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The Impact Of Covid-19 And Hamas Rocket Attacks On The Israeli Art Community

Ella Rosenberg (not pictured) is an artist, teacher, and chairwoman of the philanthropic association, Art Unlimited, instructs students at her studio, “AllArt” in the Mediterranean coastal city of Ashkelon in the Southern District of Israel.

Editor’s note — An overview of the Israeli Covid-19 battle…

Out of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Israeli citizens are going through difficult times, especially Israel’s art workers and the overall artist community.

At the outset, Israel was labeled by news media and governments around the globe as a model nation in the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus.

Beginning on March 11, Israel started enforcing social distancing guidelines and restricted gatherings to less than 100 people, bringing that figure down to 10 by March 15. On March 19, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency restricting citizens to their homes, instructing residents to leave only if absolutely necessary.

However, as Israel started to open up and pushed to get their economy back up and running, resurgent waves of Covid-19 to hit the country vigorously, prompting further nationwide shutdowns.

Khan Museum in Ashkelon, site of Rosenberg’s studio

A personal account from Ella Rosenberg, an artist, teacher and chairwoman of the philanthropic association, Art Unlimited, who runs her own art studio in Ashkelon, a coastal city on the Mediterranean in the Southern District of Israel on the Gaza border…

As restrictions on non essential businesses and facilities swept the nation, concert halls, music clubs, exhibition halls, museums, theaters and cinemas have been closed, seriously affecting Israel’s art workers and the art community.

In my studio “AllArt” in Ashkelon, there are almost no classes. I used to have 10 up to 20 students of different ages (both kids and adults), now if 2 to 3 attend my lessons, I’m the happiest person in the world. Furthermore, art exhibitions from our association “Art Unlimited”, had to be transferred to a digital format due to the pandemic.

Nevertheless, artists are eternally creating, but they need viewers and right now digital exhibitions are the only way to show the world their work.

Our “Art Unlimited” artists association is one of the few art activities ongoing in Israel during the coronavirus period. We hope for the help of philanthropists because if there are no sponsors, we will not be able to continue.

Despite all the difficulties of today’s reality, one thing is surely a blessing — due to the pandemic, there has been no war with our neighbors for almost half a year.

“There is a silver lining,” Ashkelonians said. But we rejoiced early.

During hostilities, everything is back to normal. For example, as Israel works to help the Palestinians fight the coronavirus pandemic, Hezbollah and Iran said they would not refuse Jerusalem’s help. Although, instead of gratitude, in about a week they renewed their sabotage against Israel.

On May 7, Palestinian “Fire Terror” destroyed crops in the Negev (a desert region located in the South).

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip have begun to use new tactics such as launching balloons in the direction of Israel, outfitted with flaming fuel. Additionally, the balloons are filled with helium, an already highly flammable gas. On Monday, May 7, the terrorists’ new weapons caused two fires in the Southern regions of the country.

One “fireball” caused a fire in the Beeri forest, in the territory of the Eshkol regional council. Fire brigades and inspectors from the Jewish National Fund (KKL) turned up to fight the fire.

Earlier, the same balloon caused a fire in Kibbutz Miflasim, in the territory of the regional council of Shaar HaNegev. The fire caused serious material damage, destroying a wheat field. There were no reports of casualties.

Two days earlier, on May 5, a wheat field in the territory of the same regional council was set on fire with a kite. According to the farmers, the fields were ready for harvest and the damage caused by the terrorists has been estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Fire in Kisufim area, suspicion of “fireballs” on August 10, 2020…

  • On the afternoon of Monday, August 10, a fire broke out in the area of ​​Kibbutz Kisufim on the territory of the Eshkol District Council.
  • Several fire brigades are fighting the fire. The fire is suspected of being the result of a fall of explosive balloons from the Gaza Strip.
  • Earlier Monday, at least three bundles of Gaza balloons exploded in the skies over Sderot. Nobody was hurt as a result of the explosions.
  • Also, a balloon with explosives was found in a field in the village of Nir Moshe on the territory of the district council of Merhavim in the northern Negev, reports Newspaper Vesti.
  • In addition to fireballs, shelling of Ashkelon and the surrounding area resumed on August 18…
  • At 20:52 a siren sounded in Ashkelon and kibbutz Zikim, warning of a possible rocket attack.
  • The press service of the Israel Defense Forces reported that one missile was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory. The rocket fell on undeveloped terrain.
  • According to residents of Ashkelon, a violent explosion was heard shortly after the siren.
  • The Magen David Adom ambulance press service reported that after a siren warning of a rocket attack, two calls were received to residents of the city who were injured on the way to the bomb shelter. Both victims are girls 10 and 7 years old. They received minor injuries. Paramedics provided first aid to the victims on the spot, and then took them to the Barzilai hospital.

Statistics of rocket attacks on Israel from the territory of the Gaza Strip. 2001-2020 years: (the statistics take into account only rocket attacks, but indicate the total number of victims of rocket and mortar attacks; missiles that fell on Israeli territory are taken into account).

2020:

  • Rockets reported on August 5. Two missiles were shot down by the missile defense system. One wounded.
  • Rockets reported on July 3. One missile was shot down by a missile defense system. No casualties reported.
  • One rocket reported on June 1. No casualties and damage reported.
  • One rocket reported on May 1. No casualties and damage reported.
  • In February, 100 rockets were fired at Ashkelon and the surrounding area. 50 were shot down by the missile defense system. No dead or wounded reported, reported newsru.co.il.

A rocket attack detailed by Rosenberg...

A siren sounded when I was giving a drawing lesson to my young students. When we heard the alarm, we ran out of the studio in a hurry to take cover in the corner to the left of the exit from the Museum (there is no bomb shelter in the Khan Museum).

I had barely managed to reach the wall, bend down, and cover my head when the explosions started.

By the nature and strength of the sound, I have learned to recognize when the “iron dome” intercepts a missile, and when a missile hits the ground and explodes. The ground under my feet shook and I realized that the rocket had fallen somewhere nearby.

The siren sounded for a very long time, for about five minutes, fading and re-howling again and again. I looked at my students; Milena, an 11-year-old, continued to hold a brush in her shaking hands with wide open eyes full of fear, she couldn’t even cry, as she was is shock. The rest of the children were crying as I tried to calm them down as best as I could but to no avail. Knowing the situation afterwards, we were lucky that was all that had happened.

A series of presentations by Unlimited Art has been published on YouTube, titled “Corona Art”, check out their website.

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