Damage sustained to Shaar Hanegev Hydrotherapy Center by Qassam rocket
As the sudden wail of the "Red Alert" siren screeched into the calm night air on Saturday night, July 31, startled Shaar Hanegev residents abruptly ceased their weekend activities and began running for cover. Seconds later, at 9:30 pm., a deafening explosion was heard throughout the area, shaking the ground nearby. A search for the site of the explosion commenced immediately and it was quickly discovered that the Hydrotherapy Center had sustained a direct hit. A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza slammed into the roof of the building, demolishing most of the floor below.
The damage and destruction was extensive. The destroyed floor included a gym specially designed to serve special needs populaces, including the handicapped, traumatized children and blind children, while also serving the general population. Among the debris were special activity rooms for adults, children, and mothers after birth, as well as offices and open spaces. The gym had been lovingly equipped by Keren Hayesod – UIA donor, Louise Paktor of Holland, and much of the building had originally been built and equipped through the kind generosity of other Keren Hayesod – UIA donors, including the Italian Modiano Foundation and Holland's Alex Meijer Foundation, established by Philip Meijer in memory of his son. For the last 10 years the center has benefitted from a generous maintenance Fund established by Anna Laura Mevorach, of Venice, and her family
Miraculously, no-one was hurt in Saturday's terror attack, thanks to the fact that the Center closes at 6:00 pm. on Saturday (on other days of the week it is open until 10:00 pm). The Hydrotherapy Center is filled to capacity most of the week and on Saturdays in particular, local parents make it a habit to spend time with their children at the center. The Hydrotherapy Center staff has made heroic efforts to find alternative arrangements for the Center's activities, many of which are now taking place outside in the surrounding grounds. But most impressive of all, Shaar Hanegev residents, unperturbed by the horrifying attack, turned up first thing Sunday morning for their usual workouts and sports activities.
Activities in undamaged pool continue as usual the day after the rocket