As Gaza ceasefire holds, 2.4 million kids head back to school in south, center

As a ceasefire with the Gaza terror groups held steady on Sunday, millions of children returned to schools and kindergartens that had been ordered shut as rockets and mortars rained down on the country.

Some 2.4 million children from the central and southern regions were set to gradually head back to the classroom, with a full return to studies by Monday.

The Education Ministry said the first few days back in the classroom should be dedicated to providing emotional and social support for students.

The IDF’s Home Front Command announced the move at the end of last week after a truce with the Hamas terror group in Gaza began at 2 a.m. Friday. It came alongside the military lifting of all other security precautions that were applied after fighting erupted on May 10.

Students take their highschool exams inside a bomb shelter in the central Israeli village of Tzafria, May 20, 2021, amid rocket barrages from Hamas in Gaza and IDF counterstrikes. (Gil COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Saturday marked the first full day of a truce that ended the fourth round of major fighting between Israel and Hamas in just over a decade. In the conflict, Hamas and other terror groups fired more than 4,300 rockets toward Israel while the IDF responded with hundreds of airstrikes against terror targets in Gaza.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 243 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and teens, with 1,910 people wounded. It does not differentiate between terror group members and civilians.

Twelve people were killed in Israel, all but one of them civilians, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.

The fighting began May 10, when Hamas terrorists in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. Palestinian terror groups tied rocket fire from Gaza to unrest in Jerusalem connected to both prayers on the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as well as the pending eviction of a number of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Israeli juggler Guy Kaplan performs for children in a bomb shelter, following rocket attacks fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, Israel, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)

Schools in the south of the country were shut already on the first day of fighting as Hamas and other terror groups launched barrages of rockets at the area. Within two days, as salvos from Gaza targeted the central region as well, the closure order was extended to all schools south of Herzliya, a city that lies north of the Tel Aviv metropolis. Jerusalem was not fired at again following the initial salvo.

Although in most places studies will resume, in Lod some schools will not return to a full schedule due to the recent deadly clashes between the Jewish and Arab populations in the central region city, the Walla news website reported.

The worst violence in years between Jewish and Arab populations, also sparked by the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah clashes, came alongside the rocket fire though rioting largely petered out after a week even as the conflict with Gaza continued.

Source Link: https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-gaza-ceasefire-holds-2-4-million-kids-head-back-to-school-in-south-center/

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