A rocket attack that targeted Netivot
on Saturday night has raised questions about the southern Israeli city's readiness for such incidents.
One of the Grad rockets that were fired overnight severely damaged two homes, miraculously failing to injure anyone but causing several panic attacks. In the wake of the strike, residents said they were victims of discrimination.
"To find out this way that the Iron Dome
no longer protects our city, it makes us feel like second-class citizens, like we don't matter," said Meir Shitrit, a resident who stopped to observe the aftermath of the blast. "Maybe because of Iran,
Tel Aviv needs it more."
Homes were severly damaged (Photo: AFP)
He called for the deployment of the missile defense system across the region.
"We're still at risk," he said. "Now we understand what the residents of Sderot
and the Gaza vicinity communities go through," he said.
Doron, a father of three, shared the sentiment.
"By now they should have installed an Iron Dome battery in every southern city," he said.
Iron Dome batteries have been intermittently deployed in various parts of the country, most recently in central Israel
and near Eilat,
for calibration purposes.
Most schools in Netivot were open as usual on Sunday, save for the institutions that are not fortified. Meanwhile, schools were closed in Beersheba, which was also hit by a Grad rocket overnight.
'We're still at risk.' Netivot (Photo: AP)
Miri Geller, a mother of three, lauded the decision to keep students home on Sunday, even though she had to miss work to stay with them.
"When the alarm went off the kids were very frightened," she said. "It came as a surprise because the area has been quiet for so long... It's better for them to stay inside the shelter instead of going to school, which does not necessarily have a fortified area. Just the thought of the little ones running for shelter makes me anxious."
Olga Tomashev, a resident of Ashdod, where schools have been shut down as well on Sunday, chose to take her 7-year-old daughter to work.
"It's unclear why they decided to cancel school in Ashdod, it scares me," she said. "We're working in war mode, with the door half closed, in case the siren goes off and we have to lock up quickly and run for shelter.
"We'll never get used to this," she added.