Don't forget us, children tell Itzik

Knesset speaker visits Sderot school in honor of Knesset's 59th anniversary.

Daila Itzik 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Daila Itzik 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In a small room adjacent to the lobby of the Abuksis school in Sderot, a memorial has been erected in honor of Ella Abuksis, a high school student who died from injuries sustained from a Kassam rocket. Students in the all-girls school, named after Ella, said that they often think of her as a casualty of the ongoing war, one in which thousands of rockets have been fired into Israel and hundreds of targeted air strikes have been launched in the Gaza Strip. "We all feel like the state doesn't care about us, like the government is willing to let us all die," said Sarah, a 14-year-old student at the school. "We usually feel really alone here." On Tuesday, the 130 students at the school were treated to a visit by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, in honor of the Knesset's 59th birthday. Across the country, 96 MKs met with students, many visiting the schools that they themselves attended years ago. "This is an important effort that I wish we could make once a week, instead of once a year," said Itzik. "These children are the true future of democracy, teaching them about democracy and showing them a more positive side of the Knesset is of enormous benefit to the state." Dozens of students prepared questions for Itzik, ranging from her fondest memory - the birth of her children, to the process by which a bill becomes a law. Most of the questions, however, focused on the government's policy towards Sderot. "Why, for so long, was nothing done to help us? And what can you do now to make it better?" asked Yael, a sixth grade student. Itzik told students that she had no easy answers, but that she supported harsher military operations to target militants in the Gaza Strip. "I do not know exactly what led to the decision to stop the siege... but serious steps need to be taken to ensure that the children of this school feel safe in their school again," said Itzik. The speaker also urged the female students to consider a career in politics, stating that she herself had never seen the reason why more women should not seek leadership careers. "Maybe, in 10 years, I will come back to visit and some of you will be MKs. Maybe I will be prime minister," said Itzik. The Knesset speaker also staged a special surprise for one lucky Sderot resident, throwing a bar mitzva party for 13-year-old Yosef Sara. Itzik heard Sara on the radio as she left her house Tuesday morning, telling a radio host that he feared that no one would attend his bar mitzva party because of the ongoing rocket attacks. "I was touched by the story and knew that I had to make sure that his celebration was full of joy," said Itzik. Following her meeting with the Abuksis students, Itzik escorted the bashful bar mitzva boy to a small preliminary party, including cake, a DJ, and phone calls from his favorite celebrities. Knesset Director-General Avi Balashnikov also took it upon himself to hoist Sara onto a chair while clapping girls cheered and sang. "I am thankful that she came. And I hope that she doesn't forget about us," said Sara. "Being here has made me feel some of the pressure that the Sderot residents must feel every day, and the constant fear from the rockets," said Itzik, who expressed visible concern of rocket attacks as she walked around the city. Half an hour after Itzik left, two rockets landed just south of the city in an open area. "These rockets keep continuing and we keep persevering," said Sderot mayor Eli Moyal. "I see new hope for the current government treating this as a national issue of the utmost importance."