Tamir: Sderot Kids Will Study Under Ground
10 Elul 5767, 24 August 07 03:27 by Gil Ronen (IsraelNN.com)
The Ministry of Education has decided to enable the children of Sderot to study in safety by conducting all classes in the schools' bomb shelters. The decision, reports NRG, was reached in an emergency discussion convened this week by the director of the Ministry's Southern District, Amira Chaim, with the local supervisors and security officers of Sderot.
Minister of Education Yuli Tamir arrived in Sderot Friday morning, and will talk to representatives of the parents of Sderot's school children. She will present them with the alternatives for protection of their children, including busing. The possibility that the IDF take whatever action necessary in order to silence the Kassams will not be on the agenda, however.
The town in Israel's Negev Desert is prey to daily shelling by Islamist terrorist gangs operating in nearby Gaza. Although the shelling began about seven years ago, it became much more intense after the 2005 Israeli self-destruction of Jewish communities in Gaza and military pullout (the Disengagement). While inaccurate, the rockets – usually referred to as "Kassams" – are an effective anti-civilian terror weapon and have caused fatalities, injuries and extensive damage in Sderot and other communities in the Gaza Perimeter.
A special Ministry of Education budget, estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels, will be devoted to turning the shelters into classrooms by installing air conditioners, ventilation devices, acoustic ceilings, lighting, carpets and steel doors in all of them.
"The District Director has already asked me to order the air conditioners immediately," Miriam Sasi, the director of education in Sderot municipality, told NRG Thursday. "My estimate is that it will be possible to finish the refurbishing by the beginning of the new school year," she said.
Busing is "Madness"
Sasi heads the special team created by the ministry for carrying out the project. The team also includes the Security Officer of Educational Facilities, Yehuda Ben-Maman, and Tzion Suissa, Sderot Municipality's Maintenance Officer, who have begun preparing the shelters for their new use. Sasi vehemently opposes the idea of busing Sderot's children to schools outside the range of Gaza rockets. She admits, however, that the plan will mean that school laboratories and computer classes will suffer, but says it will save lives: "I do not want to think what will happen if a Kassam falls near hundreds of kids who are waiting for a bus to take them to out-of-town studies."
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal concurs: "Transporting thousands of children to another town is madness. How can you run an education system like that. It's not happening anywhere else in the world and there is no reason for it to happen in Sderot."
The parents have four core demands regarding any solution:
• Defense Minister Ehud Barak has to sign a document approving the opening of the school year.
• The government has to deliver signed promises regarding the construction of new schools.
• Parents who want to send their child to a school outside Sderot will receive permission to do so.
• Children studying in Sderot will be eligible for busing to and from school.
What about radon?
The initial reader talkback items to the news suggest some of the problems the shelter plan entails: one says the solution is good for the short term, but asks what will become of children with respiratory problems, for example.
Another talkback, written by a Sderot high school student, says the plan is shameful. "Why is it that only now, after seven years' suffering, did Madam Minister remember that we have bomb shelters?" he asks, and suggests that all of Israel's schoolchildren begin studying in shelters as a sign of solidarity with Sderot. A third reader mentions the danger of radon poisoning.
Minister Tamir said Thursday that the High Court ruling with regard to the fortification of the schools makes it impossible to let the children begin the school year in the schools as they are now. The IDF's Home Front Command had instructed the ministry to let the school year begin as scheduled, and to make do with the "sheltered space" concept of protection, which involves running to a relatively safe part of the school when the missile siren sounds. The High Court, however, ruled that the "sheltered spaces" are an unacceptable solution. Fortifying the schools in a way that satisfies the High Court's demand will take close to a year, Tamir said.
Home suffers direct hit
Two terror rockets hit Sderot Thursday; one penetrated a house and smashed through the living room ceiling. Two women were hospitalized with post traumatic shock.
The house's owner, Meir Timsit, had been enjoying a barbecue meal with his family in the yard when the alarm went off and the family ran into the "sheltered space" in the home. Three months ago, a rocket from Gaza scored a direct hit on the home of Timsit's brother, Yossi, seriously wounding his wife, Colette.
Timsit told Ynet Friday that he feels "some kid of curse" is haunting his family: "The home of another brother in our family, Oren, has also suffered a direct hit, and another rocket hit near the house of uncle's family's, who are also Timsits. I don't know why fate has decided to go against us this way, but we are tired of it."
tr.v. dis·es·tab·lished, dis·es·tab·lish·ing, dis·es·tab·lish·es
1. To alter the status of (something established by authority or general acceptance).
2. To deprive (a church) of official governmental support.
I could not really think of the best word to describe what is happening in Israel today. S'derot is essentially an open fire range now.
S'derot sits just outside the artificial barrier known as the border with Gaza, the border separating the barbarians from mankind, the frontier (AKA Eretz Yisroel). Historically, borders have represented a separation between nations, sometimes with a great disparity between the wealth, culture, well-being, life-style and politics of the states. Gaza on the other hand is not a nation-state, nor is it a separate country in any way. Gaza is an armed Hamas camp not to be confused with a state in any way.
Kassam rockets ready to be launched
Today, the legal residents of S'derot, citizens of the State of Israel are being deprived of basic civil rights. The State's (any State's) primary responsibility is to safeguard the welfare of it's citizens. This failure to ensure the safety of it's citizens can only be understood as a failure to internalize the basic lesson of morality mandated by the civic duty, the most essential order of statehood.
"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond, 1792. ME 16:263
"Moral duties [are] as obligatory on nations as on individuals." --Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1808. ME 1:480
"The laws of humanity make it a duty for nations, as well as individuals, to succor those whom accident and distress have thrown upon them." --Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1807. ME 11:144
Jefferson on Morality
S'derot today is disestablished as a sovereign city of Israel. The military does not defend S'derot, MK Tamir proposes accommodating falling rockets, people live in fear waiting for the next siren, and now children will be attending classes in dungeons.
All Jews are responsible for one another. (See a nice sicho on this.) Traditionally, this has referred to the religious well-being of Jews. Another interpretation of this Gemara (Shavous 39a) refers to physical danger:
We can conclude that each Jew has a distinct commitment to help other Jews who are suffering and in danger. In Tomer Devorah, the Ramak writes, "all Yisroel are related to each other," and as the Maharal comments, the Jews "are similar to a person whose whole body hurts when one limb is wounded, since he is one body."
So, when another Jew is in pain or sick, it is like every other Jew's limbs, as the Maharal writes, and every Jew is required to do as much as he can to cure him.
The Jewish body is bleeding with every rocket strike on S'derot (or anywhere where our people are under attack). We are committed to act within our power to preserve life and prevent the further bloodshed of Jews. Is the government of Israel living up to the ideals Jefferson understood a moral people are obligated to fulfill? Is the government of Israel rising to the calling of the Gemara or Tomer Devorah to protect Jews from Arabian assault?
A skeptical person might presume that the government of Israel would prefer that the residents of S'derot would just pack up and move away. The IDF could defend the sovereign territory of Israel bordering on the wilderness of Gaza from rocket attack if given the order.
The only explanation is that the failure to morally lead and the lack of will to do so disestablishes a part of Israel's citizenry from the whole of Israel. The hidden and fictitious equality of Jews living in Israel has been exposed. It is not the entire land under fire (or even half of it as it was in the Hezbollah war) but a small area fate determined to establish on the border of Hamastan. And within that small area, school children have been sentenced to spend their days in dungeons.