Report From Ira Kerem:
Thank you to all of our American friends who have called and written expressing their concern over what is happening in Gaza and how it impacts on life in Hof Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi.
In our region, things are relatively quiet. Missiles have fallen into open fields but none have hit homes, public buildings or have hurt individuals in the region. I spent the day in Kiryat Malachi which is now in range of missiles from Gaza (one actually hit Kiryat Gat) but people were out on the streets and in the stores and it felt like a regular sunny day. So far, Kiryat Malachi has not had a bomb planted in the town, not had a suicide bomber blow up there, and not had a missile hit it.
Even though 4 kibbutzim and a moshav are situated 3 miles or less from the Gaza border, recent missile fire is aimed at their maximum range in an attempt to create a sense of insecurity to as many Israelis as possible. A missile hit the outskirts of Ashdod to make that point.
Revital tells me that our kibbutzim and moshavim have not been hit. Of course, people stayed home today and close to shelters. The whole region is uneasy and it is doubtful if schools in the region will be held Tuesday when the Hanukah vacation comes to an end.
Rocket-alert sirens are going off on a frequent basis and people are feeling nervous in the city of Ashkelon and in Hof Ashkelon.
In the meantime, Phoenix and Tucson must be thanked for the creation of Hof Ashkelon's emergency communication's center. It has been fully staffed by the army and has been in operation for the last two days. TV crews and notables have come by to visit and to see how the region in cooperation with the police, the army, and the government stay in touch with the 19 communities of Hof Ashkelon.
Portland should also be thanked for having paid for the emergency governing center where the Hof Ashkelon municipal departments are now located underground and from where they are providing services to all who are in need.
Hopefully, the ability of Hamas to carry out serious and accurate missile attacks has been crippled, however even under air force attack, they were able to kill a 50 year old man in Netivot.
Let us hope and pray that the residents of the Jewish communities surrounding Gaza will be able to live in safety. Let us also hope that the Palestinian civilians in Gaza might also be able live in safety under a leadership that really cares for their welfare.
I am sure that we will have more to report in the coming days.