Hundreds of Ashkelon residents demonstrated Saturday night in front of the Ashkelon homes of Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter and Minister of Religious Affairs Yitzhak Cohen.
Armed with banners and signs, the demonstrators protested the on-going rocket salvos on Ashkelon, and the government’s inability to aid them and stop the Qassam fire.
Protestors burned tires and blocked traffic at the main road leading into Ashkelon, and one protestor was detained for questioning by police. These demonstrators were initially headed toward the Ashkelon home of Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, but police prevented them from entering the street he lives on. The Ashkelon protestors were also joined by several demonstrators from Sderot.
Amram Ben David, a member of Ashkelon’s Municipal Council who organized this makeshift protest, stated that protestors are decrying “the government’s incompetence in dealing with this situation. If the prime minister and defense minister cannot fulfill their obligation to protect Ashkelon’s residents, then they ought to resign. No country in the world would allow these continuous attacks on its civilians to continue and do nothing.”
“We ask that the IDF acts in a decisive, resolute manner without reoccupying Gaza,” said Ben David. “We only ask that a dozen Gaza homes are destroyed for every rocket fired at us. It is a matter of life and death after all.”
Protesting rockets in Ashkelon (Photo: Avi Roccah)
Itzik Spokoyney, an Ashkelon activist, also organized a protest group to demonstrate on Saturday night. “I used to be in favor of the Gaza pullout, and thought it was the right thing to do” he stated, “ but now I am, crying mea culpa. I came to support the government and the IDF, and to tell them to stand strong and not agree to negotiations or peace talks of any kind.”
Many Ashkelon residents decried the fact the Color Red alert system could not be heard in the northern part of the city. The Home Front Command and the city municipality have assured Ashkelon’s residents that they are looking into remedying the situation.
Meanwhile, 50 Qassam rockets were fired from Gaza at the western Negev Saturday. Twenty-two residents of Sderot and Ashkelon were sent to Brazilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for treatment after being injured in the rocket salvo.
Earlier Saturday, the Home Front Command instructed the Ashkelon municipality to open its public bomb shelters in order to allow residents to take cover once a Color Red alert sounds.
Eight more communities in the greater Ashkelon area were also made part of the Color Red alert system and its spectrum will now include Kfar Silver, Berchya, Bat-Hadar, Beit Shikma, Mavki'im, Talmei Yafeh, Gaya and Mishan.