Minister for Culture and Sport Limor Livnat spent much of Monday touring the
rocket-hit towns and cities of southern Israel, and dropped in on several
children’s entertainment events arranged by her ministry.
Livnat paid a visit to the Golden Tower Hotel, where entertainer Tzahi Noy,
soloist Yishai Lapidot and several other celebrities performed for the children
of Barzilai Hospital workers, who were being looked after in the hotel’s
“We will win, don’t be afraid,” Livnat told the children as
she danced on stage with the entertainers.
Etti Peretz, a 22-year-old
volunteer at the shelter, said she told her employers she would not be working
on Monday because she had to take care of the children.
“I prefer to be
here, it’s more important,” she said. “We’re trying to make the kids happy and
get them to forget what’s going on outside.”
Li’am, a nine-year-old girl
spending the day in the shelter, said she was enjoying herself, “because I can’t
hear the sirens and they’re scary, and I worry about my family and cousins when
they go off.”
Later in the day, after visiting several spots in the city
struck by rockets that day, Livnat praised the residents for their
She herself had to run for cover a number of times, as sirens
sounded across Ashkelon.
“The composure, endurance and support of the
residents of the South is a source of strength for the IDF’s operations,” Livnat
Speaking about a possible cessation of hostilities, she said that
“Hamas needs to understand we’ll only consider a cease-fire if there is total
quiet, allowing for complete, long-term security to return to the residents of
southern Israel. At the moment, rockets are still flying, so there’s nothing to
talk about with regard a cease-fire. If it takes a ground operation to defend
Israeli citizens, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Ashkelon bore the brunt of
several rocket salvos fired from Gaza during the course of the day, with at
least 15 hitting the city. They caused no injuries.
One rocket struck a
high school, smashing through a steel-reinforced concrete roof covering a water
Another hit an apartment complex, with residents taking cover
in their stairwells since the buildings lacked rocket-proof safe
Rachel Rochzer, 51, heard the sirens and grabbed her dog, Bissli,
before leaving her apartment and going into the stairwell with her friend
“We don’t have any kind of life; it’s war here,” Rochzer
“It has to end.”
A separate rocket struck the garden of Mira
Buzaglo’s home 2 meters from her cooking gas canisters. They narrowly avoided
being blown up.
Buzaglo said she was looking after her five-year-old
grandson when the sirens sounded, and took cover with him inside the house.
Neither she nor the child were injured, although she was visibly
Debris from the same rocket smashed the rear window of a car
belonging to Buzaglo’s neighbor, Niv Vachnish. The Vachnish home also lacked a
safe room, so Niv, his wife Osnat and their four children took cover under their
dining room table.
Bar Vachnish, 15, who was not at home at the time, has
already survived a close encounter with a Gaza rocket. Four years ago he was in
a shopping mall in Ashkelon that sustained a direct hit. He was unhurt, but has
suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since.
Micky Rosenfeld said that emergency services were working around the clock to
respond as quickly as possible.
More than 100 rockets were fired from
Gaza on Monday toward the major population centers in the South, including
Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other locales. At least 30 of the missiles were
intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.
pointed out that on previous days of Operation Pillar of Defense, the number of
daily rockets had been close to 200.