Friday, 15 April 2011
The Blitz was a sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941 during the Second World War. For 76 consecutive nights the city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe and many towns and major cities across the country followed.
We admire the fortitude and courage of our parents and grandparents who endured those long eight months of constant bombardment, and quite rightly so. However, who gives a thought to the fact that a small town in southern Israel has been under bombardment for ten years!
On 16 April 2001, Gaza terrorists fired the first rocket at southern Israel, aiming for the town of Sderot. Tomorrow, ten years will have passed since that first missile landed. Rocket fire remains a serious concern in southern towns which, as recently as last week, were hit by a barrage of rockets and mortar shells.
Terrorists began their blitz with short-range Kassam rockets, manufactured in Gaza. In the first years, rockets hit with no warning. Even after the installation of the “Colour Red” rocket warning system, residents had, at most, 15 seconds to run for shelter.
In Sderot alone, several people have been killed, among them four children. Others have bee badly wounded, including an eight-year-old boy who lost a leg.
Prior to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the expulsion of Jews from the area, many of the rocket attacks targeted Jewish communities in Gush Katif in Gaza. In 2004, Jewish communities in Gaza were hit by rockets more than 280 times.
In 2005, 170 missiles hit Jewish towns. Following the ethic cleansing of Gaza’s Jewish communites, however, terrorists began to strike far more frequently, hitting towns in southern Israel 946 times in 2006 and 2,048 in 2008. After the Hamas takeover of 2007, when United Nations observers fled the border, Hamas smuggled in more advanced medium-range rockets and expanded its attacks beyond Sderot and the Gaza belt.
Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Ashdod and Ofakim all fell victim to rockets as well. “Operation Cast Lead”, in which Israel destroyed much of Hamas' infrastructure and weapons supplies, and killed an estimated 700 Hamas terrorists, led to a temporary reprieve. However, Hamas recently went on the offensive again, firing Grad rockets on Netivot, Ofakim, Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon.
In your prayers this weekend, pray not only for the peace of Jerusalem but also for the peace of Sderot.