The hands of the clock at the health clinic in the city stopped at 7:11 a.m.

At that precise time, a Grad rocket exploded in the heart of the city Tuesday morning for the first time since the end of the Israeli military operation in Gaza.

The rocket fell not far from schools, in an area where hundreds of children walk to school every morning. This time, the rocket preceded them by a few minutes.

Rocket schrapnel damaged cars and buildings, including the health clinic, where about 10 people were located at the time of the explosion.

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Three of the people suffered from shock and required treatment, including the cleaning woman, who had been taking out the trash.

For fear of continued rocket attacks on the city, the municipal parents committee announced that school would be canceled. The Ashkelon municipality and the Home Front Command thought differently, creating confusion among the parents.

Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin instructed that school be held as usual, so as to return the city to routine life as quickly as possible, but only about half the pupils showed up.

“It is impossible for the parents committee to make decisions without consulting security officials,” said a municipality source.

Yesterday morning, school was held as usual in Ashkelon in all educational institutions and kindergartens.

Israeli Army Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan instructed soldiers of the Home Front Command to accompany the pupils to school. This morning, a company of officers will deploy in Ashkelon schools in order to raise the pupils’ sense of security.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.