(Communicated by the Office of the President)
Following the recent
events in southern Israel and the crisis facing the citizens in the region,
President Shimon Peres, today (Wednesday, 14 November 2012), visited Sderot and
one of its local schools. He was accompanied by Mayor David Bouskila, the heads
of the Gaza area regional councils and senior IDF Home Front Command officers.
President Peres met with schoolchildren, was given a situation update by
military sources and, at the request of the children, entered a bomb shelter in
the school and sat on the floor to speak with them about their feelings, fears
and the difficult situation they face living under rocket fire in Sderot.
At the start of his visit, Chen Malkiel, a fourth grade student at the
school, greeted President Peres and described the day to day life of the
children in Sderot. Chen told the President that, "We were born and were defined
as 'code red' children. We are children who live in fear and anxiety that at any
moment we will hear the code red siren, have to leave our games, our friends and
enter the safe rooms, four walls, without windows which are really horrible."
Chen thanked the president for coming and said, "thank you for coming. Our eyes
are on you as well Mr. President, hoping that you will do something so that it
will be peaceful, calm, secure and fun." When she finished speaking Chen took
the president, hand-in-hand, to show him the bomb shelter in the school.
President Peres said to the children, "I am here as a grandfather who feels
the pain of the mothers who can't sleep quietly at night. You should know that
you are a source of strength and courage for all the people of Israel. All the
children in Israel are proud of you. You are brave children who live in an
abnormal reality. I know how hard it is not to sleep at night, how hard it is
for your mothers and how much you want to lead a normal life. The State of
Israel must listen to the children in this region and protect them." President
Peres emphasized that the residents of the south must be treated equally and
even given preference and that shelters for all the residents must be completed
without any delay.
At the end of the visit President Peres conducted a press briefing and said,
"Hamas is solely responsible for this intolerable situation of rocket fire at
Israel. Hamas should control all the other organizations operating under its
nose with its tacit approval. We must cease the constant flow of funds to Gaza,
funds which are channeled directly to rockets and terror. The countries of the
world that in their self-righteousness transfer funds to Gaza, led by the Emir
of Qatar, cannot continue to do so. The world must see the reality that money in
Gaza equals terror."