Sderot gets projectiles, politicians, press and promises

Four rockets hit Sderot after Shavuot, causing no human casualties; Monday Kassam victim Shirel Friedman laid to rest.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
A relatively quiet Shavuot holiday came to an end shortly after sunset Wednesday, when four Kassam rockets were fired at Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip. But while the barrages slackened during the holiday, the pilgrimage of politicians bringing press and promises to the fire zones in the western Negev continued. With the onset of darkness Tuesday, two Kassams struck - one in Sderot and one outside a nearby kibbutz. An hour later, three more rockets were fired, including one that fell short and landed inside the Gaza Strip. Two of the four rockets fired Wednesday night hit short of Ashkelon, and the other two landed near Sderot, police said. But this time - a day after Sderot buried a resident killed by a Kassam - no injuries were reported to humans, although a horse was mortally wounded. On Tuesday, Shirel Friedman was buried in Sderot's municipal cemetery, the first person killed by a Kassam in 2007. Friedman had been doing errands with her mother as evening fell, and had offered to run home to get her mother a sweater when the rocket hit. Friedman, 32, is survived by her parents and two older brothers, who requested that press not attend her funeral. Interior Minister Roni Bar-On became the latest politician on the hit list of Sderot activist Alon Davidi when, according to Davidi, "Although the family members requested that Bar-On, who was visiting the city, not speak at the funeral, the minister took advantage of the occasion for cynical, cold political gain." This was the second time in less than two days that Bar-On made the trek to the beleaguered region - and he was not alone. Vice Premier Shimon Peres visited the nearby Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, where he met with the heads of the Eshkol, Sha'ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon councils, as well as with activists from the area's agricultural communities. "We are in the midst of a war of nerves, and this time, as in the past, we will win. The residents of Sderot and the surrounding areas are displaying heroism and strength," Peres said, speaking at Kibbutz Nir Am. He added that in a war, one must increase action and reduce idle talk. "Those shooting the Kassams are not held to the law requiring three readings for a bill to pass and don't demand three bidders on projects," he said, calling on the government to speed through legislation proposed by MKs Shai Hermesh (Kadima) and Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beiteinu) to increase funding for the area. On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon is also expected to visit regional councils in the area, "to learn from up close the special needs of residents of local kibbutzim and moshavim." Simhon's trip will include a visit to a local potato festival, but Sderot - which earlier this week was the scene of tense standoffs between police and locals when Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited - is not on his itinerary. Instead, the town plans to host a delegation of local leaders from the North led by Ma'alot City Council head Shlomo Buhbout.