Professor Avi Levy, head of the Hemdat Darom educational institution in Sdot Negev, told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that he was hopeful the region of southern Israel would be safe enough to begin the school year. For 14 years, he said, his college has been dealing with security issues. The institution is not protected against rocket attacks, and the constant sounding of the Red Color alert warning system has played havoc with teaching plans and school activities for years, he said.
Part of the problem is location, said Levy. “The government authorized installing rocket defenses on all buildings belonging to colleges within seven kilometers of Gaza (elementary and high school buildings located up to 15 km from Gaza are protected as well). We are located a few hundred meters from that line, so we don't qualify. And we have had experienced a significant increase in student population in recent years.”
The area around the school was targeted with hundreds of rockets during Operation Protective Edge – and as a result, the school has been closed since early July. Levy said that the Homefront Command's safety plan for the area of the Sdot Negev Regional Council was “antiquated, because of the changes in population. As a result, all we have are two shelters and two protected rooms.
“Because we don't have facilities to protect students, we are truly the prisoners of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who effectively decided when we can have classes and when we can't,” Levy added.
“We have been suffering with this impossible to tolerate situation for 14 years,” Levy said. “During war time, we are subject to endless barrages of missiles, and during periods of 'peace' we suffer from the 'routine' rocket fire, in which Gaza terrorists fire one or two rockets a day. We cannot allow either of these situations to continue,” Levy added.