The rocket barrage striking southern Israel, which escalated along the Gaza border on Saturday, continues. It is a dynamic and dangerous situation that is changing by the hour, already having claimed at least four Israeli lives. As this attack by Hamas continues, we want the Lehigh Valley community to know that we are monitoring the news from Israel carefully.
We have spoken to our friends in our Partnership2Gether region of Yoav. Rockets have fallen in Yoav, and residents have had to take refuge in bomb shelters, but thankfully no one has been injured.
Our partners, The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), are in close touch with us. They are also on the ground in Israel, doing their best to provide emergency grants to families whose homes were hit. They remind us that “our ability to act instantaneously and support victims of terror is only possible because of you, because of the ongoing and enduring partnership we have with your community.”
Here are some additional vignettes and information from JAFI and JFNA:
- Since the attacks began on Saturday morning, more than 600 rockets have been fired at Israeli population centers, including multiple attacks on Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva. Sirens sounded as far north as Bet Shemesh, Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat.
- While many rockets landed in open fields, and 119 were knocked out by the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system as of earlier this morning, over 21 projectiles did score direct hits, landing in Israeli population centers.
- One third of the country is under fire. More than 200,000 kids didn't go to school today. On Remembrance Days in Israel (Holocaust Remembrance Day, Memorial Day) a siren goes off in Israel at a set time and everyone stands still for two minutes. Yesterday, when some kids heard the siren, they thought it was a memorial siren like the one they had in school just on Thursday, and instead of running to take shelter, they stood still.
- Due to concerns over the safety of large public gatherings, authorities have asked the public not to attend the funeral of Mashe Agadi who was killed by a rocket yesterday and is due to be buried in Ashkelon later in the afternoon.
We promise to keep you updated on the news from Israel, as well as opportunities for donations as they are coordinated with our partners should the need arise.
The fact that the attack began during the week of Yom HaShoah, (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and is likely to continue into the week of Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), and that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins tomorrow, heightens our emotions. We hope that the confluence of these days that are holy both for Jews and Arabs can provide a frame to inform our prayers for peace. We pray for a cease fire to come soon, with no more injuries or deaths on either side.