Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Israeli children return to school after Gaza war

Published:Tuesday | September 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM
An Israeli student pulls his bag on his way to elementary school as he walks past policemen in the coastal city of Ashkelon, yesterday.
Children hold hands during the first day of school in the coastal city of Ashkelon, yesterday. -AP photos
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KIBBUTZ SAAD (AP):Thousands of Israeli children in areas near the Gaza Strip went back to school yesterday after spending the summer in bomb shelters as rockets and mortars rained on their communities during the 50-day Israel-Hamas war, while schools in Gaza remained shuttered as the territory recovered from the fighting.

"We are a little scared but we are excited," said Ronit Bart, a resident of Kibbutz Saad and an English teacher in its school. "A lot of children in our area really need to go back to a routine."

Her 11-year-old daughter, Shani Bart, said it felt a "little bit weird" to suddenly be going back to school.

"There were some difficult times and we didn't leave our houses at all," she said.

President Reuven Rivlin visited the kibbutz, which is located close to the Gaza border, to offer his support.

Until a ceasefire halted the war last week, thousands of residents of border communities like Saad remained indoors or left their homes for safer areas further away from Gaza to escape rocket and mortar fire.

Many residents of Nahal Oz, a community close to the Gaza frontier where a four year-old boy was killed by a Palestinian mortar shell, are hesitant about coming back. The Education Ministry said about a dozen families still had not returned. Their children have been placed in alternate schools for the time being.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a school in Sderot, a Gaza border town that has been hard hit by Palestinian fire. He urged the children to study hard and said, "We will make sure to provide you with knowledge and provide you with security."