At least three Israelis dead, dozens wounded after barrage of rockets
Three Israelis have been killed and dozens have been wounded since Hamas and Islamic Jihad began sending non-stop barrage of rockets into Israel over the weekend.
A rocket was fired towards Ashkelon on Sunday afternoon, hitting a factory in Ashkelon, injuring three people. One was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and later died of his wounds. Two more people are still considered to be in critical condition.
A 60-year-old man was directly hit by a Hamas rocket and killed Sunday in the southern city of Sderot, near KIbbutz Yad Mordechai. The man was driving in his car and the rocket hit his vehicle just as a bus full of soldiers were passing by.
The man was evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, where he was pronounce dead – two others were reportedly injured in the attack. Following the death, the road the driver was traveling on, Route 34 as well as Highway 232 have been shut down to traffic.
The direct hit took place as President Reuven Rivlin was touring Gaza border communities.
“When we arrived, we saw a vehicle completely crushed after it was hit by a rocket, a 60-year-old man was lying next to the car unconscious,” said Ravit Martinez, a Magen David Adom paramedic.
“He suffered from a shrapnel wound in the thigh and lost a lot of blood. We attempted to give him life-saving medical treatment…on the way we had to perform CPR and evacuated him to the hospital as he was in critical condition,” the paramedic said.
The fact that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired some 300 rockets toward Israel even as their senior leadership convenes in Cairo for talks shows that this latest escalation premeditated. It began with the trickling of rockets early last week, followed by incendiary airborne devices, provocations along the Gaza Strip fence, and then the latest barrage.
As Hamas prepares for the holy month of Ramadan, which begins this week, it would like to extract more concessions from Israel and present them to Gazans a victory vis-à-vis Israel. Its chief goal is to make Israel transfer more cash from Qatar so that it can pay its employees running the Gaza Strip.
The fact that the Qatari intermediary has not shown up in the region proves that funds have already been transferred. But Hamas wants more funds, and Israel has so far vehemently refused.
Senior Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar, unlike Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, knows how to read Israeli society, having spent decades locked up in an Israeli prison. He knows Israel will shy away from a full-fledged confrontation in the Gaza Strip just before Independence Day and the Eurovision Song Contest. That is why Sinwar took a calculated risk by telling his operatives to launch rockets on Israel even while he was away in Cairo.
It is still unclear how this latest escalation will end, but what is clear is that Israel’s killing of two Hamas operatives on Friday after two Israeli troops were shot on the Gaza fence, was not the trigger for the massive rocket barrage.
The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization – the second largest armed faction in Gaza – is responsible for the latest escalation in Gaza and Israel.
In recent weeks, PIJ, whose rocket arsenal is larger than that of Hamas, has conducted a string of attacks that it did not take responsibility for. The goal of these attacks appears to be the sabotage of Egyptian-led efforts to stabilize Gaza.
PIJ’s attacks include the launching of a rocket on April 29, which exploded in the Mediterranean Sea near a southern Israeli city. More recently, on May 3, the PIJ conducted a sniper attack on Israel Defense Forces soldiers on the Gaza border, during a Hamas-organized border riot. That shooting wounded an Israeli officer and a female soldier. It is that event that triggered the current flare-up. Starting on Saturday, hundreds of rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza.
Israel accused the PIJ’s commander in northern Gaza, Bahaa Abu Al Ata, of being behind the April 29 rocket attack, which no group took responsibility for.
One possibility is that PIJ’s Syria-based radical secretary-general, Ziad Nakhala, who is extremely close to Iran and a frequent visitor to it, passed along orders to the faction’s commanders in Gaza to keep attacks on Israel going.
Egypt has worked hard to push Gaza away from the brink – efforts that the PIJ, Iran’s direct proxy, is apparently trying to undo.
The United States condemned on Saturday the launch of some 250 rockets at Israel and backed the Jewish state’s right to self-defense.
The Israel Defense Forces responded with airstrikes after terrorists inside the Gaza Strip launched a barrage of rockets at Israel on Saturday.
“The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel. We call on those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self-defense against these abhorrent attacks.”
U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt took to Twitter to condemn the rocket fire on Israel.
