My dear friends,
There have been dramatic developments in the security situation in recent weeks to which the Council had not been previously exposed.
Dozens of Kassam rockets have landed within the jurisdiction of the Council - two of them also damaged buildings in two settlements and, by a miracle, no-one was injured.
It is superfluous to point out that this new reality that we have encountered, and that is not to our benefit, necessitates special deployment that differs from that we have been accustomed to in the past.
The Eshkol Regional Council had been prepared in time for such a state of emergency and, three months ago, carried out an extensive emergency mobilization exercise that covered all the different scenarios and included all the Council settlements.
In view of the new situation and in order to ensure the safety of the children of the Council, it has been decided that the schools of the Moshavim, that are not protected, will continue their routine and study outside the boundaries of the Council - and also beyond the range of the Kassam rockets.
The children of the elementary school are therefore learning at the elementary school on the Tze'elim army base, adjoining Kibbutz Tze'elim, while the high school students are studying in the school of the neighboring council.
In addition, we intend to send all the Council's children to summer camps outside the area, with a two-fold objective:
1.to distance them from the threat of the Kassam rockets.
2.to provide them with activity in a relaxed atmosphere, to refresh and renew their strength.
We are determined to continue our regular way of life at any price, despite the security threat at our door, to work our fields, including those close to the border, to educate our children and to continue to regard this place as our home as always.
The Kassams will not undermine us and will not prevent us from accepting new residents, from growing and developing and, in so doing, to be partners in the national-Zionist- pioneer work of settling the Negev.
We have experienced more difficult times in the past and I am convinced, with all my heart, that, we will also withstand this difficult period safely.