JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - The Jewish Agency brought 80 children today from the Bedouin Village of El-Kassum for a day of respite, outside the range of most rockets from Gaza, at the Kiftzuba amusement park near Jerusalem.
They are all participants in The Jewish Agency's flagship Youth Futures program, which provides at-risk children with mentors who help them improve their interpersonal, intrapersonal, and academic skills.
"It's very important for the children to have this day outside of the South," said Youth Futures director for El-Kassum, Suheir Abukrinat. "It gives them a chance to simply be children." She reported that there are no bomb shelters and no air-raid sirens in El Kassum.
"We find out from our phones when a rocket is coming," she said. "It typically lets us know after the rocket has already fallen."
El-Kassum launched its Youth Futures program just last year, in 2013. The 80 children who came to Kiftzuba today are just part of the estimated 50,000 children that The Jewish Agency is providing with days of respite during Operation Protective Edge.
"All of us just pray there will be peace soon," Abukrinat said.