After yet another rocket was intercepted by Eilat's Iron Dome battery, an understanding is gradually setting in that the rockets threat on one of Israel's most famous resort towns is here to stay, at least for now.
Still, residents and tourists of the area are expressing much optimism Saturday, a day after a rocket was launched towards the city. The siren that pierced the Shabbat evening quiet did not alarm the citizens and visitors, and large crowds arrived Saturday morning at the city's sites, promenade and businesses as they do every weekend, as if nothing happened. The return to normal in Eilat once again proves to be quite quick.
From the residents' remarks, it is notable that the Iron Dome battery that was deployed in the city instills much confidence with them, and perhaps this is the fact that allows them not to sink into greater fears in light of the increasing frequency of missiles fired towards the city.
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"There is no doubt that Iron Dome has proven itself time and time again," said acting chairman of the Eilat tourism board, Yossi Chen, who travelled in the city Saturday morning. "I think of Eilat as a touristic city that needs this protection in order to keep being a safe city for its citizens and guests." Chen praised the resilience shown by Eilat's residents and visitors: "The proof is that when there's fire towards the city of Eilat it does not deter tourists and vacationers from coming here, and the residents go about their business as usual immediately after the fire."
Shlomit Biton-Rassoni, an owner of several convenience stores and mother of two, went to work as usual on Saturday: "In my opinion, now that the frequency of rockets has increased, we face a potential blow to our businesses, but if that happens it's only up to us and how we react." On her part, she tries to keep "business as usual" in order to instill confidence with her children, customers and employees: "That's what needs to be done, and we should definitely avoid hysterical remarks that only cause stress."
Yoram Nadal, an owner of an organic farm in the area, barely had time to talk. Like all other Saturdays, he was swamped with visitors: "Nothing happened. It's nothing, a passing episode. Many tourists and visitors came, all strolling around the farm, children playing outside and jumping on the trampoline, many sitting at the café here. Everyone is enjoying the lovely weather. No one speaks of the rockets that were launched (Friday) night."
Galina Reznikov, a secretary, spoke about her experience Friday night: "I was in a parking lot near my house. I just got out of the car and then I heard the siren. I looked up because hordes of birds began flying around. I saw the rocket coming, it was very bright, and heard the explosion. I got in the car and turned around. I saw lots of police cars but nothing else, and then I just returned home. I hope Iron Dome will always be here, this way we'll be protected."
A siren sounded in Eilat little after 9:30 pm on Friday, and the Iron Dome battery intercepted a rocket that was launched from the Sinai Peninsula. Security forces blocked roads in the area and conducted searches to find the rocket remains. The radical Salafi organization Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, affiliated with al-Qaeda , took responsibility for the rocket fire.
In the beginning of last week, two Grad rockets were launched towards Eilat, and they were located several hours later in an open field. Following the fire, the defense establishment assessed that the launches were related to an assassination attempt that took place in the Gaza Strip a few days earlier, and the fire was aimed, among other things, to increase tensions between IDF and the Egyptian army.