August 5, 2007
By YAFFI SPODEK
Nava Cohen of Sderot and her three sons are some of the 150 Sderot residents who enjoyed a free panoramic tour of Jerusalem and a visit to the Superland amusement park in Rishon Lezion on Sunday.
Cohen and her family are participating in a special three-day program organized by the American Zionist Movement, with the aid of the Sderot Community Center and the World Zionist Organization. These groups are offering Sderot locals a chance to get out of the range of Kassam rockets and enjoy their summer vacation like everyone else in Israel.
"These people deserve the opportunity to get out a little bit, and to be free from all the pressures that they are faced with," said Lifsha Ben-Shach of the World Zionist Organization.
Today and Tuesday will bring six more busloads of adults and children to Jerusalem, where morning activities start at the Western Wall tunnels, followed by a visit to a museum. After a picnic lunch at the Wohl Rose Garden, the Sderot families travel to Rishon Lezion to spend the afternoon together in Superland.
"It's really been a lot of fun for us," said Cohen, for whom the day trip was a much-needed break. She explained that the situation in her community was frightening.
"On Friday, a Kassam fell on my brother-in-law's house. Thank God, he was abroad, so nobody was injured, but it was still very scary for all of us."
These days off also make it possible for Cohen to enjoy time with her children. "I don't have to send my children elsewhere," she explained.
But other residents of the city, whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by Kassams, did not feel up to a day out. Marcell Maimon was one. "She decided to stay home, [but] sent five of her seven children along," explained Ben-Shach. "She said she... was very angry and upset at the government."
Other Zionist organizations in the United States, such as AMIT, the Conservative movement and B'nai B'rith, are also helping to subsidize the activities.