Repost: “Qassams Fired on Central California” by Dr. Linda Halderman

I wanted to repost this. It puts the plight of the Israeli people in a new light.

SELMA, CA — For the eleventh consecutive day, residents of rural Selma, California have sustained vicious and unprovoked rocket attacks.

Selma’s working-class population of 22,800 includes a large number of immigrants. The small, friendly town’s economy in central California’s San Joaquin Valley is based on agriculture and built on generations of farming families. Despite the financial hardships, they stay to cultivate and harvest fields of grapes that earn Selma the title, “Raisin Capital of the World.” Eleven schools and 35 churches support both the young and elderly residents of the town, as do the local hospital and rural health clinics.

It is hard to imagine, but this little town has been the target of over 1,200 Qassam rockets since August 2005. In the past month alone, nearly 300 rockets assaulted the rural community, each one accompanied by the “Red Dawn” air raid warning system Selma initiated in 2001 when the first rockets hit. The “Red Dawn” announcement blares out of an elaborate intercom system installed in nearly every building and throughout residential neighborhoods. The warning allows residents between 15 and 60 seconds to find shelter before an incoming rocket blast. Every home, commercial building and school in Selma is built with a “safe room” or bomb shelter. In a town with 50 percent of its population over age 65 — and 3,000 children — less than 60 seconds is not always enough time to hide.

A Qassam (kah-SAHM) is a crude but lethal weapon designed to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Too crude to be aimed with any sort of precision, it has absolutely no military applications. It is useful only to murder civilians and terrorize survivors.

The Qassam’s power lies in the explosive payload stuffed in the rocket’s metal shell, which is then packed with more than 7,000 metal ball bearings. Each ball bearing, less than ¼ inch in diameter, has a blast force capable of tearing through human flesh with deadly effect. One ball bearing, in other words, can create a hole in the human liver sufficient to guarantee that the victim will bleed to death before reaching Selma Community Hospital just a mile away. A single ball bearing that penetrates the human skull might leave a devastating neurological injury…provided the victim survives long enough to demonstrate the damage.

Who would fire such a horrifying weapon — indeed, over three thousand since 2001 — at the peaceful residents of this central California town? Look no further than the terrorists elected to govern the citizens of nearby Fowler just four miles north of Selma on Highway 99.

Today is Jake Jacoby’s funeral. The entire city of Selma mourns the loss of the 43-year-old father of four whose life was taken earlier this week when Selma’s Blocklite manufacturing plant (where he worked as a concrete mason) sustained a direct Qassam hit. Blocklite built the concrete reinforcements that protect Selma’s kindergartens from incoming Qassams.

Jake’s co-workers survived to witness the destruction of the rocket’s impact. Immediately after the blast, despite their own injuries, they attempted to slow the bleeding from Jake’s head and torso. Doctors at the nearest trauma center (20 miles away in Fresno) also tried to save his life, but the ball bearings had done too much damage. He died within hours.

Jake’s 12-year-old son, Brandon, speaks to a reporter after his father’s memorial service, explaining why his family has chosen to remain in Selma despite the constant barrage of rockets:

“I love Selma very much, and I won’t leave it because I love California. If I leave Selma, if all of Selma were evacuated, then the state would fall apart. The [terrorists in Fowler] will see that they are succeeding in Selma, and then they’ll shoot Qassams at San Francisco and Los Angeles too, and do the same in the whole state until nothing is left.”

* * *

The horrifying event described above actually happened. But it didn’t happen in Selma, California.

Change the names, travel 8,000 miles east, and visit the working-class town of Sderot, Israel. But be prepared to heed the Shahar Adom (“Red Dawn”) Qassam rocket warning system activated before every one of more than 1,200 attacks the community of 23,000 residents has endured since August 2005. Since 2001, the total number of rocket attacks sustained by Sderot is 3,000.

Sderot is a blue-collar town consisting largely of immigrants who escaped persecution in the former Soviet Union or starvation and sectarian violence in Ethiopia. The economy is based on agriculture — no easy feat in the arid soil and scorching climate of western Israel’s Negev desert. But neighbors help neighbors, and there is a strong sense of community often found among those who choose the small town life. There are eleven elementary schools, but playgrounds have remained empty since a Qassam took the life of 4-year-old Afik Zehavi as he played.

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One Response to “Repost: “Qassams Fired on Central California” by Dr. Linda Halderman”

  1. Dennis says:

    Well done! More people need to understand the situation in Israel.

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