“Hamas and PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] have engaged in yet another deplorable acts of terrorism, indiscriminately firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilian communities. The U.S. stands firmly in support of Israel’s right to self-defense and we call on the international community to do the same.”
200+ rockets rained down on the homes of Israeli families today. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/XZoqPabuQ6
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 4, 2019
Israel-Gaza Clashes Escalate Dramatically After 500 Rockets
Clashes between Israel and Gaza have begun to expand beyond the usual periphery of the Gaza-Israel border. Where will this conflcit head? What’s going on so far? IDF expert Jacques Neriah and our Eylon Levy and Daniel Tsemach analyze.
Life Under the Umbrella of Gaza’s Rockets
Israeli residents near the Israel-Gaza border have, for years, been terrorized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s rockets. With little time to run to bomb shelters and constantly under the threat, how do they cope? Resident Or Bar Lev discusses with our Pierre Klochendler.
Watch IAF fighter jets strike a Hamas underground rocket manufacturing facility in Gaza. Secondary explosions caused as a result of the explosives that were in the facility are clearly visible pic.twitter.com/62IDdEgQIY
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) May 5, 2019
507 rockets fired at israel since yesterday
361 rockets crossed into Israel(the rest fell in Gaza)
150 rockets intercepted by Iron Dome
30 rockets fell in dense civilian populated areas
181 rockets fell in open areas #FreeGazafromHamas pic.twitter.com/d87boEbSme
— Israel in the UK 🇮🇱🤝🇬🇧 (@IsraelinUK) May 5, 2019
A Recap of the Past 24 Hours
Wherever you are in the world, whether you are now going to sleep or just starting your day…you need to know that for the second day in a row, Israelis are waking up to rocket fire from Gaza.
Rockets Out of Gaza – replay of Facebook Livetream featuring HR’s Exec Director Daniel Pomerantz
As hundreds of rockets rained on Israel from terror organizations in Gaza, HonestReporting was hard at work. Executive Director Daniel Pomerantz gave this update in a Facebook livestream. A livestream does not have the same polish and quality as an edited video, but it has the advantage of being…live.
Agam’s Message to the World
It’s 79° and sunny in Ashkelon today. 5 year old Agam should be out playing with her friends, not running to bomb shelters.
A picture of a young pregnant mother protecting her two-year-old daughter with her body during rocket fire on southern Israel over the weekend has gone viral.
According to Hebrew news website Mako, the dramatic photo was taken by the child’s father, who was protecting the two from above.
The family lives in Moshav Ge’a in southern Israel, a few miles from the city of Ashkelon. The area has taken massive rocket fire from Gaza over the last two days.
Lihi Piatzsky, who is expecting her second child, said, “We’re very well trained for this, when we’re in an area with a secure space, or when there is no secure space, we defend [our child]. … We listen to orders from Home Front Command. That’s what we do without thinking very much and very quickly.”
“This was the first time the child experienced this,” she added, “because most of the time [the rocket attacks] were at night.”
“She’s all of two years old. I don’t know how, I just protected her, I said to her that we’re protecting her because there was a siren, even though she really wanted to get up and asked to get up,” Lihi said.
Military authorities have now confirmed that an Israeli civilian vehicle traveling through the Erez junction in the western Negev on Sunday was targeted and hit by an advanced anti-tank missile fired by terrorist groups in Gaza.
The driver of that vehicle succumbed to the wounds he sustained in that attack.
The incident indicates a very serious escalation in the conflict with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who have taken from storage their most advanced Kornet missiles, and are now threatening the main traffic arteries in the western Negev next to Gaza.
Read: In Preparation for Invasion, Hamas, Jihad Deploying Portable Russian Kornet Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
Many residents of the Gaza envelope have begun to leave the area in anticipation of a long conflict, according to local sources.
Hundreds of friends and neighbors defied instructions from the IDF Homefront Command to attend the funeral of Ashkelon resident Moshe Agadi on Sunday afternoon.
Agadi, 58, was killed early Sunday when a rocket fired from Gaza hit his home.
The crowds who showed up to accompany the father of four on his final journey included MK Avi Dichter, who became the target of the mourners’ rage when the ceremony was over. Several demanded that the government take harsher action against the terrorist groups in Gaza.
