Col. Gil Shenhar of the IDF Home Front Command’s Southern District, has explained the instructions for holding communal Sabbath prayers in rocket-threatened cities.
Within a radius of 10 kilometers from Gaza, prayers are to be held only inside bomb shelters. This includes Sderot, Kfar Maimon, and the new homes of former Gush Katif residents in Yated and Yevul.
Within a radius of between 10 and 30 kilometers, prayers must be held in a building with a concrete roof, and with the participation of up to 100 people at a time. This area includes Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat, Ofakim and Netivot.
Within a radius of between 30 and 40 kilometers, prayers must be held in a building with a concrete roof, and with the participation of up to 300 people at a time. This area includes Be’er Sheva, Ashdod, Gedera, and Yad Binyamin.
The religious community is also advised to keep a radio tuned to the “Quiet Wave” near or in synagogues. Stations on the “Quiet Wave” broadcast silence, except for when an air raid siren occurs.
Worshipers are advised not to congregate outside after the prayers, nor to bring children.
A prayer written specifically for the besieged residents of southern Israel was approved this week by the Rishon LeTzion, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.