“Personal Reflections on the Recent Conflict with Gaza” will be the topic of the program by George and Hila Rooks from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Congregation Bet Haverim.
The program, sponsored by the Israel Matters Committee of the congregation, will take place in the Social Hall at Bet Haverim, 1715 Anderson Road in Davis. The couple will illustrate their talk with home photos and videos.
Recently returned from six months in Israel, the Rookses will discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict from their vantage point in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod — the major Israeli city hardest hit by missiles from Gaza in the November fighting. They live half the year in Ashdod and half in Davis.
They will discuss what caused the “war” between Gaza and Israel, and what it felt like to have more than 300 missiles shot down directly over their home. In addition, they will describe their experience at an Iron Dome Battery deployed in south Ashdod to intercept incoming terrorist missiles, where they were interviewed by such news organizations as Al-Jazeera, the Canadian Broadcasting System and Brazilian Global television in the midst of incoming rocket attacks.
The Iron Dome system, which saved countless Israeli lives, is partially funded by the United States.
In the eight months leading up to last November’s conflict, southern Israel was besieged on a daily basis by rocket attacks from Gaza — with more than 1,200 rockets and mortars fired at Israeli civilians. Although the cease-fire that terminated the short-lived battle temporarily stopped the rocket attacks, George Rooks notes that occasional missile fire has resumed and that Hamas and other terrorists groups in Gaza already have resupplied themselves with even greater stocks of munitions.
A retired UC Davis faculty member, George Rooks chairs the Israel Matters Committee at Bet Haverim; is the author of a daily Israel blog read around the world (www.israelstreet.org); and is an occasional contributor to the Jerusalem Post. The Rookses spent much of the past summer and fall visiting some of the communities that will be discussed in this presentation.