Dozens of police officers and soldiers provided security at the cemetery. The funeral was punctuated by the sound of explosions from Gaza.
Out of concern that the mourners were exposed to rocket fire, the funeral rites were over in less than half an hour. Soldiers asked those in attendance to leave the cemetery quickly.
Tali, a relative of Agadi, said at the funeral, “It’s just unbelievable. I can’t believe it. He spent all Saturday reading Psalms, and when the siren went off he meant to go directly to the safe room, but he didn’t make it.”
During a red alert siren, residents of the area near Ofakim, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Gaza, have 45 seconds to reach a protected area. It’s a short time window for anyone to dash to safety, but even more challenging for the 120 residents of the ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran home for people with severe physical and mental disabilities, most of whom have limited to no mobility.
“It’s a very complicated situation, and these are really challenging days for us,” said Avi Wortzman, the CEO of the branch, one of four ALEH residential homes across Israel.
“We have people with cognitive and physical disabilities who are completely dependent on staff to get them to safe spaces,” he said. “These people can’t move on their own, and we need to make sure that within 45 seconds everyone is in a safe place.”
ALEH is the largest organization in Israel working with people of all ages with severe mental and physical disabilities. There are about 450 full-time residents at the four branches in Jerusalem, Gedera, Bnei Barak, and the Negev, and more than 12,000 people come for outpatient therapy.
Live reaction of the rocket impact in Ashkelon#IsraelUnderFire
— StandWithUs (@StandWithUs) May 4, 2019
Palestinians in Gaza cheer and chant “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as rockets targeting Israeli civilians are launched from nearby. pic.twitter.com/I7vA5dpRfU
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 4, 2019
An Israeli aircraft shot and killed a Hamas field commander on Sunday afternoon by targeting his car near the Sidra area in central Gaza City, the Ma’an news agency reported.
IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis tweeted that the deceased was responsible for the transfer of funds from Iran to the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.
The report cited the Ministry of Health in Gaza, which stated: “A citizen was martyred and three others were wounded by Israeli fire at car in the center of Gaza City.” The ministry confirmed the “martyred” was Hamed Ahmed al-Khudari, 34, a Hamas activist from Gaza City.
Ma’an noted that this is the first attempt to assassinate Hamas officials in central Gaza City, during the current wave of escalation, “while a number of militants were martyred during field missions near the border.”
The IDF Spokesperson on Sunday issued a broader statement saying that “a joint IDF and Shin bet operation eliminated Hamed Ahmed al-Khudari, born in ’85, a resident of the Gaza Strip, who was in charge of large cash transfers from Iran to the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Khudari was the owner of the money exchange company Hamed Llasrapa / Alupak, which was declared by Israel as a terrorist organization in June 2018.”
We just targeted Hamed Ahmed Khudari, a Gazan terrorist responsible for transferring Iranian funds to Hamas & PIJ in Gaza, helping fund their rocket fire at Israelis.
Transferring Iranian money to Hamas & the PIJ doesn’t make you a businessman. It makes you a terrorist. pic.twitter.com/WvGEB16r4h
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 5, 2019
Iranian Friday Sermon by Mohammad Baqer Ebadi: Netanyahu Should Learn How to Swim in the Mediterranean, It’s the Only Way He Can Escape pic.twitter.com/vLkLMooMpH
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) May 5, 2019
Headlines you didn’t see:
“Notre Dame cathedral burns, France SAYS”
“America CLAIMS World Trade Center destroyed in plane attack”
“France wins World Cup, ACCORDING to FIFA”
Headlines you do see:
“Israel SAYS Hamas fired 200 rockets. The IDF retaliated with airstrikes.” pic.twitter.com/Q0QvcXnTtb
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) May 5, 2019
Once again no effort was made to inform viewers of the fact that “officials in Gaza” in fact means the terror group Hamas. That omission is especially relevant because, in contrast to the impression given in the BBC’s video, the baby concerned was not killed as a result of Israeli actions but by a short-fall rocket fired by one of the Gaza Strip based terror factions.
