Following a terror attack in Ramat Beit Shemesh on October 22nd, during which two terrorists attempted to board a school bus, Israel365 readers raised money to install new security measures at a local kindergarten.
“The violence over the past several weeks in Israel has been unbearable,” said founder of Israel365, Rabbi Tuly Weisz, referencing the escalation in Palestinian violence and terror attacks, including a particularly brutal period this past week.
On Thursday, three Israelis, an American student and a Palestinian were killed in two separate attacks, one in Tel Aviv and one in Gush Etzion. These came after nearly a week of relative quiet, the first attacks since a father and son were killed on the way to a family wedding celebration the Friday before.
Three days after the Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion attacks, an Israeli woman was murdered in Gush Etzion. Another Israeli was killed in an attack at a gas station on an intercity highway on Monday. In addition, several other non-fatal attacks were documented during the same period, including at least two stabbings and a vehicular attack.
All of these incidents happened no more than 45 minutes from Beit Shemesh, with most of the incidents taking place less than a half-hour’s drive away. In addition, the American victim of Thursday’s shooting spree, Ezra Schwartz, was studying for the year in a yeshiva (school for Torah study) in Beit Shemesh and was killed while volunteering in Gush Etzion.
“The fear and terror struck close to home,” said Weisz. “When I realized just how vulnerable our kids are, I sent out a personal appeal that day to our readers, and they immediately responded with generosity and compassion,” he said.
Weisz expressed his utmost thanks to the support shown by the foreign donors, largely from the United States, who helped the community of Ramat Beit Shemesh add desperately needed security features to one of the local preschools.
One of the preschool parents, Aaron Katz, spearheaded a security assessment of the school and met with teachers to determine how best to utilize the funds.
“On account of the donations we raised, we hired a security guard, installed an electric gate, added surveillance cameras, monitors, touchpad entrance systems and emergency sirens,” Katz told Breaking Israel News. “Teachers and parents have been very grateful, and even though the hope abounds that they will never need these security measures, knowing that they are in place helps everyone in the community feel safer.”
“You can’t imagine how much it means to us living in Israel that we have friends like you from all over the world who stand with us during these difficult times,” Weisz wrote to the donors. “On behalf of the children, parents and teachers who you helped, I want to echo the words of the sweet Israeli kids this morning who prepared signs for you saying ‘Todah Rabah – Thank You!’”