As Hamas terrorists fired vast numbers of missiles at Israeli communities, the leadership of Ariel, that has remained relatively untouched during this operation, sought ways to help weaker communities. There is no doubt that Israel’s southern cities and towns are getting the worst of it and so, Mayor Eli Shaviro and the city council decided to open Ariel to the children of the south.
“Our decision to invite the children of the southern communities of Israel to Ariel stems from a concern over basic human rights – the welfare of these children – and our Zionist obligation which we choose to fulfill in every way possible.” Mayor Shaviro continued, “The criminal terror coming from Gaza cannot and will not affect our national deterrence but rocket fire on children is the stuff of nightmares. We want to give these children a break from the tension and welcome them and their families to enjoy our hospitality.”
Over 200 guests from the south responded to our invitation, and the City of Ariel was delighted and prepared to welcome them with open arms. With the goal of making Ariel a comfort zone for these children, a rich program of activities was organized, including a tour of the city, complimentary use of the municipal pool, sports, games, performances by local talent and even a magic show.
Ashkelon City Council member, Yossi Cohen, who came to Ariel with his wife and four small children, was visibly moved by the warm hospitality extended to southern Israel’s residents: “This was a real opportunity to escape the tension. You gave us the chance to catch our breath, get away from the news and the sirens – and that’s priceless. Just look at the children, how happy they are, how comfortable. We want to give tremendous thanks to the residents of Ariel and to the Mayor for making this possible.”