An Israeli civilian, the second in a single week, was killed on Wednesday yesterday during an Arab missile attack on Sderot.
Yaakov Yaakobov, a 40-year-old resident of this southern Israeli border town who worked at a local meat packing plant, was killed when one of the six missiles that was fired at Sderot yesterday scored a direct hit on the factory.
“A few guys were sitting around during their break, and just as I arrived, the warning was sounded,” said Sergei Efraimov, Yaakobov’s good friend. “Everyone ran inside, and then we heard a loud explosion and everything became full of black smoke and fire, but Yaakov did not manage to run. We found him on the floor, full of blood. I hurt so much for him.” Yaakobov, 40, worked at the factory in Sderot for four years. “He was happy here. A short while ago he bought a new car and was so proud of it,” said one employee.
The workers at the Of Kor plant had a litany of complaints yesterday. “We did not hear the warning,” said Larissa Elbaum, who was in the factory building. “The roofs of the factory are made of metal and do not protect us…”
Yaakov’s eleven year old orphaned son, Chanan, was interviewed on the Channel One Israel Television news.
Chanan explained that every time that the siren went off in Sderot, he would call his father toward him, since the siren could not be heard in the factory. Chanan commented that his father had used the fifteen seconds from the time that the siren rang out after he got the call from Chanan to gather all the workers into the factory shelter. Indeed, the factory’s internal television showed Yaakov waving his arms to alert the other workers to run into the shelter and how the missile, when it hit, exploded next to Yaakov, who did not make it into the shelter.
Chanan went on to say that his father noted that since the Israeli army had killed a prominent Hamas commander, he had asked the children not to go to school since Sderot could indeed expect to be hit hard by Hamas the next day.
Chanan sobbed that his father was right and that his children are alive and that his father is dead.
Staring at his father’s freshly dug grave, Chanan said, matter of factly, that everyone cares and cries when the Arabs who fire at us are killed and no one cares about Jews being murdered.
When one lists the clichés, slogans and promises spouted by politicians in recent weeks about the Kassam rockets landing in Sderot, against the statements made by the children in this city, the politicians have no chance.
No child is supposed to grow up with scenes of wounded and dead and vast destruction of property because the leaders of his country do not know how to provide him with security.
Fifteen seconds is the average time the grade school children of Sderot have from the moment the warning system is sounded and the Kassam rockets land.
There are 4,000 pupils every morning in the city’s schools, which include seven elementary schools, two high schools, and two junior high schools. Close to 2,000 pupils from Sderot have recently approached the psychological services for help. Four and a half psychologists serve the entire school system and school officials report that the service is on the verge of collapse. Two symptoms appear again and again among most of those asking for help: difficulty in concentrating and anxiety about the future.
HAMAS OFFERS END TO MISSILE FIRE FOR EVACUATION
The Hamas movement has issued a statement in which it has offered to end missile fire against the Israeli city of Sderot if its residents agree to leave the city.
In the first offer to halt the daily Kassam-class, short-range missile strikes, the military wing of Hamas has demanded the end of Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of the southern city of Sderot.
Sderot has been the target of daily missile strikes by Hamas, which has incurred casualties.
Sderot has a particular interest to the Palestinian Arabs who are descended from the the Arab village of Najd. Why? Because Sderot lies on the precise spot where Najd stood until the 1948 war. Najd’s former residents fled the town in the wake of the 1948 war and their descendents have been wallowing in the squalor of the
UNRWA refugee camp of Jabalya in northern Gaza, under the premise and promise of the “right of return” to Najd, as promised in UN resolution #194. The new books of the Palestinian educational system issued during the summer of 2000, focus the attention of all Palestinian children on their right to return to the homes and villages that were abandoned inside Israel after the 1948 war. These school books, taught in the UNRWA camps, provide precise maps for every Palestinian child to know where his grandparents fled from in 1948, in order to prepare himself to take back those villages in the future. Palestinian school books can be perused in translation at www.edume.org, while a state of the art computer program to help Palestinian school children view the villages that they wish to “return to” can be seen at www.PalestineRemembered.com.