Moreover, we can determine that the BBC knows that because in a written report published on the BBC News website on May 4th we find the following:
“One Israeli was killed by shrapnel, while Israeli fire killed four Palestinians, including a mother and her baby daughter, Gaza officials say.
However, Israel said the mother and baby were killed by a Palestinian rocket that fell short of its target.”
An additional article published on the morning of May 5th states:
“But Hamas, which controls Gaza, says a total of four Palestinians have been killed.
It says the dead include a woman and her 14-month-old daughter. But Israel says the mother and baby may have been killed by a Palestinian rocket that fell short of its target.”
Notably, despite multiple complaints from BBC Watch, the BBC has still not corrected false claims concerning the death of another baby girl in the Gaza Strip which it broadcast and published a year ago.
BBC Watch has written to the BBC News website regarding this inaccurate and misleading video.
Earlier today we complained to Daily Mail editors about the following claim in a May 5 article about the latest round of violence initiated by terror groups in Gaza:
We noted – both in our complaint and in a tweet to the Daily Mail journalist – that the IDF had released a statement hours prior to the article insisting that the baby and her mother were killed by an errant Palestinian rocket, not an Israeli strike.
To their credit, editors promptly responded to our complaint and amended the article to note the IDF response:
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) May 5, 2019
CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted corrections of numerous Deutsche Presse-Agentur photo captions which had erroneously referred to hundreds of rocket attacks on Israel as “alleged,” as if it wasn’t yet certain that Palestinians in Gaza have carried out hundreds of these attacks since Saturday morning.
The misleading captions had stated:
Over the past 24 hours, more than 200 rockets have been allegedly fired from Gaza into Israel killing one civilian and injuring dozens, in retaliation, the Israeli army conducted dozens of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, killing at least four people.
In response to communication from CAMERA, editors at DPA, the German press agency, immediately and commendably corrected all of the captions, removing the word “allegedly.”
Iranian-born Australian Shia Muslim Imam and President of the Islamic Association of South Australia Imam Mohamad Tawhidi, called out Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and fellow congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for their lack of condemnation in Hamas’ actions over the weekend.
Close to 600 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the security situation escalated over the weekend, as red alerts continue to rock the country from the Gaza border, to the south and even central Israel. according to the Israeli Air Force.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for three Israeli deaths, as well as the scores who were wounded, through the barrage of rockets they fired into Israeli territory over the past 24 hours.
Tawhidi has taken several jabs at Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota in the past, who he called “absolute frauds and Islamists” adding that they “promote hatred against the Jewish people.
“Ilhan does not believe that the Jewish people or the Jewish nation has the right to exist,” he said, “Shame on her and shame on those who voted for her ad are staying silent. We must do everything that we can to promote peace, and make sure that the American government does not allow these people a platform.”
Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi slammed recent IDF strikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, claiming Israel’s policy “turned Gaza into the largest open-air prison in the world.”
Ashrawi said she mourned the deaths of the 13 Palestinians killed so far in the attacks.
She mentioned by name a pregnant woman and her 14 month-old child Saba.
Ashrawi also slammed the administration of US President Donald Trump for his “blind and amoral” support of Israel.
Roughly 600 Hamas rockets had been fired on Israel in the last 24 hours.
Three people have been confirmed dead and several more are in critical condition. Dozens have been wounded.
While children in Israel ran for shelter from incoming rocket fire from Gaza, these children in Gaza graduated from kindergarten.
Hamas is robbing the children of Gaza of their future, and attempts to rob the children of Israel of theirs. We won’t let them. No country would. pic.twitter.com/mS2etmf1KE
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 5, 2019
The far-left IfNotNow organization included a Palestinian terrorist in a list of Palestinian casualties whose deaths it said was “heartbreaking.”
On Saturday, the organization retweeted a tweet by Al Jazeera English producer Linah Alsaafin who listed Imad Mohammad Nseir as one of five Palestinians killed on Saturday, along with a pregnant Palestinian woman and her son, who the IDF says was killed by a faulty Hamas rocket.
Imad Mohammad Nseir, who was 22-years old, was a terrorist in a rocket launching unit of the Kataeb Humat al-Aqsa organization, a small, Islamist group active in Gaza.
