MKs surprised by Katyushas in Karmiel

Knesset members were lunching in the rocket-torn city when the sirens sounded.

Knesset members were in the midst of a makeshift lunch in the rocket-torn city of Karmiel when the siren sounded, tearing MKs away from their food and into a nearby shelter. Not even a Katyusha could tear MK David Azoulay (Shas) from his food, joked the MKs. At the time, they didn't know that nearly a dozen rockets were falling on Karmiel and its surrounding villages, and that Azoulay's brother-in-law would be among the day's injured. It was only when the group arrived at their next stop, at the Nahariya Government Hospital, that they saw the ambulances arriving, and Azoulay was notified that he had a relative among the injured. Doctors told the MK that his brother-in-law, Daniel Vaknin, would be alright. But the worried MK, who had spent the entire day on his cellphone arranging hundreds of Shabbat dinners for citizens who had fled their homes, stayed on at the hospital. The incident capped a somber day for the MKs, who had come as the forum of Knesset committee chairmen, led by MK Ruhama Avraham (Kadima), the chairwoman of the Knesset's House Committee. Although they arrrived to talk with local municipalities about how they could help in Haifa the day after the war, MKs found they could not escape the present day. Rockets chased the group across the North, and deserted streets greeted them in every town. In each municipality, the nearly identical words awaited them: Please don't forget about us when this war is over. In many of the communities visited by the MKs, the fiscal needs were readily apparent. In the hospital in Nahariya, where Azoulay's brother-in-law was being treated, more than a dozen residents of the nearby Arab village of Majd el-Kurum sat awaiting news of three young children who were injured in an attack earlier that day. That village, like many others, has suffered from frequent failures in the alarm system so that residents were caught unaware when the rockets fell.