. The idea is to create a “smart classroom” to allow students to maximize their education.
The changes are meant to address socio-economic gaps that exist between West and East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is home to some 300,000 Arab residents.