“This is heartbreaking, and horrifying. Israel must stop murdering Palestinian civilians. We stand with Gaza tonight and always. #GazaUnderAttack,” wrote IfNotNow when it retweeted Alsaafin’s tweet.
Kataeb Humat al-Aqsa posted a video on YouTube where an armed member of the group read out Nseir’s will, while photos of Nseir’s funeral showed him wrapped in a funeral shroud emblazoned with the terror group’s emblem of two assault rifles flanking an image of the Dome of the Rock shrine.
The New York Times also identified Nseir as “a militant.”
— The Mossad (@TheMossadIL) May 4, 2019
How much more contrived propaganda can we bear? https://t.co/0N5Xm3hcjF
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) May 5, 2019
Military planners of the Islamist movement that governs this territory conducted a missile test today that involved shooting a salvo of the weapons into the waters off the coast, in preparation for the eventual defeat of the Zionist Entity and the consequent forcing of all its Jews into those waters.
Hamas fired the rockets in coordination with several other factions with a presence in Gaza, both as a warning to Israel and as part of a strategic effort to maintain readiness if and when the hoped-for victory over the Jews occurs and the faithful can finally achieve the vision that Palestinian leaders of the 1940’s first promulgated: driving the Jews into the sea. Once that occurs, a spokesman for the movement explained, its fighters must continue to fight the Jews driven into the sea, by whatever means, and the group’s continued development of missile technology aims partly toward that stage of the conflict.
“We must be prepared for victory,” stated Fawzi Barhoum. “What good is defeating the Zionist usurpers if we are unready to exploit that defeat? To that end we have continued to hone our rocket capabilities along two fronts: the current stage of the war, targeting the soldiers and settlements where the rapist scum Jews ravage our native soil, and the next stage, when we have driven them all into the Mediterranean and must target them there.”
The United States may review its ties with countries it deems as being anti-Israel after what a U.S. envoy said on Sunday was a shift in policy towards equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a March speech that anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel’s existence as a homeland for the Jewish people – was a form of anti-Semitism, or hostility toward Jews, that was on the rise worldwide and that Washington would “fight it relentlessly.”
State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, said this U.S. position could spell reviews of ties with foreign governments or leaders.
“The United States is willing to review its relationship with any country, and certainly anti-Semitism on the part of a country with whom we have relations is a deep concern,” he told Reuters during a visit to Israel.
“I will be raising that issue in bilateral meetings that I am undertaking all over the world,” he said. “That is something we are going to have frank and candid conversations about – behind closed doors.”
Carr declined to cite specific countries or leaders, or to elaborate on what actions the Trump administration might take.
“I obviously can’t comment on diplomatic tools that we might bring to bear,” he said. “Each country is a different diplomatic challenge, a different situation, number one. And number two, if I started disclosing what we might do it would be less effective.”
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning “all forms” of anti-Semitism to mark Yom Hashoah, or Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Antisemitism is on the rise around the world and here in America,” said Cruz in a statement. “In just the last few weeks, we have seen it manifested as hateful cartoons in major news publications, antisemitic smears in the halls of Congress and murders at houses of worship,” referencing such illustrations in the international edition of The New York Times and the Chabad of Poway shooting in Southern California, where one woman was killed and three others injured. Both instances happened within the week.
Cruz continued, “I urge my Senate colleagues to put aside partisan politics so we can come together as an institution and unequivocally condemn antisemitism.”
“This bipartisan effort is about making clear that we will do everything in our power to combat the rise in antisemitism. In my home state, we saw white supremacists terrorizing—and even murdering—people in Charlottesville while chanting antisemitic slogans lifted from Nazi rallies and a president unwilling to forcefully condemn such an atrocity,” said Kaine. “The shooting last weekend at Chabad of Poway was another tragic reminder of this deep-rooted prejudice. We must stand together against hate in all its forms.”
The resolution briefly mentions antisemitism’s history from The Protocols of the Elder of Zion to the Holocaust, to the campaign to boycott Jewish businesses to the hatred Jews currently face.
It is co-sponsored by 42 other senators, most of them Republican.
