On this past Tuesday, the day before Fatima Slotzker, age 57, was blown to bits by a missile in Sderot, Batya Kattar, the head of the Sderot Parents Association, convened an emergency meeting to ask the government for full protection of their classrooms.

They had been in court that day, where their request had been turned down by the Israel State Attorneys office, whose statement to the court claimed that there is no need for the protection of the classrooms, since if there is a protected area the children can run to, when the siren is sounded, that should suffice

The situation in Sderot is that some schools are fully protected, some schools are partially protected while some schools are not protected at all.

Gal Alon, special advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, answered concerns about the lack of protection of the schools in Sderot and the Western Negev by writing that “As to the protection of school classrooms – the decision as of the way to protect these classes (including which classes should be protected) was taken by professionals”.

“Decisions…taken by professionals”?

Can any parent anywhere imagine what it is like to send a child to an unprotected class room, in a place like Sderot, which is fired upon every single day by missiles?

How can a child pay attention in a classroom, study normally, when he’s ready any second to hear the daily siren: ‘Color Red’ and run through the hallways, in 15 seconds with all of the kids, from the other un-protected class rooms?

What does a parent tell his 3rd grader, when he wants to go back to the second grade because the second grade classroom is protected and his class is not? Or when he’s scared to leave the house and walk to school?

What goes through a parent’s mind, when he sends his kid every single day to an unprotected school?

After all, there isn’t a neighborhood, community, street, person in Sderot that hasn’t experienced a missile falling near by…

How did Israel get itself into this situation, where the government, which is supposed to give a solution to this intolerable reality, does little or nothing to solve the problem of daily katyusha rockets falling in populated civilian areas? They stubbornly refuse to provided the necessary protection to keep the children of Sderot and the Western Negev safe, while adding insult to injury, making them feel like second class citizens, unworthy of the protection of Israel States Attorney’s office or the allocation of necessary funds to at least protect these children while they are at school.

Israel, a Western, democratic state in the 21 century, weighs the life of a child with the cost to the government budget..

Yes, the Sderot children kids get free summer camps, free activities and free weekends.

This is like giving an aspirin to a cancer patient…

Shortly after the early morning murder of Fatima Slotzker, with the opening of the business day in Israel., both the IDF radio and Voice of Israel Radio newsreels reassured their listeners that Israel’s stock market had not been affected by the lethal attack. What a relief that Israel can go about “business as usual” while the Western Negev is under daily bombardment.

What other explanation is there as to why the rest of the country seems to ignore the Western Negev being fired at by rockets that have so far killed 23 people and traumatized the lives of thousands of people who have lived in fear of their lives for the past 5 years while they attempt going about their normal daily routine in the Western Negev?

Next week marks the thirty third “yartzeit” of David Ben-Gurion.

Israel’s first Prime Minister must be rolling over in his grave to see what has become of his dream to awaken the people of Israel to the vitality of the Negev for Israel’s future.