With relatively little fanfare, rockets continue to rain down on Sderot and environs: two Kassams on Saturday night, another one Sunday night, another on Monday, and three mortar shells on Tuesday. One resident was hospitalized for shock, but the townspeople refuse to give up, and celebrated the naming of a new El Al Boeing 777 plane "Sderot" on Monday.
Free Flights for Ten
At a ceremony in the office of Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal, the top brass of El Al Airlines announced that the new plane, the most modern in the world, would be named Sderot. El Al Chairman Israel (Izzy) Borovich, Director Chaim Romano, and Workers Union Chairman Yossi Levy presented Mayor Moyal with a small model of the new plane, and invited him to choose ten local youngsters to fly on the maiden flight from New York to Tel Aviv at the end of July.
Moyal took his guests on a tour of the locations and buildings hit by Kassam rockets, and to see the collection of hundreds of Kassams stored at the local police station.
Three people were killed in Kassam rocket attacks in Sderot several weeks ago - bringing the total to eleven. Though fewer rockets have fallen upon the city in recent weeks, the uncertainty and dread of a sudden "Color Red" rocket warning alarm continue to plague the residents, particularly the children.
Though government reinforcement of schools and homes has been proceeding at a slow pace - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said this week that the city should never expect a state of total security - help for the city has come from several directions. Arutz-7's IsraelNationalRadio recently ran a successful internet radio telethon, Israelis from various cities have taken upon themselves to make some of their Sabbath purchases in Sderot stores, and now a Barbecue Week for Sderot has been called, timed to coincide with the traditional barbecues of U.S. Independence Day.
The latest attack - three mortar shells from Gaza - occurred Tuesday at noon as a group of university professors from the United States visited Sderot. They came to see the effects of almost non-stop rocket attacks on the city, though they had not counted on being in the center of the action. The group, organized by the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Agency, was rushed away from the site.
The campaign has been called by the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva, which itself is in the forefront of the efforts to raise morale and help people during the city's trying times. Known as "BBQ Week for Sderot, July 4-10th,” the campaign features barbeques in homes and neighborhoods dedicated to helping the rocket-beleaguered city.
The yeshiva is hoping for local barbecues to be held, at which guests can donate towards several causes: re-enforcing Yeshiva campus roofing and building bomb shelters to protect the students from harm; supporting local businesses that have been harmed by the rockets and the resulting drop in customers; and offering other assistance in the framework of the "Heart to Heart" project.
Five such barbecues have already been scheduled in the New York-New Jersey area - including an all-women's event in Far Rockaway - and several others have been scheduled or are in the works for other locations in the U.S. To invite a speaker and presentation, or for more information on holding barbecues or other fundraisers, contact [email protected].