A national Muslim group says it will conduct an investigation into an event at a Philadelphia Islamic center last month during which a group of youngsters sang songs it said were not “properly vetted,” calling that “an unintended mistake and an oversight.”
Youngsters at the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in North Philadelphia are shown in video footage speaking in Arabic during a celebration of “Ummah Day,” said the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a Middle East monitoring organization. One girl says “we will chop off their heads” to “liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem, according to the MEMRI.
An English translation of the Arabic is included on the video. The Inquirer has not independently verified the translation.
Ummah is an Arabic word that can mean “community” or “nation.”
“While we celebrate the coming together of different cultures and languages, not all songs were properly vetted,” the Muslim American Society, based in Washington, said in a statement issued Friday. “This was an unintended mistake and an oversight in which the center and the students are remorseful. MAS will conduct an internal investigation to ensure this does not occur again.”
CNN wrote 23 articles on Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann
CNN has *not* reported on the kids in Philadelphia who were allegedly singing about chopping people’s heads off. pic.twitter.com/Jdeuz1ImKh
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 5, 2019
The President of the British Pakistani Youth Council (BPYC) has come under fire for comments made in a series of Facebook posts from 2014 in which he praised Adolf Hitler for killing Jews.
Mr Kamran Ishtiaq, who once hosted David Cameron when he wanted to “spend some proper time out of Westminster”, said he would “salute” Adolf Hitler providing he killed more Jews than Muslims.
““I know that [Hitler was a racist] and to be honest he would have killed Muslims too if he got a chance. But you know what, I would salute him still if he killed 90 Muslims and 92 Jews,” reads a Facebook post from 2014 attributed to the community activist.
“Now why he is my hero cuz, he just killed Jews, didn’t get a chance to kill Muslims… lol,” he added.
“If it’s on my Facebook, I said it,” Ishtiaq, 37, confirmed when interrogated about the posts by local media.
“To be honest with you, I feel that about the Jews who are killing the Palestinians now,” he told BirminghamLive, when asked if he felt the same way now.
“Not the Jews who are leaving Israel – there are Jews who support Palestine. I was reading today in the media that there are Jews leaving Israel because Israel didn’t live up to their expectations.
“OK, but Jews, American Jews, yes I feel like that about them. The ones who are murdering the Palestinians. I do feel that about them.
“And what I wrote there, it’s about the Jews.”
When asked his views about whether the Holocaust took place and whether he believed six million Jews were murdered, he said “To be honest, I don’t believe that. Every attack, anything on Jews is exaggerated. Yeah. I think that was an exaggeration too.”
Eurovision 2019 participants began touring around Israel on Sunday morning and rehearsing for next week’s semi-finals, despite the continuing barrage of rocket fire from Gaza.
The five-day gala event is scheduled to open in Tel Aviv on May 12 with 41 countries participating. Madonna is scheduled to perform at the final, May 18, Saturday night event.
Many of the delegations from participating countries began arriving Saturday and Sunday, while Israeli communities in the south were pummeled with more than 450 rockets over the weekend.
Some of the delegations were on Sunday touring major sites in the Jerusalem area, including the Old City and the Mahane Yehuda market.
Israeli national broadcaster KAN said Sunday that all events for the Eurovision delegations were continuing as usual, despite the rocket barrage, based on recommendations from the Home Front Command.
With more than 500 rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip in the last two days, one couple has developed a creative response to transform destruction into hope.
Since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Yedidya and Shiran Harush, residents of the southern village of Shlomit, have collected shrapnel from Qassam rockets fired at Israel from Gaza and turned them into necklaces.
The initiative started when Yedidya, who grew up in Gush Katif, worked for the Jewish National Fund and was asked to bring a piece of shrapnel to the organization’s US national conference as a gift to then-Governor of California Jerry Brown.
Aware he wouldn’t be able to bring shrapnel through security at Ben-Gurion Airport, he realized it wouldn’t be an obstacle if he turned it into a piece of art. His wife, Shiran, soon suggested turning the shrapnel into necklaces for sale.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Rocket_necklace (@rocketnecklace) on Feb 16, 2018 at 12:46am PST
— Joseph (((🇮🇱))) Levine (@Rabbi224) May 2, 2019
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