Approximately 400 children from Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Even Shmuel and Kiryat Gat were hosted by the Knesset. The children met Speaker of the House Reuven Rivlin, enjoyed a magic show in the Chagall Hall and will view a play, after lunch the children will return home to the South. One parent was quoted as saying: “Thank you for giving the children an opportunity to get a break from the events transpiring in the South”.
The Knesset opened its morning and its gates for 400 children from the South. The Children were from Elementary Schools in Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Even Shmuel and Kiryat Gat. The children and their parents were greeted by the Knesset’s tour guides with candy and drinks. A number of buses from Beer Sheva were late due to a Red Alert right before they were set to leave, this occurred twice, according to Albert Cohen, a Social Worker in the Negba NGO: “Some parents decided to cancel their plans and keep their kids home so they could be nearby after getting off the bus twice due to sirens”. Cohen arrived with a group of children from Shchuna (Neighborhood) 4 in Beer Sheva. “This is the children’s first trip after a week of sirens and for them it is a time for some peace and quiet, once we left Beer Sheva you could see the smiles return to their faces.
Speaker Rivlin spoke with the children and strengthened them by saying: “We at the Knesset feel that especially you children who are at the frontlines of this war, could use a break here at the “People’s House” which is also your home. I promise you that this round of fighting will end and this is our land and no one will move us from here. The Chagall Hall which you are visiting hosts many important and honorable guests from around the world, but none as important as you here today”.
The children who arrived at the Knesset from Kiryat Gat experienced a siren in the middle of the night. “The kids did not get a breath fresh air the whole week” according to Nurit Azred from Kiryat Gat. “We need to get them out to break the cycle a bit, for us as adults it is hard, but we need to make sure the kids don’t see that, we are thankful to the Knesset that allowed us this break, it gives us some quiet”.
Over the next 3 days the Knesset will host 1200 people from the South and will fund the trips and hosting entirely.