With some 600 rockets and mortars fired indiscriminately at Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip in the last two days, one couple has developed a creative response to transform destruction into hope.Since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Yedidya and Shiran Harush, residents of the southern village of Shlomit, have collected shrapnel from Qassam rockets fired at Israel from Gaza and turned them into necklaces.Their initiative, called Rocket Necklace, started when Yedidya, who grew up in Gush Katif, worked for the Jewish National Fund and was asked to bring a piece of shrapnel to the organization’s US national conference as a gift to then-Governor of California Jerry Brown.Aware he wouldn’t be able to bring shrapnel through security at Ben-Gurion Airport, he realized it wouldn’t be an obstacle if he turned the metal into jewelry. His wife, Shiran, soon suggested turning the shrapnel into necklaces for sale.
“We both liked the idea and started making the necklaces, and it felt almost therapeutic to work with the shrapnel from the rockets,” Yedidya told The Jerusalem Post. “Every time there’s a barrage of rockets, we pick up some shrapnel and start producing those necklaces. Last night, an apartment that I own in Sderot received a direct hit from a rocket. I took some shrapnel and we are going to make some more necklaces.”Most of the money raised through the sale of the necklaces is donated to the Jewish National Fund for the construction of bomb shelters in communities bordering the Gaza Strip. All shrapnel, Yedidya added, is first assessed by the police to ensure that it is safe.“Most of our customers are from overseas. They are really struck by the idea of our strength and our attitude to life,” Yedidya said.“Even in the darkest and most negative times, we turn that into something positive. It’s an amazing message to the world. We are the people of Israel, and we don’t war. Instead, we focus on light and positivity.”Each hand-crafted necklace requires 1.5 hours of work to produce. The couple have produced approximately 1,000 necklaces to date, priced at $120 per piece. To celebrate Independence Day this week, they will be on sale for $75.“We were always raised and taught to love the country, the people of Israel and to always give back,” said Yedidya.“We never ask what we can receive from the country, but only what we can do for it.”