President Shimon Peres told students at Shaar HaNegev Technological High School
on Monday that there would be “strong repercussions from Israel” if Hamas
continues firing rockets at Israeli children.
Referring to the four
rockets that had been fired into the South in recent days, two of them quite
close to the rocketproof educational facility – Peres said that he could not
understand the stupidity of the ongoing rocket campaign, and warned that if the
people in Gaza will continue in their attempts to destroy Israel, there will be
no choice but to retaliate, and Israel will destroy them.
“If they fire,
we will fire,” Peres said.
“Hamas and all terrorist organizations
affiliated with Hamas in Gaza will pay the price for trying to harm innocent
people and disrupt the opening of the school year in the Gaza
“Hamas needs to know that there will be strong repercussions from
Israel if it persists in firing rockets at Israeli children,” said the
The president was received by students waving national flags
and holding out long stemmed red roses at the school’s opening day. Shaar
HaNegev Technological High School was built at a cost of NIS 110 million and has
a student population of 1,200.
He praised the students and residents of
the South in general for their stoicism in the face of the onslaught of rockets
from Gaza and proving that, regardless of the security situation, they could
continue to study, to be active and to be creative.
“The State of Israel
is proud of you,” he said.
Peres, who loves to be surrounded by young
people, sat down at a desk in a grade nine classroom and happily joined in the
student activities, even to the extent of raising his hand when seeking
permission to say something.
Aware of the rapidity with which the world
is changing, Peres said that in 10 years from now, it would be
It is important for Israel as a small nation that its
youth grow to be more advanced than its forebears, he said.
nostalgic, Peres harked back to his own days in the ninth grade, and said he was
certain that the current grade 9 would do much better than he did because it has
greater potential, and, in the protected environment of the school has greater
Alon Shuster, the head of the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council,
noted that Peres could have easily gone to a school much closer to home in the
Jerusalem area, but instead had opted, despite the rocket assault the previous
day – to celebrate with the students of Shaar HaNegev, not just the opening of
the new school year, but the opening of their new school. This was something
that should not be taken for granted, Shuster said.