Instead of Carefree Camping, Israel’s Children Run for Cover


Instead of Carefree Camping, Israelâs Children Run for Cover

Israeli Children in Camp

July 11, 2014

As everywhere else, Israel’s children waited for summer camp all year long, but unlike their peers abroad, their anticipation was crushed as Hamas’s relentless rockets rain down on Israel. Forced to stay home, close to bomb shelters, the children are living in extremely traumatic conditions.

Most summer camps located within a radius of 40 kilometers of Gaza are closed under instructions from the IDF Home Front Command. The directive covered communities close to Gaza as well as the larger towns and cities of Ashkelon, Beersheba, Ashkelon, and Kiryat Malachi.

But in Sderot, one of the most targeted cities where children live under constant threat, local Chabad representatives have decided to run their annual summer day camp for kindergarten children as usual.

According to Rabbi Moshe Zev Pizem who leads one of Chabad’s 312 centers in Israel, the day camp is held in a safe area, and 95% of the children are attending. Parents are grateful that their children have some semblance of a summer camping experience in these dire circumstances, he said.

Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP) representatives are visiting homes in the targeted areas bearing treats for the children and creative activities to keep their minds off the stressful conditions.

There is really no place to hide other than in the shelters. Since we cannot bring the children to a safe place, we all decided we are going to go to the children, no matter where they are, including cities like Sderot -- cities that are right in the line of fire,”  said Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov, Associate Director of CTVP.

This week, CTVP brought clowns and balloon artists to the children in the areas sustaining the brunt of the rocket attacks. “Thankfully, we were able to distract them from the sirens and the explosions of falling rockets,” said Swerdlov.

Friday, the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge, saw no signs of calm. More than 50 rockets have fallen in Israeli territory on Friday, and over 600 since Monday, when Operation Protective Edge began. 

Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov is the Associate Director at CTVP:

“It is a very anxiety-filled situation, never knowing when or where the next rocket will hit. You can feel the tension and fear everywhere, especially among the children,” reports Rabbi Swerldov.

 

______________________________________________________________________________Chabad Terror Victims Project can be found on the web at www.ctvp.org

 

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