Thanks to the generosity of UWI supporters who have now helped to build 17 bomb shelters, a large new shelter was deployed at a road safety school in Ashkelon that serves thousands of Israeli children.
United with Israel, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Sarasota (Florida), donated a large shelter for schoolchildren in the southern city of Ashkelon, which was delivered after the recent festival of Sukkot, shortly after the beginning of the new school year in Israel.
The Center for Traffic Safety Education, which received the donated shelter, teaches children from Kindergarten through Grade 6 how to be responsible commuters – whether on foot, as bicyclists or as motorists. The program is an integral part of the Ashkelon school curriculum, serving thousands of children ages 5 to 11 who reside in the vicinity of Ashkelon.
Due to the constant firing of missiles at southern and central Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, the school, which is generally open all year round, had been closed throughout the past summer and during the first few weeks of the school year. The school is not housed in a building; rather, a handful of caravans are used as offices and classrooms.
Due to the city’s relatively close proximity to Gaza, attacks on Ashkelon and throughout the South have been ongoing for several years, although they had intensified since the beginning of the summer. Since there was no bomb shelter to which the children could run for safety, they would go outside and lie on the floor, between caravans, with hands on their heads.
United with Israel founder Michael Gerbitz and David Zeit, executive director, were present for a dedication ceremony on November 3, which was attended by city officials and school staff, including Ashkelon Deputy Mayor Tomer Glam; Yossi Greenfield, Ashkelon head of security, and school director Ruth Attias. Approximately 30 first-grade children gave a singing performance.
UWI received a plaque from the road safety school and the City of Ashkelon thanking UWI supporters “for your love and care for the children of Ashkelon.”
“The expression of appreciation on all of their faces, children and adults alike, was so genuine,” Zeit said. “I wish that all of our UWI donors had been there to see it, but Michael and I were happy to be there to represent all of them.”
This Ashkelon shelter for schoolchildren is the 17th bomb shelter donated by United with Israel supporters since the organization’s founding.
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